His intimate marriage of pop and folk was honed on acoustic instruments and stints in backing bands for the likes of Johnny Flynn and Jose Gonzales. His first mini-album Sea Like Blood was picked up by Fence Records back in 2006 while his full debut record Chemical Campfires followed a year or two later.
After their warm reception, his inner sense of songwriting adventure led him to continue toying with the folk music template but with the addition of his bedroom electronics.
It was a move which has paid off - Barbarossa’s musical talents have since been acquired by Memphis Industries and led to him joining a family of fiercely talented and independent thinking musicians where his songs seem right at home.
He can now call the likes of fellow mavericks Field Music, POLIÇA, and The Go! Team his musical brothers and sisters.
Barbarossa's new album Bloodlines, out on Memphis on 5 August, is the first serving from this re-inventor. While it blends his soulful vocals and domestic electronica, the record is directly inspired by Vincent Gallo’s cult '90s film Buffalo 66, a twisted romance about a tap dancer who falls for her convict kidnapper.
James has already taken his songs into the live arena and charmed audiences at some of the major festivals including Glastonbury. He's got a whole lot more live outings over the coming months around the release of his latest record.
Here’s the full list of forthcoming live dates:
6 Aug London, The Waiting Room
8 Sep Newport, Bestival
9 Sep Manchester, Castle
11 Sep Brighton, The Green Store Door
13 Sep London, Sebright Arms
Give the forthcoming single, Pagliaccio, a listen below...