Live review: John Jenkins – The Bell, Bath, 23rd August 2021
"John Jenkins is one of those songwriters who works just off the radar but is the equal of many better known artists"
I don't get many reviews for playing live so to get one for the current tour is great news especially such a positive one and its lovely to see Pippa being named checked as she's been great this last few weeks. Nice also to see Trudi Brunskill get a mention as well.
Thanks Tim Martin
New post on Americana UK - Live review: John Jenkins – The Bell, Bath, 23rd August 2021 by Tim Martin
The Bell in Walcot Street has been one of the key venues in Bath for more than 40 years. It restarted live music in July and tonight it hosted John Jenkins, on tour to promote his excellent album ‘If You Can’t Forgive You Can’t Love’. However, there were several support acts, selected from an online and "age positive" songwriting contest called Talent is Timeless which meant that Jenkins set was rather shorter than might have been ideal, but he took the opportunity to play some songs that don’t feature on the album.
With just mandolin and guitar player Pippa Murdie alongside him, the songs he did play from the recent album had a completely different quality. Having suffered at the hands of the rail network getting to Bath, ‘The Last Train From Baltimore’ was a surprise choice. But as one of the songs that highlights Jenkins’ rich voice best it was a welcome one though. His Townes Van Zandt T-shirt was a clue that he would be playing ‘Kathleen’. He did, and It was the highlight of the set. On the album it has a full band and strings arrangement, here the delicate simplicity of the song gave us a refreshing variation to the album version. ‘It's Not That I'm Afraid of Your Husband’ is an as yet unrecorded tale of infidelity, not to be taken seriously. Pippa Murdie’s guitar playing on this was particularly good, and her singing and mandolin playing add another dimension to the songs.
Jenkins had spent the night asking the audience in the small crowded Back Bar to respect the artists by not talking during their sets. The only artist not treated to that consideration was Jenkins himself. One of the other acts had brought some supporters who, having seen their favourites decided to chat and take phone calls during Jenkins and Murdie’s songs. However, talking to Jenkins afterwards, he was pleased with the evening and happy to support the other artists in getting some exposure.
The most notable of those support acts was the extraordinary Trudi Brunskill. She offered up a mixture of songs drawing heavily on Joni Mitchell’s 'Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter' era, and between show quips courtesy of Julie Walters.
John Jenkins is one of those songwriters who works just off the radar but is the equal of many better known artists. In an acoustic folk setting his songs work as well as on his more Americana flavoured albums. In Pippa Murdie he has the ideal playing partner. If they play near you go and see them.
Tim Martin | September 1, 2021 at 11:30 am | Tags: John Jenkins | Categories: Live Reviews, Reviews | URL: https://wp.me/p7ZuH5-n0t
West Kirby Arts Centre 24th March 2018
Here's a review for our West Kirby Arts Centre Show last week (24th March 2018) that is on the West Kirby Arts Centre Facebook Page - Many thanks to Trevor Smith for such kind kinds:
Scene and Heard March 2018
Here's a nice review from "Scene and Heard" by the lovely Lis Garrett of our show on Friday 23rd March 2018 at 81 Renshaw Street :
Next up was John Jenkins and The James Street Band. John Jenkins has surrounded himself with a super group of musicians and singers. It’s fluid and changing with several guests arriving and departing during the set but above all it feels like a group of friends having a great time performing together, the fact there is an appreciative audience seems like a bonus. Stand out individual performances for me were Megan’s stunning vocals - she has an emotional depth to her vocals that belies her young age. Denis Parkinson on lead guitar also impressed. John Jenkins’ understated role as band leader had more to do with the very limited space on stage but nonetheless he leads his band of musicians with confidence and his enjoyment is infectious.
Fatea Review Dec 2017
The Way Down Wanderers + John Jenkins and The James Street Band Venue: Grateful Fred @ The Atkinson
Traditionally, the last Grateful Fred’s of the year has a party atmosphere and so it was tonight when we were treated to an awesome performance by Chicago’s “best emerging act”, the high-energy bluegrass band The Way Down Wanderers ,ably supported by Liverpool singer songwriter John Jenkins and his 5-piece James Street Band.
John opened the evening with a fine set drawn [mostly] from his excellent new double album “Window Shopping In Nashville” ,which was recorded earlier this year ,using notable session musicians, including Scott Poley, Chris Howard and Scott Whitley.
John is a well-known figure on the Liverpool music scene , having been a member of The Persuaders and Come In Tokio. His music can best be described as melodic , country-tinged rock and this was well-received by the knowledgeable and enthusiastic Grateful Fred’s audience.
One of the highlights of John’s album is “I Was Looking For You” ,which he co-wrote with none other than Chris Curtis of The Searchers ,with whom John worked in the local tax office!
However, my favourite performance of tonight’s show was a superb version of the album’s opening track , a cracking country-rock number called “Silhouettes” ,which featured a wonderful duet with the amazing Megan-Louise ,who is surely a country star-in-the-making.
John has the knack of being able to combine melodic, catchy tunes with meaningful lyrics ,as shown on his performances of “Same Thing Every Night” and “Get Her Out My Mind” and he and the band earned a well-deserved encore , finishing on an optimistic note with “Some Day We’ll See Better Days”.
The Way Down Wanderers were formed by long-time friends [and soon-to-be brothers-in-law] Austin Thompson [guitar and vocals] and Collin Krause [mandolin, fiddle and vocals] in their hometown of Peoria, Illinois. They were joined by John Merikoski [drums and spoons] , John Williams [upright bass] and Travis Kowalsky [banjo and fiddle] to form one of the most exciting and unconventional bluegrass bands on the planet. Highly-skilled musicians, they combine that “high lonesome sound” with an almost punk-like energy.
Not many bluegrass bands can boast two highly individualistic , dread-locked singers and a rock drummer who doubles on spoons! The band have been together for four years and they are as tight as the proverbial canard’s derriere.
The Wanderers are no slouches as songwriters either ,as evidenced by break-up song “Circles”, “There’s A New Day Dawning” and “Treading The Water”, which featured a superb mandolin solo from Collin. If one song conveys the essence of this extraordinary band ,it has to be “Wildfire” which perfectly demonstrates their unique blend of harmony and energy [check out the video on You Tube].
The Wanderers treated us to not one ,but two, Bob Dylan covers with “Blowing In The Wind” [beautifully sung by bassist John Williams] and a gorgeous version of “Tomorrow Is A Long Time”, which featured a duet between Austin and Collin.
After such an inspirational performance, an encore was a foregone conclusion and the Wanderers came down from the stage to play a rousing acoustic version of “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” amongst the audience and so concluded a wonderful evening.