Saturday, 31 January 2015

Live in 2015: Amy Wadge & Luke Jackson - at the Pontardawe Arts Centre on Friday 30th January 2015

As Amy stated when she came onto the stage - it's a generation thing. 

Amy Wadge, the singer /songwriter is about to hit the big 40. While Luke Jackson has just about reached his 20s.
They've got together to perform for this short tour and it beautifully highlights the strengths and depths of talent of these two remarkable songwriters.

Up first is Amy, with a set highlighting various songs from her career. Now concentrating on songwriting rather than full scale touring, Amy shows no sign of complacency and clearly enjoys her time back here playing in Wales, which she mentioned several times to great applause.

As Amy stated earlier in the set, she now concentrates on songwriting and has collaborated with many artists - and one with spectacular results.

Amy then explained about her connection with a young Suffolk lad who was sent to see her to write some songs back in 2010. This resulted in an EP called, Songs I Wrote With Amy - the lad in question, Ed Sheeran.

Great things are often unforseen, so it transpired that Ed had contacted Amy about writing another song - his album X had been written and following his writing session with Amy he decided to add this new song to the album. It turned out to be Thinking Out Loud.
And on the day of this gig it is currently at number 2 in the USA Billboard charts.
This tour will also have a break next week - while Amy attends The Grammys.

Amy then gave us her interpretation of the song - which I have to say was even better than Ed's version. Sorry Ed.

Swtiching from acoustic guitar to piano, Amy gives us touching songs such as Scream and Rainbow.

Amy asked Luke on stage to join her on the song Dance With Me - which she performs as part of her duo with Pete Riley

I've been waiting to see Luke ever since he released his first album, More Than Boys back in 2012. This debut release showed a remarkable maturity in both songwriting and performance and his follow up, Fumes & Faith in 2014 showed a stratospheric growth in this young man's talent - and found it's way easily into my albums of 2014.

As Luke took to the stage and opened the set with Father's Footsteps from Fumes & Faith you could feel the surprise of the audience as that glorious voice was released as clear as a bell.

Luke has an incredible voice that you would not associate with such a fresh faced young man. I knew he sounded astonishing on record but could he pull it off live? You bet your life he could.

This was further revealed as he did an acapella version of Sam Cooke's A Change Is Gonna Come.
In my album review I stated that Luke sounds as if he should have come from the Southern States of the USA - the land of the Delta Blues - not from Canterbury, England.

With a set that is very much based on the Fumes & Faith album, next to be showcased was the delicious Father & Son. How a young man can sound so world weary and experienced at such a young age still astounds me - even more so live.

Recently, Luke has teamed up with Connor Downs & Andy Sharp on Bass & Drums to form the Luke Jackson Trio - their first release is the song Misspent Youth and Luke gave us his interpretation of his new song. And it is excellent folks and bodes well for the new EP. 
It was nice to see Luke break into a new direction, like his equally talented contemporary Blair Dunlop, and I hope to see this develop as a long term side project.

It is sobering to think that I will probably be stardust in the sky by the time Luke gets into his stride in his 40s & 50s - but it's good to know that his talent will have the opportunity to grow.

With songs such as Out Of Time, Answers Have Gone and Ghost At The Crossroads, Luke shows just what exceptional skills he has as a songwriter and guitarist, as well as a captivating performer.

Luke completed his set with a blistering version of Sister which was spell binding.

The whole set just flew by. If the audience had nor realised before, they certainly knew now that they had witnessed a truly exceptional talent - and I think they did, as Luke was doing brisk business on the merch stand after the show.

As one extra special surprise - Amy & Luke came back for a very special first time performance of a medley which started out as a beautiful performance of Ain't No Sunshine and morphed into Seventeen and All Along The Watchtower. Just Brilliant.

If you get a chance to see either Amy or Luke live then you should get your tickets ASAP. You wouldn't want to miss them - trust me.

Twitter - @wadge

Twitter - @lukepauljackson

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