There are many terms people use when describing James Blundell. Icon. Legend. Controversial. Rebel. The truth is - James Blundell is all of these things. He is unashamedly honest and comfortable in his own skin. He radiates an enthusiasm for everything that life has to offer and it’s this authenticity that makes him one of the most instantly likable and recognisable artists in Australian music.
Acknowledged by many as the act that single-handedly shaped modern Australian country music by infusing his influences of John Mellencamp, The Band and The Angels with the storytelling ethos of Slim Dusty and his lyrical insight, sharp wit and empathy for the average working man. This combined with his handsome good looks and country charm ensured there was no stopping his success across all demographics.
In 1992, James found mainstream success thanks to the smash hit single, “Way Out West”, with former Australian Crawl front man, James Reyne. The song debuted at #28 on the ARIA charts before peaking at #2 a month later. The song was ranked #22 on the ARIA End of Year Singles Charts while his platinum selling album, “This Road”, came in at #28 on the ARIA End of Year Albums Charts above acts including Madonna, AC/DC and Roxette.
James was the first young Australian country act to sign a major record label deal in Nashville, which has since paved the way for the likes of Keith Urban, Catherine Britt and Kasey Chambers. In addition to his own success he has penned hits for Lee Kernaghan, Slim Dusty and Jimmy Little. He is also the recipient of numerous CMAA Awards, double platinum, platinum and gold sales awards and is a five-time ARIA Award nominee with one win to his name.
His early career was nothing short of phenomenal: a string of platinum albums and top 10 pop chart success turned the former cattle hand into a household name. But like so many talented artists Blundell refused to be put in a box musically and after of numerous heated meetings with then record label, he walked away from the music business, although his star turn in a high profile advertisement for QANTAS kept his face firmly in the public eye.
James self-imposed a six-year hiatus that saw him busking around Europe. It was during this time the singer songwriter became inspired again and wrote some of his finest tunes which were a shift both lyrically and musically but more suited to his beliefs. They may not have achieved the crossover success of their predecessors but these albums have been lauded by the critics with statements such as “If there’s a contemporary singer/songwriter in the country today writing about and commenting on the nature of being an Australian with a quiet honesty, real integrity – and a cheeky humour when things get a bit too serious – it’s James Blundell”.