There’s no argument that Luke Jackson has one of the most remarkable voices out there. And now with his fifth studio album, the 25-year-old can also be said to be one of the finest young singer songwriters too.
Journals, released on his First Take label on November 8, is a milestone album for the Canterbury-based musician, a showcase for his increasingly thoughtful and mature songwriting, with eleven of the twelve tracks coming from his own pen – and the other being one of the best covers of a hallowed song you are likely to hear.
A top notch acoustic and electric guitarist, Jackson is joined on the album by former college friend Andy Sharps on bass and Elliott Norris on drums and guitars, with both men adding great harmony vocals. Impressive piano and keyboards is added on some tracks by Jarrod Piner of the Gentleman Of Few band while Lizzie White adds sensitive vocals.
Luke Jackson started making waves when barely a teenager. Belying his age with his powerful, distinctive voice and songwriting prowess way beyond his years his debut album More Than Boys (produced by Martyn Joseph) was judged outstanding by many critics and triggered a double nomination at the 2013 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards (Young Folk Award and Horizon Award for Best Emerging Act).
While folk roots may have been his launching pad Jackson is unfazed by genre-hopping and increasingly blues is to the fore along with rock, soul, Americana and even a hint of jazz.
Confident and assured, Jackson is on the brink of his first headline tour in the USA, having played prolifically across Europe, toured regularly with Grammy award-winning Ed Sheeran collaborator Amy Wadge, performed three times at the International Folk Alliance in North America and even supported rock band Marillion.
Co-produced by Luke and Kent-based Dan Lucas (Anchor Baby Recording Co) Journals unveils the singer-songwriter’s strongest set of songs to date – from moving ballads to out-and-out rock tracks – with deeper, fuller, layered arrangements.
Narrative songs range from the heart-breaking to the historical, the wry to the witty.
Says Luke: “I love what I do but it’s about much more than playing my songs to a crowd. It’s the car journeys, the people I meet, the music I listen to on the road, the endless podcasts, service stations, conversations and snapshots of other lives, landscapes and cultures and the craic with the lads. And perhaps more importantly, now I’m a bit older, it feels natural to have a greater voice socially and politically, though I’m never going to be an ‘in your face’ political singer songwriter.
“All of these experiences are a bit like keeping a journal in your head – hence the album title. One definition for the word is “a record of occurrences, experiences and reflections kept on a regular basis – perfect”.
With few musical stones unturned, perhaps the album’s icing on the cake is his spine-tingling version of Sandy Denny’s sacrosanct Who Knows Where The Time Goes? Luke admits he was cautious about tackling the ‘jealously guarded’ folk classic but he does it huge justice in a carefully judged, hypnotic performance that highlights the lyrics beautifully. He says “It’s a joy to play such a marvellous song by someone who was a national treasure.”
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Artist’s website: www.lukepauljackson.com
‘Baby Boomers’ – the first single from Journals: