At last I get to sing with Luke Jackson rumour dispelled on arrival at this rather intimate venue, Hinckley Act precision built for live music in shared premises set above owners other but considerably different business. Early birds given first choice in all seated concert hall which by show-time has rapidly filled to capacity.
Evening of delights, starting as Jordan Matthews opens the evening who proves himself to be fine raconteur with exquisite taste of covers. We're treated to 'Pharaoh' (Richard Thompson), John Martyn ('May You Never'), a take from the Scottish songbook with Jordan's skilled arrangement of 'Ae Fond Kiss' (Robert Burns).
Tumbling ever deeper with Martin Simpson's arrangement of Bob Dylan's 'Boots of Spanish Leather', Tony McManus' instrumental arrangement of Gordon Duncan's 'The Sleeping Tune' . Enchanting performance approaching close with Randy Newman's 'Louisiana 1927' (arranged by Martin Simpson) before conclusion with Tony Mcmanus' instrumental arrangement of 'What a Wonderful World'.
Having last seen Luke perform live during May 2015 and several times prior to that, I'm familiar with his double barrelled salvo that starts his shows. First surprise though is the lead 'Ain't No Trouble', from 2015's "This Family Tree" a 7 song outing as the Luke Jackson Trio (Andy Sharps & Connor Downs - hopefully spelling correct, Bass and Percussion respectively), and 'Fathers Footsteps' kick start the first of 2 sets from Luke. This opening signals Luke's constant progression on rise to roots/blues stardom with a move from the equally pleasing acapella cover of 'Grinnin' in your Face' (Son House) played last time I saw him.
Repertoire continually dips into 2014's "Fumes And Faith" from which 'Fathers Footsteps' was taken while also offering comment on both parental, sibling relationships and tall tales from a certain friend. Veering slightly off track (set list) with direction revealed of forthcoming CD in new songs 'Aunt Sally' and 'Better Man'. Amos Lee and movie O'Brother Where Art Thou? providing covers either side of the latter.
Luke worthy master of the drop, that moment of pause before audience held in rapture of his tremendous holler, plentiful evidenced tonight, but also something of a trickster. Hint - it's one of the new songs, which also encompass stateside visit and song first aired in embryo form during 2015 joint headline tour with Amy Wadge (Woj).
Ever the showman and raconteur, acknowledging the work of venue staff, Jordan and heartfelt thanks to audience, Luke remains a forceful stage presence equally at home as part of trio or fittingly as solo performer not afraid to tackle sensitive subjects with deep lyric based around his sisters occupation particularly hard hitting. Revisit to earlier, I believe as yet unreleased, for 'Lucy and her Camera' and sublime cover of 'Beeswing' (Richard Thompson) govern us toward second surprise the addition of chorus song, told you I got to sing with Luke. Before hitting the road, encore an acapella plead for social change, majestic.
There are only so many hours in a day and only so many gigs we can get to. We'd really like to expand our national coverage of the live scene as it remains the life blood of music.
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