BY: STUART TODD - ON:
Despite the challenges of lockdown, John Jenkins has been productive with the release of last year’s album Growing Old – Songs From My Front Porch, which garnered excellent reviews. John has also continued to host The Garden Party for Vintage Radio.
Recorded with long-time collaborator Jon Lawton at Crosstown Studios, Desert Hearts is the brand new single release by the prolific Wirral singer-songwriter. Picking up where previous single Jackson’s Farm left off, Jenkins crafts a near seven-minute epic that’s been over a year in the making.
As with any John Jenkins release, the production is stellar with a committed performance that takes us on a wistful journey. The key line “Desert hearts in the wilderness, motions blowing in the wind” is apt in these uncertain times. The mellow vibe at the beginning builds to a triumphant call to arms.
This reflective piece on mortality considers that life is to be lived on its own terms; “Feel like I’ve lived more than one lifetime.”
Desert Hearts by John Jenkins is the first release on Fretsore Records and is a solid debut for the London based label.
Review © 2021 Stuart Todd, Liverpool Acoustic
Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10
The heart at times may be as barren and seemingly lifeless as the Mojave, but the mind is forever on the verge of flourishing, of adapting, changing its opinion and the way it observes the world; it is what makes a change of mind and vision so exhilarating to witness, and which kick starts the heart into its own adaption, but never losing the fascination that comes with the sultry and emotionally passionate flowering of all the Marigolds and Sunflowers as visions of the Desert Hearts.
The sweeping sense of beauty that greets the unknown explorer who believes that nothing can grow or thrive in such a scene, are always surprised when the colour and occasion greets them. It is the same for the mind when it is introduced to a firm favourite changing the way they appear, not drastically, not with harsh radicalism, but with an even greater portrayal of significance adding depth to the pleasure that is associated with them.
In accepting the change in the way that the musical landscape must alter for an artist to grow, for the bloom first seen to add shimmer and landscape is to know that has been inspected closely and given a breath of fresh perspective in which beauty lays undisturbed. It is the same for the artist, and in this case the extraordinary music of John Jenkins.
For one of the most prolific songwriters in Merseyside, the view of change comes in the form of Desert Hearts, an influence painted on delicately as it plays with the themes of solitude, tempestuous feeling and reflection. It is not just intense, but creatively ingenious, courageous and daring, for the artist who understands that they must be flexible, is the one who produces the most demanding and exhilarating of plots in which to urge new growth.
It is the musical lover in him that sees Joh Jenkins new, but understandably content, direction for this particular single, one in which to wish the artist his just reward, his repayment for taking the incentive on. A handsome piece of music, epic, pleasing, a song of sensitivity and difference.
Ian D. Hall
Jackson’s Farm is the first single to be released from John Jenkins’ forthcoming album Growing Old (Songs From My Front Porch)
As the rain pours an acoustic guitar brings in the song which has a gentle and nostalgic feel. The vocals are soft, slow and measured, allowing the instruments to fill the pauses between words.
The string arrangement by Amy Chalmers is simply stunning, and it adds something special to the feel of the song
The whole song is simple – in a good way. Primarily guitar, John’s voice and the soaring strings
This whole style suits the story in the song. Our storyteller is looking back on a love, on a life, remembering how it was with memories all around him on Jackson’s Farm
Stood by the window, I'm watching the rainfall and feeling nostalgic. Get out the old photos The rain represents my tears; the rain is hard, life can be too.
Jackson's Farm, the new single from John Jenkins is available to download and stream now on all digital platforms