Luke Jackson – Journals

Album Review | First Take | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

It’s perhaps remarkable that at just 25, Luke Jackson delivers his fifth album, when some musicians of this age are barely off the starting line.  It’s even more remarkable that a 25 year-old can write such a song as “Baby Boomers”, an astute comment on our times, which encapsulates perfectly a young person’s fears.  Adopted by the British folk community, Luke’s stylised approach and mannered vocal authority could equally fit neatly into a much wider arena, much in the way of your Ed Sheerans, in fact it’s hard to resist thinking that if only Sheeran’s audience could hear these songs!  Co-produced with Dan Lucas by his side, Journals shows a maturity in Luke’s songwriting. If “Baby Boomers” demonstrates Luke’s credentials as a fine chronicler of modern times, even if might be a one-off Billy Bragg/Grace Petrie moment (although “This Ain’t Love (But It’ll Do)” has its moments), then “Home” shows us Luke’s sensitive side, with a powerful love song topped by a show-stopping power ballad vocal performance.

The album’s show stopper is probably “Queen in Her Own Way”, which takes us to highly personal territory, a beautiful statement of family love, sung in the third person and addressed to Luke’s father upon the occasion of his Nan’s passing.  With a gentle reading of Sandy Denny’s “Who Knows Where the Time Goes” following immediately afterwards, almost as a coda, any Larry David murmurs of disdain are withheld on this occasion. Famously sacrosanct territory it has to be said, with only one truly acceptable re-working, which she did herself for the Unhalfbricking album fifty years ago, it’s completely understandable how irresistible this song can be; it’s a damn good take all the same.

Choice Track: “Home” (NSV 489)