British musician Jake Bugg makes honest music

Eric Casey, Staff Writer

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Jake Bugg is a rare musician.
It was Oct. 15, 2012 when indie folk singer-songwriter Jake Bugg released his debut eponymous album under Mercury Records in the U.K. I had discovered this thanks to a small mention in Rolling Stone magazine. After checking out his music videos, I decided to order the album from England, and it even happened to be autographed.

A week later on Oct.21 his debut went to No. 1 on the U.K. Albums Chart. It shocked everyone in the industry due to a lack of major promotion, and especially since he became the youngest British male to ever debut at number one on the chart at age 18. The shy shaggy-haired kid from Nottingham, England was a star over night.

He is often compared to Donovan, Don McLean, and others. Some even say he is “this generation’s Bob Dylan”. However, Jake admits not listening to much of Dylan’s work growing up, and instead mentions influences such as blues singer Robert Johnson, and the Rolling Stones. You can even hear a little bit of Johhny Cash in some of his more “twangy” tunes such as “Taste It” and “Trouble Town.”

Touring has afforded young Bugg the opportunity to get out of his council estate of “Clifton,” which previous to fame he has never traveled outside of England. Although, he hasn’t dissed his beginnings as referenced in “Two Fingers.” “I go back to Clifton to see my old friends/the best people I could ever have met.”

The first half of the album is really upbeat, but with dark lyrics. In slower songs like “Simple As This,” “Country Song” and “Broken,” you can experience the emotional side of Jake’s previous relationships. “Broken” in particular makes me tear up sometimes. Especially when he yells out, “Down in the valley where the church bells cry, I’ll lead them over to your eyes!”

The album picks up at the end with “Note To Yourself,” “Someplace” (his weakest song), and closes with country-tinged “Fire.” The latter was recorded on an iPhone even though it sounds like a lost vinyl record from the ’50s.

The album, which mostly consists of under three minute tunes, was finally released here on April 9 to much acclaim. It debuted at number 75 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart. He has performed on late night talk shows and even had his song “Lightning Bolt” in a Gatorade ad earlier this year.

Jake Bugg prefers writing all his songs and letting the audience decide if his work is good or not, instead of boasting about it in media forms. He’s just completed a new album with famous producer Rick Rubin which is sure to propel his status to a new height. The handsome young lad who came out of nowhere last year is certainly on the right path to longevity in the music industry. This may be a bold statement, but his album is certainly the best of 2013.

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