Jason DeCrow / Associated Press

"I'm always up for getting intimate," said James Blunt, of playing a smaller venue like the Grande Exposition Hall.

James Blunt: Hardworking, straightforward and lyrical

Published: Sunday, May. 1, 2011 - 12:00 am | Page 11I

James Blunt is home for three days "to do my laundry" after spending weeks on the road – the United Kingdom, Europe, Casablanca, Malta, you name it – touring behind his latest album.

"The album is doing very well and is No. 2 in most markets behind Bruno Mars, so I've been asking him to move over and give me a break," Blunt said of "Some Kind of Trouble."

Blunt's first album, "Back to Bedlam," sent him into singing stardom on the strength of big singles like "You Are Beautiful," "High," and "Goodbye My Lover."

His second album, "All the Lost Souls," debuted in the top spot in 10 countries and included hits like "1973," "Same Mistake," and "Carry You Home."

"On the road, it's surprising that often the places I'm least-expected to go, I get the best reception, places like Turkey," he said. "Beirut was one of my best concerts ever. After my last album, I even played Kazakhstan. I don't know any other singers who have played Kazakhstan, but it was incredible for me.

Blunt plays the Silver Legacy in Reno on Friday.

"Actually, the U.S. is my toughest market, and the record company stresses about that. We think about things too much and remix the songs for the U.S. It's a bizarre thing. For instance, I've got this song 'Stay the Night,' and it starts with what is like a football (soccer) chant. It was remixed for the U.S., and the chant is gone and it makes less sense all around. But I wouldn't be very good at choosing singles. I'm very much an album player. I like to take my listeners on a journey through many songs."

"Some Kind of Trouble" has been called remarkably uncynical and upbeat, and Blunt said it "captures the mood of the early '80s" when we felt the "same optimism we felt as teen- agers," a sense "that we could do anything. My favorite song from the album is 'Turn Me On,' which they really didn't want to include, but it's very honest, very me.

"And there's 'Superstar,' which has an unfortunate title because people will think it's about me and it's not. It's about reality television and those competitions where people seek fame and fortune, and it's about how young people should say they don't want to pattern themselves after those programs or want to look like they do and act like they do."

Blunt is a very direct and down-to-earth fellow, who uses "social media, like Facebook and Twitter, but only for appropriate things, like to lie. Seriously, though, you know, if I get around to telling people what I had for breakfast, then my ego is completely out of control. That is when people who do that need to take stock of themselves and get it together."

A dedicated supporter of Doctors Without Borders, Blunt explained that "when people talk about me and singers like me, they call us stars. We are not stars. At the same time, I'm singing a song, there's a doctor saving a life. That's the real star. Doctors, police, firemen, teachers – they're the real stars."

The next album? Not on the schedule. Blunt is on a 13-month tour.

"That's quite a mission in itself, and when it's over, I'll have to see if I still like music or not," he said.

An acting gig? Not likely.

"I did one guest shot on one show, and they pulled the plug the next day, so that answers that."

Blunt has his Reno debut Friday at the Silver Legacy in the Grande Exposition Hall downstairs, a multiuse space. For a singer used to 10,000-seat venues, it'll be a definite change of pace and far more intimate.

"I'm always up for getting intimate," he said.

JAMES BLUNT

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Where: Grande Exposition Hall at the Silver Legacy, 407 N. Virginia St., Reno

Cost: $37.50, $67.50

Information: (800) 687-8733, www.silverlegacy.com

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Mel Shields Bee correspondent



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