James Apollo is a wandering star with beat generation spirit soaring through his veins. Each furrow above this brow is a lasting reminder, hinting towards something straight out of Kerouac‘s hedonistic masterpiece, On The Road. He left Libertyville, Arkansas, after education began to no longer educate, preferring to learn the lessons life had to teach. Since then the term ‘home’ has been ill-defined in the mind of this troubadour.
You only have to look at the front of 2010’s UK debut, Til Your Feet Bleed, to see a man grappling with a sense of place, as he stands on a desolate rock in the distance, surveying sparse wilderness for answers. The album brought with it a spacious musical backdrop within which the protagonist portrayed on its cover reveals insecurities about the very essence of happiness itself, hitting the bottom after excesses, and then praying for rain once there. “It’s only leaving that makes a home at all,” is the motto of self-reassuring summation sung on stand-out track No East, No West.
Apollo originally headed West. When land and money began to run out he took a docked boat in San Francisco, simply to put a rusty roof over his head. “I was captain of a sinking ship,” he recalls. During a decadent phase Whiskey and Scotch seemingly provided central heating. “I’d rather be born lucky than rich,” admits Apollo. “Some things you’re born with and some things you learn. If you’re born with an ability to cope with this world, well then…”
Upcoming full length album, Born Lucky, is to articulate some of the memories while on these spontaneous journeys. The record compiles the best of a six year career as well as new material, as he once again hits the road, touring the UK in search of his next adventure. “Last time somebody lost the keys to the van on the second day of the tour. We had to break in, get the equipment out and take a train to a show in Manchester,” he remembers. Once a new van was handed over? “Then [he] got 40 speeding tickets in the mail. I had to fake my own death or they would have come for me.”