TALL TALES AND RUMOURS - LUKE JACKSON
LCM ALBUM OF THE WEEK
Release Date: 4th November, 2016
Genre: Americana, Folk, Blues
Band: Andy Sharps (Bass & backing vocals), Connor Downs (Percussion and backing vocals) and Amy Wadge (guest vocals on track 3)
Location: Canterbury, Kent
Record Label: First Take Records
Ever since a young age Luke Jackson is been a superstar in the making. He is one of the rising stars of both the UK Folk and Americana world and blessed with vocals and maturity far beyond his years. In Luke's previous EP 'This Family Tree' we had a great taster of things to come. In 'Tall Tales & Rumours' Luke comes of age, producing some of his finest work yet. Close associations with great singer-songwriters like Martin Joseph and Amy Wadge have certainly paid off, so has expanding his music from solo performances to a new trio with Andy Sharps and Connor Downs. Influences on this album also include Richard Thompson, Glen Hansard, Anderson East and Parker Millsap. This album full of engaging stories has high quality and rich production with Luke's bluesy vocals soaring above his strong rock and roots melodies and songwriting.
'Tall Tales and Rumours' opens with the haunting and captivating acepella intro 'The Man That Never Was'. It has a very spiritual quality, drifting into Southern gospel. Luke was inspired to write the song after watching a documentary of a singer-songwriter who was suffering from Alzheimer's. As the disease took hold his memory deteriorated he would often forget his close family members. But one thing he never forgot was his music and the lyrics to his songs, which highlights the power of music. "No man is empty, not all is lost. You may find him in a melody.......the man that never was".
'Treat Me Mean, Keep Me Keen' is a very tongue in cheek song about a man infatuated with an American woman and tries to impress her by showing her the sights of his home town....she is not very impressed. Luke has been listening to Oklahoma singer-songwriter Parker Millsap a lot recently and this song is Luke's take on his style. The song also contains the album title "Make me feel jaded and older, all these Tall Tales and Rumours are things I don't care to know. I said hold on, I'll take your breathe away....but she just said she wants to go."
Luke has been on tour with the very good singer-songwriter Amy Wadge a couple time now and 'Finding Home' features Amy on backing vocals. It is an honest and heartfelt journey song about being a traveller and being away from home. It has a real Glen Hansard feel about it especially in the choruses. 'Gonna find home and a life worth dying for...Sing the songs to make the crowds grow wild....buy all that I'd ever need and more....here in my life worth dying for'
A fragile and srtipped love song 'Better Man' was written by Luke just before his first tour in Europe. Some great imagery here 'The sea rose a fell, duelling with the sand. In their eternal battle for ownership of land.....and we watched it all slip through our hands. But through all my highs and lows you make me a better man.'
Next up is the very radio friendly rocky and bluesy 'Anything But Fate'. Very catchy bass line and chorus to this one "What is it I'm hoping to find. When searching through the darkness at night. Anything that could ease my mind....anything but fate".
On a similar motorcycle theme to Richard Thompson '1952 Vincent Black Lightning' is Luke's next song about building a bike and riding to California 'Leather & Chrome'. "Would you ride with the wind and live my dream'.
One of Luke's major influences is Richard Thompson who sometimes writes love songs which are quite different and sometimes dark and twisted. "I Remember" was inspired by that take on the genre. It's a story of a man, an oddball stalker-type character obsessed in all the wrong ways with a woman. The dark rocky chords and percussion work perfectly to capture the mood.
'Aunt Sally' is based on a lady from Luke's home town of Canterbury who is quite a local character. Aunt Sally is her nickname as she has her make-up like Una Stubbs' character in the TV series Worzel Gummidge. The song is a made up story of her life written after Luke saw her outside his old secondary school, after it had closed down. It's a bluesy track with chunky acoustic guitar and a strong off-rhythm. "They sold her down a river on a raft of broken dreams. Filled her up with potions , lies and pills and schemes. Told her she was better but that ain't what it seems.......as Aunt Sally screams"
Luke says that the next song 'Kansas' is one of his favourites on the album and it's one of mine as well. It's an honest, stripped and beautiful written song about Luke's trip to the Kansas City Folk Alliance. Luke was sharing a room with the very good Jack Harris who had borrowed an old dreadnought Gibson for the trip. This song was written in about 30 minutes on that Gibson. The hotel where the Folk Alliance was held was next to a grand station and the song captures the scene outside as Luke was watching through the window. It's also a song about being homesick for family and girlfriend.
The upbeat and catchy 'Lucy and Her Camera' is a tale of unrequited love with a possible happy ending. The very special "Lucy & her camera....sees everything but me". But will that change? Listen to find out.
The very tender and sad 'That's All Folks' is about the thought process and lead up to someone's suicide "But you never found that missing piece for the hole that you needed to fill.....We are fall down" ......."No you took time to leave us a note, to give this some meaning, simply to say why. To help us all see through the smoke. But scribbled on paper, three profitless words......That's all folks....."
This great album closes with some lovely country soul drifting in gospel 'The Road' about life as a travelling troubadour. It has a great Anderson East feel.