New Jackie Leven album in April
JACKIE LEVEN New album GOTHIC ROAD (COOKCD519) Released 5th April
GOTHIC ROAD opens with the choral sound of GHOST VOICES OF THE KURSK – three young Russian men from the northern seaboard city of Murmansk, all of whose brothers died in that Russian submarine tragedy. This is closely followed by the sound of a German sat nav lady guiding JACKIE’s tour bus out of the city of Hamburg last year. And so the stage is set for twelve strong tales from the GOTHIC ROAD – powerful stories from one who has walked the road for nearly sixty years.
Many of the songs are at once mystical but also locked in the daily grind of emotional survival. In keeping with his longstanding creative association with mavericks and outlaws, (David Thomas, Johnny Dowd etc) JACKIE collaborates here with fabled English renegade RALPH McTELL. RALPH supplies the yearning second lead vocal, plus Gibson acoustic guitars on CORNELIUS WHALEN, a song about the man who was the last of the Jarrow marchers left alive when JACKIE wrote the song – the Jarrow March** being a superb example of the reality of the GOTHIC ROAD.
Elsewhere on the album, JACKIE fantasises about the creative dynamo that is actress TILDA SWINTON, hides in his hotel mini bar from the tyranny of endless touring, sings a song written by the original punk poet PATRIK FITZGERALD, (SHADOW OF A MAN) and welcomes on board a guest recording by his co-producer, the great Welsh singer DAVID WRENCH (ISLAND).
The album abounds with GOTHIC ROAD-ness, as in the coda of the song GOTHIC ROAD itself, where the royal road pomp of HENRY PRIESTMAN’s massed plucked cellos is counter-pointed by JOHN ROBERT’S skeletal spoons playing, casting a cold eye on the poverty-stricken end of the street. Or in the lush celestial choir voices on LAST OF THE BADMEN as the anti hero at the end of his personal road pleads in a PARTON-esque refrain – ‘please don’t kill me just because you can’.
The music on GOTHIC ROAD provides cast iron proof that the creative phenomenon that is JACKIE LEVEN is not simply continuing to go from strength to strength, but is close to passing out of sight on a road that others fear to tread.
JACKIE will be toring the UK to promote the album over coming months, dates as follows:
Fri 26 Mar Ayr – Libertine
Wed 31 Mar Coventry – Taylor Johns House
Sat 9th May Bristol – Colston Hall 2
Wed 2nd June Cambridge – The Portland
Thu 3rd June Derby – The Flowerpot
Fri 4th June Brighton – Komedia Studio
Sat 5th June Glasgow – King Tuts
Sun 6th June Manchester – Academy3
Mon 7th June Birmingham – Hare & Hounds
Fri 11th June Keighley – The Gassienda @ The New Variety Club
Thu 12th Aug Hebden Bridge – Trades Club
Sun 29th Aug Southsea Folk Festival
Sat 16th Oct Exeter – The Phoenix
Wed 27th Oct South Shields – Customs House @ the Studio
Mon 22nd Nov Ullapool – The Argyll Hotel
Wed 24th Nov Inverness – Hootnanny
Fri 26th Nov Kelso, The Scottish Borders – The Black Swan
Fri 3rd Dec London – The Union Chapel
** The Jarrow March : In October 1936, 200 marchers travelled 300 miles from the town of Jarrow to the Palace of Westminster in London to lobby Parliament about the unemployment and extreme poverty being suffered in the North East of England. Their MP, Ellen Wilkinson, known as Red Ellen, walked with them. Despite considerable public sympathy, very little was done for the marchers and the ship industries remained closed. All they were given was £1 each to get the train back from London.