“Albums take you into their own sealed world. This time around I just wanted to write the tunes and record them with great musicians,” and that’s exactly what Jake Bugg has done. At only 23, his already impressive record history has just added some true music legends. His upcoming album, titled ‘Hearts That Strain’ and available on September 1st, was recorded in Nashville with a truly inspirational roster. As part of American Sound Studio’s legendary house band The Memphis Boys, Gene Chrisman and Bobby Woods were integral to some of the most popular albums in history. They were part of Dusty In Memphis, In The Ghetto, Suspicious Minds, and Dark End Of The Street, and as well as collaborating with icons like Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, and Dionne Warwick. Not bad company to keep.
“They’re old guys but they’re amazing,” Bugg says. “It was ten to five and then that’s it. They’d pack up and we’d done two or three tunes. It was a mad vibe being from England and meeting these absolute legends and then cutting some tracks with them.”
And the collaborations work beautiful with Bugg’s own style. Witty, melodic, and self-assured, Bugg has been a critical success since breaking onto the music scene with his self-titled debut album in 2012. His follow-up albums, ‘Shangri La’ and ‘On My One’ continued to deliver. The direct, unaffected tone of his songwriting mixed with the warmth and rhythm of Nashville creates a new sound that is less of a departure and more of a new layer to his music. Noah Cyrus— daughter of country legend Billy Ray Cyrus and younger sister of pop star Miley— makes an appearance, adding to its Southern credentials. The first single, ‘How Soon The Dawn’, is a collaboration with Dan Auerbach and the video is already up to give you a taste of the new album, available next month.
The emphasis on the importance of the entire album as a complete work is clear. It’s in direct contrast to this modern obsession with shuffle and singles, remixes and playlists. It’s refreshing to see someone highlight the value of a cohesive album. Highlighting it as a self-contained journey with its own narrative speaks to Bugg’s story-telling ability. “I like putting out records and I like listening to records,” Bugg says. “If you listen to a lot of those classic albums throughout, you can tell that all the tracks are recorded in the same place. It’s nice to have that consistency.” It’s one he manages to create himself with ‘Hearts That Strain’.
Jake Bugg radiates a maturity and self-understanding beyond his years— and his music reaps the benefits. Embracing different influences feels like a definitive choice, rather than inexperienced floundering. It’s a joy to hear. And with an album this good, the live performances promise to be a success. He’ll be at the ‘On Blackheath’ festival on Sunday September 10th, followed by an intimate solo acoustic tour around the UK. Tickets for the tour will go on sale August 11th at 9 am. Here’s where you can catch him.
Sat 4th Bath, The Forum
Sun 5th Cardiff, St David’;s Hall
Mon 6th Leicester, De Montfort Hall
Tue 7th Hull, City Hall
Thu 9th Cork, Live at St. Luke’;s
Fri 10th Limerick, Dolans Pub
Sat 11th Galway, Black Box
Mon 13th Edinburgh, The Queen’s Hall
Tue 14th Forres, The Loft
Thu 16th Strathpeffer, Strathpeffer Pavilion
Fri 17th Perth, Inchyra Arts Club
Sun 19th Stoke-on- Trent, Victoria Hall
Wed 22nd Bexhill, De La Warr Pavilion
Fri 24th Reading, Hexagon
Sat 25th Liverpool, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
If you can’t see him live, make sure to take a listen to what he has to offer. His music is consistently high-quality and engaging— and when he takes a risk, it works. He’s a young artist who deserves your attention. And though his new album is available from September 1st, you can be sure we’ll be tuning in longer after that.
Jake Bugg- How Soon The Dawn