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PLAYED ON: Saturday 12 July 2008

iTunes Live: James Blunt

Beth Rowley

Gig info

An Elton John for the dress-down Friday generation, James Blunt’s 2004 debut album Back To Bedlam cast him as a quiveringly sensitive singer-songwriter with a handy knack for sledgehammer pop melodies.

Having sold eleven million copies worldwide on the back of breakthrough single “You’re Beautiful” – including No.1’s in eighteen countries and the first British No.1 in the U.S for a decade - his military background also attracted a fusillade of criticism worse than anything he’d faced while serving with NATO forces in Kosovo.

For his army of fans, however, Blunt’s ability to tug at the heart-strings remains unrivalled, as the success of 2007’s All the Lost Souls proved. A steelier combination of classic rock influences (Fleetwood Mac, Don MacLean, Steely Dan) and whimsical lyrics, hits like “1973” acknowledged the romantic aspirations of an audience stretching from Surbiton to Serbia.

If Blunt’s unashamed love of the high life - he now resides in Ibiza - has endeared him to the tabloids, it’s also struck a chord with a generation of indie fans tired of seeing their icons scowl their way to tax exile. Who can argue with a rock star guileless enough to confess: “Touring is the most fun you can possibly have. It’s the best invention anyone has ever come up with.”

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