In Feb 2012 I went to a folk festival in Frome. Steve Knightley introduced a very young singer song writer. I was embarrassingly blown away by him. “Ten years from now” I wrote, “Luke Jackson is going to be the biggest thing in folk.”
It’s ten years later, almost to the day, and he is being called back onto the stage to sing Meet on the Ledge with Fairport Convention.
I honestly couldn’t be more pleased.
Luke was terrific: I don’t know whether the enforced lock-down sabbatical has given him time to hone his skills; or whether a residency with the people who invented folk rock has made him up his game, but he has never sounded better. I was a little worried that the big venue might swamp him, but he was as natural amid Bath Forum’s art deco finery as he is in the livestreams from his own living room; and the theatre’s acoustic (or the PA system, or a bit of both) showed his vocal skills in the best possible light. He starts the set with the unaccompanied finger clicking Trouble Now which leaves you in no doubt about the strength and beauty of his voice. But what struck me most forcibly in this shortish set is the breadth of his song writing. He’s been around long enough to have a very decent back-catalogue (sixty or seventy songs across eight albums?) and boy does he make good use of it. Tonight’s set goes from quasi-spiritual (Trouble Now) through the bluesy (Honeycomb), the folkie (Tiny Windows); the folk rocky (Eliza Holt) and the unpigeonholeable (Channel).
As is traditional, Fairport themselves come on at the end of his set and accompany him on his final song — the country rocky lockdown lament Nothing But Time.
Fairport fiddler Ric Sanders has a very nice line in silly jokes. He introduced Luke as coming from Canterbury and wanting to share some tales with us. Very cross I never thought of that one.
Fairport themselves were quite good as well. We started with the obligatory Walk a While With Me; ended with Meet on the Ledge and passed through Matty Groves along the way. Almost the highlight for me was Simon Nicol doing Ralph McTells Girl From The Hiring Fair. I know that Fairport have had many, many line ups and that none of the original members are in the current band (although Nicol has been at it since the 70s and the current roster has been in place for the better part of twenty years.) But when that underlying fiddle music starts and the drums kick in, dammit, it still sounds like Fairport Convention. Maybe the 60s never came to and end. Maybe this year I’ll finally make it to Cropredy.
Andrew Rilstone February 2022
Categorised in: Reviews
This post was written by Luke