Friday 4 November 2016


CD Review

Tall Tales and Rumours

Luke Jackson must have the musical hormones of a teenager, they are rampant, raging and causing him to mature at a phenomenal rate. 

Luke Jackson
At 22 he is on his fourth studio album with twelve original songs that are full of emotion, guts and executed with that distinctive, signature - almost plaintive style of singing - which makes him stand out.
It's that voice which opens the album with an old-time, spiritual style of blues wailing which wouldn't be out of place at a wake, and brings back memories of that great film Oh Brother, where Art Thou?
The Man That Never Was is an incredible opener. Jackson's voice is haunting, brooding and full of mojo. It's the style of track which resembles some of the great tracks from Ry Cooder.
It segues into Treat Me Mean, Keep Me Keen, which still keeps the blues theme but is much faster.
Jackson's voice has these wonderfully eccentric incidentals which crop up every now and again and keeps his vocals just the British side of the usual American accent adopted by so many artists.
There are little gems such as the way he sings "The air round here is just a smoker's cuff, and there's too much substance to your culchaaar." and the way he sings "her eyes began to flatter(flutter)" and the drawn out, higher note of "country song" seem to indicate Jackson was in a relaxed mood when recording and enjoying every word.
This gives way to a really cool ballad, Finding Home, which is reminiscent of Kris Drever's slow, languid style of singing. By now you realise the depth of Jackson's voice and the maturity with which he executes his songs.
The opening guitar chords of Better Man reminds of the the seminal version of Hallelujah from Jeff Buckley.
The gentle strumming slides beneath Jackson's understated singing for what is an incredibly thoughtful and emotion-stirring ballad.
He picks up the pace for Anything But Fate where sections of his singing steps quickly, like someone on hot coals, over the top of the throbbing bass line provided by Andy Sharps.
There are times when the softness of Jackson's voice overwhelms you and Leather and Chrome is one such example. Even though his tones are refined none of the depth or character of his tone is lost and there is a yearning for nostalgia and emotion in his words which have the ability to touch the listener deeply.
Whether by design or accidental, there are elements and musical phrases which explode memory bubbles of the sixties and early seventies where it seems to evoke some distant melodic memory which you can never quite put your finger on. Anything But Fate is one and I Remember is another. It is nothing like The Doors or the Mamas and Papas but somehow it brings them to mind almost like auto suggestion.
Using the guitar, this time as part of the percussion, for Aunt Sally, Jackson gives a throbbing beat to the track. His voice pumps the lyrics as if he is trying to the push the whole song along with just his words.
Kansas is a great track worthy of The Boss himself and shows the versatility of Jackson's vocals. The controlled subtlety in both his singing and guitar playing is exquisite and without saying a word he can fill the entire song with emotion.
The new album
The track which follows, Lucy & Her Camera, is pure Jackson with the words tumbling out and expanding like bubbles to burst just in time for the next phrase to take its place. He moves the style more into the rock camp for what is essentially a boy gets the girl song.
The emotion of Jackson's singing floods out with That's All Folks. It's a deep song about suicide that is made all the more poignant for its simplicity.
Here Jackson proves the point less is more and once again there is no depth or character lost in the fact he is keeping his voice soft and low.
On The Road, the final track, seems to pay homage to the days of doo wop. It has the feel of the last dance of the night and you can almost see the couples in the dimmed light of a hall moving around as though glued at the hips.
Jackson's talent have never wavered and this album has taken him to another level.
The thought, emotion, construction and execution of the songs are incredibly mature.
Jackson is in his early twenties so if you extrapolate twenty years he is either going to be a burned out wreck or they are going to have invent a new scale for him to be registered on, the smart money is on the latter.

Tall Tales and Rumours is out now on First Take Records.

You can catch Luke as the trio touring with the new album at The Madhouse @ The Brewhouse, Burton on Trent on Saturday November 5, show starts 8pm. Tickets are £10 in advance and £12 on the night. Then on November 6 they are at The Convent, Stroud. Show starts 8pm and tickets are £10 plus £1.25 booking fee
The trio move onto the continent on November 11 playing  L’Ist Waar, Oud Herverlee, Belgium. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are 29 euro including a meal or 14 euro for the concert only. 
On November 13 they play Pastorie de Mortel, De Mortel, Netherlands. Show starts 3pm
Then it's back to Belgium on November 15 for a lunchtime college concert at Artevelde Hogeschool, Mariakerke. Concert starts at noon.
The trio stay in Belgium for another gig on Friday November 18 where they play Soul Urban Coffee Bar, Zomergem. Show starts at 7.30pm.
It's back to the Netherlands on November 20 to play Cambrinus, Horst. Show starts at 4pm and tickets are 15 euro.
On November 25 they play Stat 68, Aalter, Belgium. Show starts 7.30pm. Then staying in Belgium on November 26 they play Maison Bleue, Gent. Show starts 7.30pm and tickets are 19 euro

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