Delighted to chat with Hilary James about her music as Bathtub cig. (She also plays with We Are the Willows, Esme Patterson, Shower Beer and others.) You can see Bathtub cig at the Eagles on June 24.
Hilary is a delight. She plays the cello and has for many years. That is the instrument with which she feels most fluent but she started playing the guitar during the pandemic and has been writing songs for at least four years. Her music is vulnerable and authentic. She paints a picture of what’s around her and what she’s feeling. It is unique and universal at the same time. She writes honestly about mental health issues and her own depression. She also writes about heartbreak and losing a friend. Many of us can relate to these stories, and now her music gives a soundtrack to our humanity.
Fun also to talk about the progression of her sound, especially with Bathtub cig and the impact of starting to play an instrument, such as guitar, that brings you closer to an audience as opposed to a cello or keyboard, which logistically sets up a barrier. Her voice and her music are integrating in a richer way, although we still enjoy the slightly unease of vocal and keyboard too. It speaks to the inner voice in each of us trying to find a harmony or tune.