Borrowing his name from a Brian Eno quote about the ecstatic emotional surge one gets from creative accomplishment, Idiot Glee (Kentuckian James Friley) quickly struck a chord with fans around the globe who fell in love with his sound. While he employs mainly electronic instruments like synthesizers and samplers, his music is far from what you might call electronic. Preferring to play his songs live rather than just sing over sequences is a central reason why his songs are so organic and soulful. His classically-trained hands and sharp musical intuition are as much a part of his sound as his vocals or gear. The songs shine whether he goes his usual solo route, with a band, or on a grand piano, where the tunes are still just as stunning even when stripped down to their bare essences.
When he’s not touring and playing shows as Idiot Glee, James stays extremely busy in his hometown of Lexington. He co-owns a record label (Hop Hop), books shows in town as part of Lexington Lexington, plays bass in Street Gnar, DJs on the radio at WRFL and is also a member of the Resonant Hole collective. Throw in composing soundtracks and performing his solo piano improvisations and it’s difficult to imagine when he has time to write new material.
After a steady diet of Fleetwood Mac, Roxy Music, Scott Walker, and Harry Nilsson, Idiot Glee’s new songs have become more adventurous and stylistically varied (he’s currently working on a record replacing keyboards with guitars and piano) but still retain the heart-melting harmonies that seem to just spill out of his mouth effortlessly. These are songs for the lonely but still hopeful, for the homesick people yearning for the comforts of home, and for future lovers locking eyes across the club for the very first time.