Welcome to the Newsletter!

(Sent on 16/7/21)

Hey everyone! I hope you’re all well and staying safe. Welcome to the very first edition of my Newsletter! That you all for being here at the very being of this strange endeavour. I fully expect the format and the direction of this to change over time (and this is something I absolutely welcome). But for now, here is what to expect:

  • Every week I will put into words a succinct idea related (usually) to the themes of music, connection and the process of making art.
  • Like many of you here, I’m ALWAYS listening to music. I can’t put my love of music down to one genre, it’s a bit of everything and always random. Whatever it is I have been listening to that week, I’ll share it with you here so you can hear for yourself
  • And finally, I’ll update you on any news in regards to what I’m doing. I’ll let you know where I am playing and about any new music or merch available. People on this newsletter will always be the first to know.

What I have Noticed

Joni Mitchell’s Blue turned 50 years old last month. The album is a true constant in my life. It’s a source of inspiration when I need it and yet is a comfort regardless.

Blue is an incredibly vulnerable portrait of her life at the time. What I admire most about this album is the way in which she utterly hacks deep into her personal experience in order to provide a deep sense of connection for her audience.

As she states in a rare interview on the writing of the album:

“I was demanding of myself a deeper and greater honesty. More and more revelation in my work in order to give it back to the people, where it goes into their lives and nourishes them and changes their direction and make lightbulbs go off in their heads… It strikes against the very nerves of their life and in order to do that, you have to strike against the nerves of your own”.

Listening to Blue is an experience. It’s staring into a mirror that shows you directly what you need to see when you need to see it the most.

A song like My Old Man is a perfect example of this. It’s a track that perfectly insinuates the motion of falling in love and starting a life with a partner but also losing yourself in the process. In a move of absolute genius, she manages to write the whole song without using the word ‘I’. In a song so personal, she literally removes herself from the equation. How many other songs can you think of that don’t have the word ‘I’. By laying herself bare like this in her songwriting, Joni is inviting an incredibly personal link between a listener and this experience.

I have always found myself in this album. I think I always will.

What I have been listening to

  • This track has one of the best opening lines I have ever heard. It draws you into the story whether you want to or not. Nine Months by Annie DiRusso is already one of my favourite songs of the year.
  • If you’ve not listened to Blue before, cancel your plans and do so tonight. You’ll thank me later.
  • For fans of the record, you’ll love this BBC Radio 4 documentary on the making of it hosted by Laura Marling.

What I’m Doing

If you are free tomorrow night (16/7/21) I am back hosting the Open Mic at Cactus Ray’s in Burscough. I’ll be performing a couple of sets alongside some amazing musicians and local artists. Come along if you want to perform, have a drink or just sit and enjoy some live music! Cactus Ray’s at 7 pm!

Thanks for reading. I’ll see you next week!

James Jackson

ps. If you have any questions, comments or just want to say hi, feel free to reply to this email 🙂 

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