Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10
Into every life the chance to use every muscle at your disposal and take on a wild animal must be taken. Sometimes you really have to ride the biggest horse you can and make it sweat, whether it is an unwanted and unwarranted situation, the pressure of living up to someone’s high expectations or simply having the utmost courage to take on a disease or school yard bully; sometimes you really do have to ride that horse to look back with pride and honour.
For John Jenkins, a man who seems to have the absolute determination to live life to the musical hilt, the horse has arguably been tamed but that doesn’t stop him from producing and writing songs that take a different approach to saddling the bucking bronco and the white foamed mare. In his latest single, Rodeo Girl, all that expertise, all that drama and voice comes out in an altered way and it is one that catches the ear in an unexpected and gracious manner.
Working as always with Jon Lawton, Rodeo Girl is playful but serious, acute but heightened with sensitivity and the growl of old comforts that associate themselves with great local radio playing a terrific song, the wilds of the prairie and the honesty that the cowboy had in his life; it is a sense of adventure that just sings with mercy and the tells the coyote in the dark to shut up and run for the hills.
The voice, Johnny Cash like, fulsome, hot bloodied but as delicately smooth as a pint of milk being drunk in the first rays of glowing sun that bleaches the sand and turns the cactus silvery brown, is a new aspect to the music of John Jenkins and it is one that works particularly well in this song. Smoother than a well placed razor over a day’s stubble, John Jenkins makes the Rodeo Girl giggle and swoon at the romance in his voice.
A terrifically balanced single, one that may seem different to start with but once you start to go round the rodeo, you know you have enjoyed the ride on the horse before; it is a ride that is unforgettable.
Ian D. Hall