Chicago songwriter and guitarist JamesElkington announces his new album, Ever-Roving Eye, out April3rd on ParadiseofBachelors, alongside the video for lead single, “Nowhere Time,” and UK tour dates with JoanShelley. Ever-Roving Eye is the follow-up to his “beautiful, complex, and assured” (Pitchfork) debut, WintresWoma, and is even more elaborate, shrewd, thoughtful, and confessional than its predecessor. Though it sounds like a line culled from a murderous Child ballad, the title has everything to do instead with the slipperiness of satisfaction, and the equal parts virtue and vice that is being your own mule and driver.
Ever-Roving Eye was meticulously planned and quickly tracked. It includes previous collaborators NickMacri (James’ longtime bass colleague) and MacieStewart (violin), plus new recruits LiaKohl (cello), SpencerTweedy (drums), The Weather Station’s Tamara Lindeman (vocals), and the prolific PaulVonMertens (Brian Wilson) on woodwinds. The album ropes in echoes of British library musics, horror-film soundtracks, demure psychedelia, and more rocking elements of folk-rock.
The album’s lead single/video, “Nowhere Time,” is a call to take up arms against procrastination, and features some of Elkington’s most daring guitar-wrangling. “A more cosmic acquaintance of mine once told me that when your life is going in the direction you want it to, it’s the universe’s way of telling you that you are in the place you’re meant to be,” Elkington says. “Does that sound likely? Not at all, but the song asks the question anyway…” The track’s accompanying video, directed by TimHarris, features himself, Tweedy on drums, and Macri on upright bass.
Elkington moved to the United States in the late ’90s from his native England with the intention of making himself absolutely essential to the Chicago music scene. Twenty years later he’s contributed to a staggering volume of records, shows and projects both in Chicagoland (see JeffTweedy, Tortoise, EleventhDreamDay, Brokeback) and far from it (see RichardThompson, LaetitiaSadier, MichaelChapman, SteveGunn, JoanShelley, NapEyes). WintresWoma seemed to be a logical, healthy respite from assisting with the creative needs of others that would allow him to serve his own. But as satisfaction doesn’t exist in the past tense, and the present doesn’t exist, he barreled on ahead: namely with, in the midst of everything else, composing, arranging, and recording an album that could adequately only be called one thing, Ever-Roving Eye.
This spring, Elkington will join Joan Shelley for a slew of UK tour dates. On April16th, he will celebrate his record’s release at theHideoutinChicago. More tour dates to be announced soon.