Time on your hands? Paint the shed? Mow the lawn? Not Luke Jackson. Unable to be out on the road chasing his hopes and dreams, Luke and his compadres conjure up a sublime set of new songs.
Release date: 29th January 2021
Label: First Take Records
Format: digital download
Written between March and November 2020, which needs little in terms of context setting, Luke Jackson’s 7 track digital EP is as it says on the tin: of its time.
Luke has certainly kept the kettle boiling with live streams from his living room and kept warm with plenty of writing. “Some of these songs are very direct and chart exactly what I was feeling at any given time,” he says about his latest batch of songs. “Others are less obvious and whilst influenced by current circumstances, are a bit more ambiguous in terms of their message and meaning.“
The new material lends itself to a more sparse, acoustic production so the obvious person to do these recordings with was Elliott Norris at Good Neighbour Records studio. Elliott has been a musical buddy for the past few years as a duo, or trio with bassist Andy Sharps, and as well as being a great musician he has also been building up a reputation for his studio work. Both Eliott and Andy feature along with Lizzie White adding some vocals
Being in good musical shape – gig fit some would say – in just over a week of recording, mixing and production, the EP was done. If you’re a smart cookie you’ll have read Luke’s Why I Love and had a sneak preview of the wonderful good-time vibe of Nothing But Time and had a taste of the EP that showcases both the solo side (he appears on his own on the opening track I Am Not OK With This) and the contributions from the band that kick in with Keep It Down. The latter grooves with a peaceful easy feeling. It’s not often you hear Luke Jackson strumming away – he’s a skilled player (just listen to Milk And Honey) – but this track is a wonderful little band piece.
You may have already heard Retrain. A track shortlisted for the FATEA Track of the Year award, it responds to the rather glib/shocking messages to musicians coming from our leaders. As he points out, the answer isn’t blowing in the wind. It’s not that simple. The melancholy arrangement reflects the subject matter; the idea that after so many times when music has been the saviour of individuals and the wider world, suddenly is becoming an undervalued and rare commodity.
In the same way that Nothing But Mine is a real piece of musical fun, Tiny Windows is a stunning piece of writing and delivery. Like the old days of The Jam and Slade, it’s loking like it’s heading straight to #1 in the list of favourite Luke Jackson tracks. The irresistible hook is in the delicate Blair Dunlop/RichardThompson-esque guitar interludes and touches that also make an appearance in Milk And Honey, where Luke goes into storytelling mode. There’s a familiarity in the “every dawn brings in the morning, every dusk brings down the sun, ” melody that I can’t quite place. Could be from another lifetime. There’s even a bit around 2:30 when a distant ambience provides a warming wash. Amongst the seven songs, these two are getting some serious replays.
But then, Of The Time doesn’t contain a duff note. I’ve devoured all Luke’s work when it’s appeared. Building into a sizeable little catalogue, I remain partial to Fumes & Faith from 2014. Maybe no longer. Listening to the beautiful Binding which closes the set, seals the deal; growing and emerging as a major track and adding to the weight of what’s gone before it, it cements Of The Time as a pretender to the throne
Luke Jackson has come a long way since 2012’s More Than Boys. You know, in some ways you can see the threads in these songs. We may be experiencing some testing times, but every cloud has a silver lining and all that;. At a time when the gift of music is something to cherish, Of The Time is an inspired offering.
Listen to the brilliant (and great fun) Nothing But Time from the EP here:
You can also read Luke’s Why I Love feature on Martyn Jospeh here