Frightened Cellar is the stage persona of award winning alternative folk artist James Wilson. An Iowa native now living in New York, James crafts sophisticated tunes that move without melodrama, telling stories of love, loss, and longing. In September of 2011 James received an award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) recognizing his contributions to American popular music, and he was named by The Deli Magazine as one of the Top 100 songwriters in NYC.
In 2009 spent a year in Japan studying traditional Japanese music. There he also recorded an album and toured the country as part of “Sora Ocean”, a duo he formed with shinobue player Kazunari Abe. Most recently, Frightened Cellar returned from a tour of the US supporting his debut solo release “Destroy The Fear That Forms You” which is available through iTunes, Amazon & all major digital retailers.
James is the creator and producer of a new songwriter series in New York called Unhinged: A Night of Queer Songwriters. See James and the other performers we’ve featured this week at Rockbar NYC on Saturday!
1. What is your hometown?
A very small town in rural Iowa called Hudson.
2. With what fictional character do you most identify?
The heroine of bad dreams:
3. In the movie of your life, cast an actor to play you.
Hunter Parrish. He’s a good looking fella.
4. What work of art speaks to your soul?
Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto no. 3. If there was such a thing as perfection in music I think that would be it.
5. What books are you currently reading or recommending?
Right now I’m reading “Books of Blood” by Clive Barker. It’s a collection of short stories and they’re all very good. I’m a big fan of the horror genre.
6. What song or album is currently in heavy rotation on your iPod?
I’ve been listening to a lot of old country music lately. Can’t stop listening to Dolly Parton & Porter Wagoner’s duet “The Last Thing on My Mind” and George Jones’ “White Lightening”. Tom Waits’ “Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis” is getting a ridiculous amount of plays from me too.
7. What’s the last movie that made you cry?
This is embarrassing… Precious.
8. Cat person or dog person?
I’ve never owned a cat or dog, but I would consider myself more of a dog person.
9. What is more important, truth or kindness?
If I had to choose; kindness. Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth.
10. How do you define sin?
Hatred, violence, cruelty.
11. How do you define virtue?
Doing what you believe is right even if it’s not easy
12. Design your headstone: What does it say? What does it look like?
It’s a weeping willow tree. In front of it is a big old stone with my name and the notation of my favorite song.
Bonus Question: Who would you like to see answer these questions?
Bjork and Jesus.