The first thing that becomes apparent when listening to Journals is that Luke Jackson has one helluva voice. Excepting one, Journals is a set of self penned songs (some narrative, some personal) highlighting the Canterbury based singer-songwriters rich, oak casked vocals. He started making waves as a teengager and has released a series of albums, each showing a greater degree of maturity. Drawing on his experience, family life and stories about people and places folk-roots is undoubtedly Jackson’s natural home but he has one foot in both blues and country.
Opening track ‘Honeycomb’ is stark and brooding, a blues infused statement of intent that’s followed by the more reflective ‘Home’ and ‘Aimee’, love songs that show Jackson’s country leanings. It’s a mark of his depth as a songwriter and performer that he can make his thoughtful, expressive songs work in whatever genre he chooses. ‘Cherry Picker’ and ‘Eliza Holt’ bring back the blues – one the witty story of a farmer trying to win the girl with an unusual choice of pick up vehicle, the other an electric folk-blues telling the ghostly story of an unmarried girl and her baby. Similarly blues based ‘This Ain’t Love (But It’ll Do)’ wraps its tendrils round a clever lyric of mismatched love. Jackson has a way with ballads, the best being the heartfelt tribute to his late grandmother ‘A Queen In Her Own Way’, and the moving war torn narrative of ‘Red Oak’. He also has the guts to take on Sandy Denny’s ‘Who Knows Where The Time Goes’, a song widely revered in folk circles but here given a country-blues flourish with an authoritative lead vocal.
Journals is Jackson’s best work to date and shows an artist on the cusp of great things.
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This post was written by Luke