Artist – John Jenkins
Album – Growing Old – Songs From My Front Porch
Released – 26th April 2020
Reviewer – Alan O’Hare, Liverpool Acoustic
Albums are on a collision course with disaster.
It’s not too hard to see into a future where ten or twelve songs, collected together by an artist and released with a theme in mind, no longer exists. That would be a massive shame, of course. But time and change stop for nothing.
‘Growing Old – Songs From My Front Porch’ is an album that asks you to stop for an hour and bask in its atmosphere. Veteran Liverpool songwriter John Jenkins has put together a record that looks back to a time when singer/songwriters such as James Taylor, Jackson Browne and Joni Mitchell roamed the earth and devoured all that came before them.
This is a collection of songs centred on the self and filled with music dripping with sincerity and sensitivity. Sounding like a cup of black coffee tastes in the morning, with an aesthetic to match, it’s dominated by monochrome acoustic guitars, wounded strings and ethereal electric textures.
Jenkins’ latest is a reckoning with nostalgia, then, and lives and dies with its ability to keep listeners interested across eleven heartfelt songs of similar shapes and sounds. The tempos don’t change and colour is never allowed to seep in, as this black and white movie plays out over an hour of looking back.
It’s an old-fashioned headphones record, in short, and one to be played looking through a window dripping with raindrops as you long for days that have passed you by.
Perfect for lockdown listening? Perhaps.
The music (Amy Chalmers’ violin, Andrew Connally’s flutes and whistles in particular) is often beautiful and Jenkins’ best lyrics and melodies (‘Heartlands’, ‘Jackson’s Farm’, ‘I’m Almost Over You’) leave you
smiling wryly as another longing lament refuses to leave your brain.
‘Growing Old – Songs From My Front Porch’ is a defiant piece of work that stands out of time in a world changing with every turn.
Review © 2020 Alan O’Hare, Liverpool Acoustic