Originally, Big Eyes was started in 2000 in Leeds, U.K., by James Green as a private project, a naive way of trying to create classical music. It soon outgrew the bedroom and a band was formed. Big Eyes recorded four albums over the next four years (for Pickled Egg Records) and split up in 2004.
After this, Green formed The Big Eyes Family Players as a more collaborative arrangement (now based in Sheffield, U.K.). So far they have released five albums of experimental chamber folk-pop music, and worked with people like Jeremy Barnes (A Hawk and A Hacksaw), Terry Edwards (Gallon Drunk/Tindersticks), Rachel Grimes (Rachel’s), James Yorkston, James William Hindle and many more. Green is also featured on two Rachel’s albums, Systems/Layers and Technology Is Killing Music.
Collaborations being close to the heart, Big Eyes released in 2009 an album of folk material with Yorkston called Folk Songs (Domino Records), and are currently recording the follow-up. Big Eyes also performed live film scores to the works of Czech animator Jan Svankmajer at the Roundhouse in London and at The Green Man Festival, appeared on BBC Radio’s Loose Ends with Clive Anderson, and recorded a session in Amsterdam for station VPRO and performed at VPRO’s Dwars Festival. Big Eyes Family Players have shared stages with Alasdair Roberts, Nancy Elizabeth, Volcano The Bear, Sir Richard Bishop, Efterklang, Daniel Johnston, James Blackshaw, Marry Waterson, Damo Suzuki (Can) and Josephine Foster.
The Big Eyes Family Players newest album, Family Favourites, their first with U.S. indie Karate Body Records, is a collection of reworked old songs alongside new material, as well as a cover-version of Dirty Three’s “Three Wheels.” The group started just over 10 years ago, so the decision was taken to reassess the back catalogue, and rework/rearrange/rerecord some songs with the recent players to perhaps serve the pieces a little more fully. A “best-of,” if you will, or perhaps a retrospective? Download of the entire album is included with the LP. Also available digitally at all worldwide retailers.
Family Favourites LP is now $5 (shipping not included) if you order direct from Karate Body Records now through March 31. Each LP comes with a free download of the entire album and contains liner notes by Alex Neilson (Trembling Bells, Bonnie “Prince” Billy).
James Yorkston & Big Eyes Family Players – I Went To Visit The Roses
James Green – acoustic guitar, piano
David Jaycock – harmoniflute
Katherine Jackson – violin
Ellie Maxwell – violin
Paul Fletcher – drums
Tom Kidston – bass guitar