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The Jill Jackson Trio
A good few members of the audience tonight travelled a good way to see the Glasgow-based Country singer and songwriter Jill Jackson and her trio. Setting out from locations as far and wide as Liverpool, Milton Keynes, London and Scotland, the visitors would be the first to say that their respective travels had been far from a waste of time. Making a welcome return to the club, this time accompanied by fellow Chaplins keyboard player Johnny McKinnon, together with Andy Sharkey on upright bass, the charismatic singer soon had an engaging rapport going with the visitors and the regulars alike.
These days the Ukrainian Centre, home of the Roots Music Club, is creating the same sort of atmosphere once enjoyed by the club's predecessor over there in Wentworth. Amply equipped with a collection of well-crafted self-penned songs, such as I'll Never Know, The Letter and The Rambler, Jill's delivery is reminiscent of Canadian country singer Michelle Wright, an artist most of us in the UK came to know through her appearances in the very first series of the Transatlantic Sessions back in the mid-1990s.
Jill's songs are certainly strong enough to furnish two sets with little difficulty whatsoever, certainly Saving All My Love and the rockabilly treatment of Crazy in Love to name just a couple, but Jill's take on the Goffin/King classic Will You Love Me Tomorrow was a welcome addition to the set.
If Jill's songs are of a high quality, then her between song banter is also to be enjoyed, simply for it's off-the-cuff nature. Who else would immediately admit to having a button missing from the shirt she'd just bought on Ebay? Then there was the male audience member who casually suggested "37" when asked to guess the singer's age after the clue "less than 38 and older than 31" was offered. "But I was right" said the brave man, "Yes, but don't you know the rules?" came the singer's response. The 'on the road' tales of travelling musicians, such as sleeping in sleazy hotels and waking up covered in ants, driving around Glasgow with a cat around her neck and her unfortunate debut appearance on Top of the Pops with her band The Chaplins, were also a hoot.
After two sets there was a sense that we had all been engaged in something quite intimate and cozy, an evening of getting to know one another, which in itself was rather rewarding. After the jaunty finisher Give Me the World, the trio returned to the stage for the final encore, for which the audience provided some feelgood 'woos'. A good way to conclude.
Opening for the trio was the Doncaster-based quartet Americarnage, which consisted of singer/guitar player Stu Palmer, guitarist and band spokesman Mick Swinson, harmonica player John McKevitt and Mick Jackson on bass, who opened with a selection of songs from the great alternative American songbook, including Lay Me Down a Pallet on the Floor, St James Infirmary Blues and Wayfaring Stranger.
Allan Wilkinson (Words)
Stephen Connor (Photos)