John Jenkins is a Liverpudlian legend. He has been playing around his native city for many years including stints with The Persuaders and Come In Tokio. He has 4 previous albums either solo or with his previous band John Jenkins and the Sure Thing.
Listening to this album I was really struck by how confident he is and also how gentle the music is – I guess it takes confidence to play and sing without bluster or exaggeration. Musically it sits in a general Americana place but frankly his vocals are way above that genre; a high pitch, sung softly and really enunciating the words.
As for the James Street Band, they are all able musicians with Denis Parkinson’s guitar playing and David Nixon’s harmonica playing a particular joy. Steve Atkinson’s bass playing is solid and works well alongside Dave Orford’s drums but the focus is very much on John Jenkins and his songs.
The songs themselves are storylike. He references past relationships, disastrous break-ups (‘Playing With Fire’) as well as current loves but there are also numbers such as the title track that takes you to a very British view of America. Every song has charm and brings the listener into the lyrics.
The album is many things – a terrific selection of songs, some excellent playing and one of the best lead vocalists around at the moment, a fine rendition of pop music in an Americana vein.