LUKE JACKSON- This Family Tree (First Take Records FTCD001)

ThisFamilyTreeLuke Jackson opened his account with two superb solo albums and he could be forgiven for sitting back and giving us more of the same. He’s still only twenty, after all, and he has time on his side.

And that is exactly what he hasn’t done. This Family Tree continues the development that led to Fumes And Faith with support from Andy Sharps on bass and Connor Downs on drums. It’s more rock’n’roll than folk but the songs retain the insight that Luke has always shown. These are stories of people, all but one told in the third person, as Luke observes their lives.

The opener, ‘Ain’t No Trouble’, shows a small town Saturday night with all its unpleasantness. Luke stands outside at all – “There ain’t no trouble that’s mine”. One of the song’s characters, Joey by name, appears again in ‘These Winter Winds’ on the day “he watched his daughter go”. Luke fills the song with misdirection – is this a wedding day or a funeral? Even at the end we’re not sure. The first person song is ‘Is It Me? And here Luke is looking back all the way to when he was sixteen and asks the un-named girl to “show me that I’m not a has been”. Are you just trying to make us feel old?

The only problem here is that This Family Tree is a mini-album, just seven tracks, and I think I would have preferred to wait a little longer for a full length product. It is also the debut of a new label and there may be economic considerations or it may be that the full album is no longer de rigeur when a single track can be downloaded and be enough to make someone’s name. Whatever, this is a brilliant piece of work.

Dai Jeffries

Artist’s website:

Luke and the chaps celebrate his ‘Misspent History’:

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