Western Transport Review

Check it out here or read below


Western Transport

James Irwin is not a typical singer/songwriter.  Perhaps this is obvious, given his giant melting face.  This image, the album cover of his debut Western Transport, is fitting: the James Irwin we hear on this album is no person, but a voice seemingly severed from its source; a flat, tempered force that invokes, directs, and sustains.

With Western Transport, Irwin presents a cohesive tribute to the overwhelmed and underfed: the lost lovers and consumed; roles rarely acknowledged, often too close for comfort. With this delicate context, Irwin chooses to emphasize the holding of moments over their resolve, using striking imagery and artful nuance to powerful, distilling effect.

It’s a wonderfully lyrical album, far outside what I might expect from an unknown voice.  But Irwin is not exactly an unknown artist: attentive readers may recognize his unique cadence and tone from a decade of published stories and poems.

As a collection of songs, Western Transport shows influence from folk, pop, country, and poetry.  Considered arrangements create uncannily familiar moods, elevating lyrical themes and ultimately showing an impressive and effective sonic pallet.  Also present is a spatial and temporal awareness: Irwin displays a prowess in opening spaces for words to come to life and narratives to unfold (“Hearts Like Old Cars”,  ”Anyone to Serve”).

A rich yet directed production reminiscent of Bill Callahan or Will Oldham makes Western Transport well-suited for easy listening and atmosphere, but it absolutely shines when given full attention.  It is a rare debut: one that not only marks the entrance of a new voice, but broadens what I look for in an album.

How much do I like this album?  A whole lot.  You will, too.  Check out:

  • “Blue Dust”
  • “Halfway to Mexico”


Paradise Demos

In fall 2011 James, met Nicholas Scribner (Clues), Jon Boles (Clues, Maica Mia), and Maica Armata (Maica Mia) and got to know each other playing music. After a few shows and lots of jamming they recorded some demos. (Recorded by Zac Decamp to tape at P.J Mansion in Montreal). Here’s a couple of the tracks that came from the quickly passing experiment ~

PARADISE – First of May 

PARADISE – Disappearing 

Other James Irwins

This guy named James Irwin wrote to me on my myspace. I just responded now…13 months later…he rules!

Mar 10, 2011 

JAMES says


hey james,

I typed my name in an found you. So I thought I would just say hey man way to rock our name out.  Good luck with it I hope to make it huge someday with a book, and you are on your way with music. Just remember that we both have a long way to go because a James Irwin already took it to the moon so we both have a long way to take our name. So anyway good luck to you with our name.  Your name sharing friend James.


This guy named James Irwin saw Jesus while walking on the moon: