Two decades, nine albums, country fame, pop hits, a national top five album and ones that came nowhere near, nine Golden Guitars, an ARIA Award, songs written and recorded in Nashville, New York, Los Angeles, London and Dublin, collaborations with good earth riders and metal muthas, years as a bona-fide Queensland cattleman, the embrace of Vietnam vets, a highly visible Qantas ad, gold and platinum plaques, national recognition, exultation and disillusionment, glowing reviews and occasional indifference, a tour with Kris Kristofferson and a chin wag with Johnny Cash, uncountable shows on the road that goes on forever, wrong turns and right ...... all with his curiosity, intuition, good humour and dogged determination intact. As the Grateful Dead once sang: "What a long strange trip it's been."
"Half your career is devoted to getting on your own road" James contends, twenty years after he won the Starmaker competition, fresh-faced and eager to conquer country. "I'm a very different person from that young bloke - I've learned a helluva lot along the way, most of it from making mistakes and going through tough times. Now I've reached a personal place of comfort where I'm relaxed about pretty much everything. I know I'm no 'man of the moment', I'm not a current artist. If I had to describe the sort of music I'm making now I think it would be songs of experience leading to clarity. Musically I'm a very definite product of an evolving Australian psyche."
Though he'd always kicked against the traces to some degree - particularly when it came to his dealings with Nashville and its firmly set notions - it was after seven albums with a major record company that James Blundell set out to make one that would reflect more accurately what he was listening to and aspiring to equal; that would in effect reposition him. He even established his own indie label, Revenge Records, to release 2005's Deluge, which broke a six year drought of new material. Not only did it carry the stark, affecting and admired Postcards From Saigon, it featured contributions from Kirk Pengilly of INXS, Cold Chisel legend Ian Moss, David Leslie of the Baby Animals, Chris Bailey of the Angels, Phil Soussan from Ozzy Osbourne's band and, gulp, Eddie Clarke from Motorhead.
As he told Country Music Capital News' Sue Jarvis a couple of years ago, "I've always loved music but was never very good at the politics of the industry, and that meant that I trod on quite a few toes along the way. It was all totally upside down - I had so much success and fame and adulation at the beginning and was given so much say in the creative process when I really wasn't ready for it. By the time I knew what I needed to do, that had all virtually disappeared. This is a period in my life where I want to address music in any form" he insists. "Once you know who you are and what you are then you can use that to interact with the planet.’
James Blundell has high expectations of the craft of music-making. "I think it's the last apolitical, non-denominational platform of speech left to free thinkers and, as such, should be treated with absolute respect. It crosses barriers that other communications can't. The meaning will make itself clear to anyone who understands the language in which a song is written." James Blundell released ‘The Definitive Collection’ in July 2008, songs from 1988 to 2008.