Sometimes an artist comes along who blows you away with the sheer raw energy of their sound and their refreshing attitude to the music industry in general. English Singer/Songwriter and musician Jake Bugg is one such talent. His self-titled debut album was released on October 15 and is the number one selling album in the United Kingdom right now. With it, Jake Bugg brings to the table, a welcome collaboration between the old and the new which really does offer something that shoves its head above the musical parapet and urges us to listen hard, take notice and love.
Amazingly, he’s still only eighteen years old, yet his sound harks back to perhaps what many view as the golden days of Blues and Rock and Roll – the 1960s. It’s hard to countenance that you’re actually not listening to Bob Dylan or Donovan when his voice kicks into gear and considering his tender age, the sounds he creates are incredibly, not only assured, but emotionally mature too. However, his songs really delve into the world he himself knows. He’s a working class kid from the Nottingham and while his sound nods to the founding fathers of Rock and Roll, his lyrics actually speak to his contemporaries and reflect how life is for many of us, right in the here and now. It’s like listening to an old head on young shoulders, in the nicest possible way.
He eschewed proper college training in music and was determined to do it his own way, picking up a songbook of Beatles classics from his local library and learning the songs himself rather than being taught classically. This is what has – many would argue – helped him create the rough, raw and ready sound he throws out there. The fact is, he’s feeling the music naturally rather than having it forced upon him. It means we get to see and hear a performer who is himself, rather than the construct of an increasingly manufactured Pop industry.
The song that probably has defined him to date is the punchy, kicking hit “Lightning Bolt” which charted in the U.K singles chart earlier this year:
Jake Bugg – “Lightning Bolt”:
It’s a thoroughly Bluesy, Rocky effort that manages to stick in your head after just one listen, refusing to budge and is one of the main reasons people are taking to him. It all just seems so effortless and as though he’s always been around. However, a prime example, perhaps of his harking back to the earlier sounds of Dylan/Donovan is in the song “Simple As This” which combines a sweet harmonica line with the most beautiful vocal harmonies you could hope to hear.
One of the other most endearing things about him is that he seems to want to make it in the music business in his own way, in his own time. It lends his songs and indeed his image (such as it is, he’s a really natural chap) an even more genuine feel. He’s probably one of those rare acts that is going to be popular across all the generations.
There will be, perhaps, lots of other comparisons to acts that were around in the heyday of Indie music in the 1990s, when you blinked and another identikit guitar band was in sight, producing the same sort of sound. Inevitably, he’s already been put in the same bracket as Liverpool bands like The Coral and Cast, but what marks Jake Bugg out is that he’s an authentic character. He’s not already had two or three bands or incarnations of an act that have failed. What we’re getting, straight away is an effortless, natural performer who has a genuine enthusiasm for what he’s doing and a solid fan base that loves what he does. For someone so young and with a real bright future ahead of him, that’s quite remarkable.
Jake Bugg – Jake Bugg (Album Sampler):
Last year he supported an act that We Plug Good Music had previously brought to your attention, the fabulous Michael Kiwanuka and it’s a mark of his musical maturity and presence that he’s also supported Lana Del Rey too, to great acclaim. His album is available to buy from the usual outlets of iTunes and Amazon, plus there are a few free downloads of other tracks not featured on the album available his own website, which beats even the great music deals from other sites that are on offer.
Over the next few weeks, he’ll be touring in the US and Canada, with dates in Oregon and Vancouver, then next month, on the 14th November, he plays Koko in London. Further details of his upcoming gigs and where you can see him can be found on his Facebook page. Check out Jake Bugg. You will not be disappointed.