Since finishing with a degree in Performance Arts from Middlesex University in the last summer of the 1980's Jake has travelled many musical paths. Here he is with his banjo standing on Hackney Marshes ( pic Andrew Stevenson) sometime before an Olympic park was ever built thinking one day banjo's will be mainstream in popular music again, so if someone needs to be pioneer why not me...?
Key to Jake's musical journey is his banjo, something simultaneously vintage, american & european, hill billy, jazzy & theatrical. Amusing but tender perhaps even dangerous. Listed below are a selection of projects, whimsy and originality. Enjoy.
Jake has experimented and worked as a songwriter since his school days on the Isle of Wight. Working primarily with various home studio set ups Jake has recorded a great deal of songs & instrumentals in an array of styles.
This selection on Soundcloud are mainly from a 5 year period developing his songwriting after 2 years on the road with 80's pop legend Midge Ure. The recorded song is always a challenge to represent live especially as Jake performs solo much of the time. To this end he developed a showcase called Major Chicken which mixed backing tracks with live multi instrumental playing and theatrical props. A modest gig in a pub to 2-3 hours to pre set and just as long to deconstruct, but elements of Jake's Major Chicken show still linger in his present day live performances.
There are more MP3's of Jake's music on this page at a slightly lower sound quality. So scroll down and enjoy.
Jake has worked several times in
collaboration with artist Nik Ramage who creates fantastical & totally useless
inventions & contraptions . Here is a short film by John Coombes about one of Nik's
exhibition at Haddon Hall. Nik approached Jake if he could create a soundtrack for the film. It was a delight to do & a little more baroque for a change!
In 2010 Jake completed an MA in Music & Culture and found himself curiously compelled to Bob Dylan ( well why not he's pretty much the singular pre eminent songwriter of the 20th century ! ).
Everyone has theories on Bob from straight forward to outlandish ( see video link of this video being cited that he sold his soul like Robert Johnson to the devil !! ). Jake's forage into Dylanology concerns Bob's own remarks in his book Chronicles volume 1 on how he was affected by Bertolt Brecht in his formative years
As a songwriter and a performer who spend much of his time performing and studying Brecht at college and much of his life subsequently listening to Lotte Lenya Jake obviously started making connections between Bob and Bertolt. This thesis focuses on Bob's iconic harmonica style and ponders whether it is in reality an unconscious subsumation of Brecht's Epic theatrical techniques. Go on read it, I dare you, it might change everything !