John Jenkins, Growing Old… Songs From My Front Porch. Album Review.
Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
It will be argued that in uncertain times we are never more acutely aware of the passing of the hours and days as we find ourselves fighting against the clock, against nature and the system which has somehow fostered the lie that we must be constantly be on the move, not just be productive, but to somehow have a schedule which is thirty hours a day long and ten days a week in breadth. It is the insanity of speculation which stops many of from dreaming about a future of reflection, looking back and understanding that growing old gives you the opportunity to tell all your stories in comfort and with a view.
In uncertain times we sing songs of soothing contemplation, the Muse that we have long chased after with little desire on its part to reciprocate the feelings placed at its heart and mind, no longer matters, for we have the sober melancholy, the deliberate pause in which to take stock and find that in the end we lived an extraordinary life, and when the clock ticks forward again, we have the fire burning ready to add to the stories, the tales, that have made our life complete.
It depends on how we look at our time, how many parts we have played, as Shakespeare observed, to feel how good our individual songs are. For John Jenkins, his latest album, Growing Old… Songs From My Front Porch, is something else instead, not just a reflection of time, but a dedication to continue, to forge forward with integrity and enjoyment. We may all grow old, but how we do it, from where we rest and make plans for more tales, that is the point, we can relate an old sad story inside a room with no window, or we can make the most of the open air and sing the songs of lament, of beauty and of time.
To bring others into the chorus of this Merseyside rumination proves that we need others around us to bring out the best of those memories, and as always John Jenkins surrounds himself with the statement of the sublime and the vital, and with Jon Lawton, Amy Chalmers, Siobhan Maher Kennedy, Lee Shone, Phil Chisnell, Andy Connally, John Armstrong, Pippa Murdie, Mike Howarth, Apryl Harrison, Chris Hardman, Chris Jones and David Nixon all combining to make songs such as Daniel White, A Mother’s Devotion, the wonderful Bear Lake County, Jackson’s Farm, I’m Almost Over You and I’m Coming Home stand out with reverence, imagination and deep-rooted introspection and pleasure.
John Jenkins needs no introduction as his music, his time, speaks for himself, and it is time in his company on that front porch which makes this latest album such a terrific listen. Growing Old…Songs From My Front Porch is a set of songs that captures our own feelings on the process of age elegantly and with style.
Ian D. Hall