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James Morrison
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James Morrison
If you go
What: James Morrison
When: 8:30 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder, 303-443-3399
Cost: $20-$23
foxtheatre.com

James Morrison is feeling more like himself on this tour than ever before, and he’s hoping audiences will see it to.

This Tuesday, the British singer/songwriter will take a shot at it with his show the Fox Theatre. Morrison is only 26, but he’s got three albums under his belt and did a lot of growing in between each (album). His third album, appropriately titled The Awakening, was released in the U.S. in October 2011. He thinks it’s his best, most true-to-self work yet.

“It’s the most fun album I’ve ever recorded and the most kind of relaxed sort of touring — spiritually and emotionally and everything. Mentally, it’s a lot more enjoyable this time around,” Morrison said. “It’s not like it’s a million miles away from my other stuff, but at the same time, it’s a better interpretation of it.”

With the first two records, 2006’s Undiscovered and 2008’s Songs For You, Truths for Me, Morrison was frustrated with comparisons to James Blunt and his public image as a romantic.

“I started playing in pubs with mates and I don’t feel like what people were seeing me as,” he said. “I was really frustrated with myself as an artist. I felt like I’d been put in this little box and I needed to get out of it.”

There was another mounting problem, too. As the second album wrapped up, it was all starting to feel too much like an obligation.

“Writing music makes me feel good and I didn’t want it to be a job any more,” Morrison said. “You know what I mean? Anything you do for a certain amount of time starts to feel like a job.”

He got out of the rut with The Awakening. It’s a little harder and even bluesy at times (see “Slave To The Music”), though songs like “I Won’t Let You Go” are a reminder of why someone might call Morrison’s music romantic.

However it’s received, it’s been selling well enough, even going gold in the U.K.

“The receptions been pretty good [live]. People know the songs,” Morrison said. “It’s a weird thing, you know, I haven’t sold loads and loads and loads, but it’s sold enough for me to feel good about it. That’s the feeling that I cling to, you know, that I feel good about the songs and I don’t play something to get a reaction of a certain kind. It just felt good.”

The U.S. leg of his tour will be short-lived, keeping him stateside until May 19, after which he’ll head off through Europe. He’s slowly plugging away at new projects, but he mostly just wants to enjoy the present.

“I just want to let it come slowly over the next year or so,” he said of the writing. “I’m really just enjoying being on tour. My problem before was I never really enjoyed the moment. I was only looking to the next goal and what I wanted to achieve.”

From the sound of it, Tuesday’s show at the Fox will be incredibly good natured and relaxed. Morrison is feeling more like himself as a musician than ever, and enjoying the hell out of it.

“I’m just really looking forward to doing the shows and for people to see what I’m about this time around. Just to show people that I’ve grown a little bit,” he said. “My fan base is getting a little bit older now, which is a good thing. When I started out it was just young girls, which is great, but I don’t know, I just didn’t want to be that sort of artist. I just wanted it to be about the music.”

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