LUKE JACKSON – Solo Duo Trio (First Take Records FTCD003)

Solo Duo TrioWow! Luke Jackson stepped on stage at Bramley’s Cocktail Bar in Canterbury and roared his way through a new blues-based song, ‘Fun Of It’ – it took my breath away even at this distance. Solo Duo Trio is Luke’s first live album featuring Andy Sharps as half the duo on bass guitar and drummer Connor Downs completing the trio as Luke led his band through a set divided into the titular three segments.

For his second song he goes back to the title track of his first album, More Than Boys. It was recorded when he was just eighteen but even then he was making his mark. Six years on from that release his voice has matured and I imagine he’s learned some new guitar techniques but it is his command of the stage, his material and his audience that is astonishing even though his stage announcements still sound modest. The third track is another new song and one of Luke’s absolute best; ‘Flowers’ is deceptively simple but quite heart-rending, sung with passion over a minimal guitar part.

Luke closes his solo segment with ‘Last Train’ segueing into a verse of ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ and welcomes Andy to the stage for ‘Father’s Footsteps’ from his second album. I think that it’s only when listening to Luke’s own selection from his catalogue that you realize what a marvelous bunch of songs he has produced in a few short years. The duo segment closes with a brilliant version of ‘Finding Home’ proving how versatile two instruments and two voices can be.

Connor comes to the stage for the trio section, beginning with ‘Is It Me?’ and one of my favourites from the entire album, ‘Aunt Sally’ – what a song that is. Luke tries to take it down a bit with ‘Made Of  Stone’ and the band gets behind him, driving but not racing. ‘Answers Have Gone’, from Fumes And Faith, is another rocking blues and as he starts to sing ‘Sister’ he sounds like an old bluesman. Finally comes the last song from his most recent studio album and ‘The Road’ brings us as up to date as we can get.

If you thought that you knew Luke Jackson, as I thought I did, listen to Solo Duo Trio and prepare to revise your opinions. This is stunning.

Dai Jeffries

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Artist’s website: www.lukepauljackson.com

‘Is It Me?’ – live: