Luke is the kind of vocalist and songwriter who always creates an instant first impression. The type of artist that stops you dead in your tracks, knowing that you are listening to something very special. His fifth studio album ‘Journals’ continues his rich and exciting musical journey. At only 25 years old Luke has matured into one of the UK’s finest young singer-songwriters.
Released through his own ‘First Take’ label, ‘Journals’ sees Luke write 11 of the album’s 12 tracks, with a spine-tingling cover of Sanny Denny’s classic ‘Who Knows Where Time Goes’ added for good measure. Luke is joined on the album by former college friend Andy Sharps on bass and Elliott Norris on drums, both adding their harmony vocals. Jarrod Pinner (Gentleman Of The Few) adds impressive piano and Keyboards, while Lizzie White adds her sensitive vocals.
We love Luke’s music which blends Americana, Blues, Rock, Folk, Soul and even some Jazz. Co-produced by Luke and Kent based Dan Lucas ‘Journals’ showcases some of Luke’s best work to date from reflective moving ballads to fuller rock and blues tracks.
The word ‘journal’ is defined as ‘a record of occurrences, experiences and reflections kept on a regular basis’ and this perfectly describes the inspirations of this album. Luke comments that ‘the album was about the car journeys, the people I meet and music I listen to on the road, the endless podcasts, conversations and snapshots of other lives, landscapes and cultures.’ The album also Include on-point songs themed about modern issues both social and political.
The excellent album opens with the sultry and rich bluesy bitter-sweet ‘Honeycomb’ with it’s driving rhythm, soaring vocals from Luke and on-point harmonies from Andy and Elliott. This is followed by the heartfelt love song ‘Home’, written from a hotel room longings for home life and family. A story of hardship and reflection from frequent life on the road. We love the wonderful guitar solo and the piano interplay. ‘Aimee’ was written by Luke while travelling on a Trans-Canadian train. It’s a simple song about two people who meet briefly then go their separate ways in the morning. Beautifully paced and measured.
Along ‘with the more personal songs there is the witty ‘Cherry Picker’ the story of a farmer trying to win of the girl of his dreams by courting her with his mobile crane. There is a great retro soulful groove here, growing with propulsive rhythms, hypnotic bass and keyboard lines. The pace slows for the beautiful ‘Red Oak’ based on a true story of war, love and loss. Another lovely and thoughtful track with an initial slow tempo building into a crescendo of electric guitar and keyboards. ‘Heavy’ seeing Luke reflecting on the silent crisis of male depression. Full of impact with a retro soulful groove. “No there really ain’t no shame in being a broken man”. Wise words in a time when many men have trouble in appearing vulnerable and emotionally troubled.
‘Baby Boomers’ was inspired by the birth of Andy’s daughter and reflects on how the world might change in her lifetime. Luke’s personal experiences and thoughts on growing to adulthood are also included. Luke said that he channeled his inner ‘Billy Bragg’ to write the song. ‘Eliza Holt’ is a rollicking and very sad folk song. Luke previously lived in a village that grew around a 18th century psychiatric hospital, which closed in the 1990’s. As a child he would play in the graveyard. He was struck by one gravestone which read “Here lays Eliza Holt’ with others name underneath showing more than one generation had been buried there. Luke says “that he discovered that young girls which became pregnant out of wedlock would quite likely be sent to a hospital like this. Where mother and baby would spend the rest of their lives there, ending up buried together.”
The gentle ‘A Queen In Her Own Way’ is a tribute to Luke’s Grandmother. Who lovingly helps three generations of her family. Wonderful acoustic guitar interwoven with piano and gentle vocals. The Sandy Denny classic ‘Who Knows Where The Time Goes’ has always been very special in the folk cannon. Luke’s thoughtful and reflective new cover version is perfectly judged, highlighting Sandy’s timeless lyrics. Luke comments “It’s a joy to play such a marvelous song by someone who was a national treasure.”
‘This Ain’t Love (But It’ll Do)’ is a tongue-in-cheek look at fake love inspired by TV shows like ‘Love Island’. A tale of transient love and infatuation. The album closes with ‘Every Flame’ a defiant song about carrying on even when things get tough. Pursuing his music journey until as Luke says “I’m going to ride it, until the wheels come off’. The song ends with a strong spiritual gospel-style outro.
Journals is a wonderful chronicle of Luke’s musical journey. Mature, deep, highly crafted and highly impressive. One of my favourite albums so far this year.
Categorised in: Reviews
This post was written by Luke