Tag Archives: Jake Aaron

‘Gotta Believe’: guitarist / singer-songwriter Jake Aaron rocks out with jazz fusion giant, John Etheridge

Single release date: 16th June 2023

“Simply calling Aaron a guitarist and songwriter is a little like calling Warhol a painter. It misses the mark by miles.” Tim Carroll – FolkWords

“This album really is a proper immersive experience, way beyond good songwriting and performance.” Paul Jackson – Fatea

‘Gotta Believe’ is the latest single from guitarist and singer songwriter, Jake Aaron. Featuring a guest appearance from renowned jazz fusion guitarist, John Etheridge (of Soft Machine, Hawkwind, solo acclaim and many collaborations), it’s one of the harder rocking tracks from Jake Aaron’s newly-released album, Always Seeking . The album was released on digital formats on 17th May 2023 and is also available on CD from 7th June.

Talking about ‘Gotta Believe’ single Jake says: “I’m partial to some heavy rock now and again, so I enjoyed writing this track. In the studio, John Etheridge put aside his boutique Jazz amp which he’d used for a jazzier track on the album, and plugged his guitar into the studio’s Marshall. The solo sounds like molten lava dripping off the fretboard, lovely stuff.  Kate Kurdyak, who also sings “Lupe’s Theme” on the album, is singing backing vocals. Before we recorded it I mentioned to the musicians, who are all very fine Jazz players, that they didn’t have to play this one if they didn’t want. The drummer Marc Parnell replied “jazz players are fine playing rock, it’s rock players who won’t play jazz!”

The album itself, Always Seeking, is a collection of fourteen tracks – a mix of acoustic, rock, blues, saloon piano and a Western cinematic theme. There are some characters along the way – Parnell (‘Parnell’s Last Stand’), a young wolf Lupe (‘Lupe’s Theme’) and an old dog who’s lost his way (‘Leave the Light On’).

Commenting on the album, Jake says: “I’d say it was alt-Americana rather than straight Americana. I grew up listening to bands like The Jam, Ian Dury and The Specials rather than American country – so there are other influences in there”

On the album, Jake is again joined by the excellent team of musicians from his first album, Fag Ash and Beer. These being: Steve Lodder on keyboards, Davide Mantovani on bass, Marc Parnell on drums and Steve Waterman on trumpet. “Some of the best players in the UK,” as the BBC’s Linley Hamilton noted. There are also guest appearances from the phenomenal John Etheridge on lead guitar (‘Gotta Believe’, ‘Four Coaches’ and ‘The Revenant’); and the wonderful Kate Kurdyak of Canadian noir-pop band Vox Rea (‘Lupe’s Theme’ and ‘Gotta Believe’).

The album will be available in a limited-run CD format from 7th June – with artwork by the fantastic Anthony MacBain (Grand Theft Auto).


A British guitarist and songwriter who has “moved among both folk and jazz circles” (‘Cosmic Jazz’ – Feb 2023) Jake’s first EP of acoustic pieces was released in 2015 to positive reviews from folk and indie reviewers. His 2018 single ‘Give Me Your Horse’ was a bigger, jazzier number which had airplay on both folk stations as well as jazz, including the BBC’s Jazz Nights. He released his first album in 2019 Fag Ash and Beer, a collection of songs, longer lyrical offerings and instrumentals which was nominated for Debut Album of The Year by Fatea Magazine. He has released a handful of mainly acoustic singles since then.


ARTIST: Jake Aaron

TITLE: Always Seeking


LABEL: Jake Aaron Records

RELEASE DATE: 17th May 2023 (Digital), 7th June 2023 (CD)

FORMAT Digital: / CD

FILE UNDER: Folk / Blues / Rock /  Jazz


DIRECT FROM: iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify, jakeaaron.com

Lupe – Always Seeking, Jake Aaron

Album streaming link: https://jakeaaron.com/always-seeking

Website: https://www.jakeaaron.com/home

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jakeaaronmusic/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jakeaaronmusic

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/jakeaaronmusic

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6wIrG2gCGDYJ0YImaroH1

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Always Seeking: interview with guitarist and singer songwriter – Jake Aaron

Interview: Darren talks Fag Ash and Beer with guitarist/singer-songwriter Jake Aaron

Always Seeking: interview with guitarist and singer songwriter – Jake Aaron

Always Seeking is the eagerly-anticipated second album from guitarist and singer songwriter, Jake Aaron. It follows his highly-acclaimed 2019 debut, Fag Ash and Beer, which drew many enthusiastic reviews. Always Seeking was released on digital formats on 17th May 2023 and is also available on CD from 7th June. Having interviewed Jake back in 2019 following the release of his debut album, I catch up with him again to find out more about the latest one.

It’s been four years since your debut album Fag Ash & Beer which attracted some extremely favourable reviews. When did you begin working on the follow-up?

Some of the music goes back a long time, a few years in some cases. I had chords without a melody, words without songs, songs without words, but an Americana album of some sort seemed to be taking shape for a while. The actual process of bringing it all together and finishing it off probably spanned two or three years.

Was this a different process to writing the previous album?

It was pretty different, yes. With the first album, only three tracks were recorded live.  I started mainly with solo acoustic pieces and the players coloured some of them in with overdubs. With Always Seeking eight of the tracks were recorded live so it probably has more band energy.

How would you describe Always Seeking as an album?

I loosely imagined a noir Western, and something with a moving landscape, scenes and moods. As far as the theme goes, I suppose like a lot of people, I’m prone to follow mirages and over romanticise the future and the past.

Like its predecessor the album crosses a number of genres and takes in a range of influences. It’s obviously important to you not to be boxed in, musically?

I’ve absorbed a lot of music over the years and like lots of different music so it would be hard to stick with just one sound.  As I’m an independent artist too and not very commercial, I’m pretty free to record what interests me.  It’s not like a major label is locking me up till I’ve written my next hit.

Some genres probably aren’t that far removed from each other anyway especially folk, rock, and blues. John Renbourn and Davy Graham were often crossing over naturally to classical and jazzy sounds. Or, thinking of George Harrison and Robby Basho who played some sitar, into Indian Raga.  Maybe it’s partly due to the instrument –  guitarists can pick up a classical guitar, an electric guitar, sitar or banjo, or use different tunings and sound very different. I mean if I played the bagpipes I’d be a bit more stuck stylistically.

The album features a number of the musicians who played on your first album. Clearly, you enjoyed working with them, first time around?

Totally! Steve Lodder on keyboards again, Davide Mantovani on bass, Marc Parnell drums, Steve Waterman on trumpet and Kenny Jones engineering. They’re fantastic to work with. I think they’re a good choice too because some of my music is off-beat and, as jazzers, they’re completely unphased.

The only track I was unsure about asking them to play, was the rockier track ‘Gotta Believe’ and they were free to opt out of that one if they wanted. Marc’s response was: “Jazz players are fine playing rock, it’s rock players who won’t play jazz!” It’s true, listen to them!

You’ve also got a couple of other guests on the album, John Etheridge on several tracks and Kate Kurdyak on a couple of tracks. How did they get involved?

The character in the album artwork and music turned out to be female so it seemed to call out for a female singer. It took a long time to find the right singer till I remembered a song I really liked in 2021 – ‘Dose Me Up’ by a Canadian band Vox Rea. Kate has a beautiful voice. I had to wait a while till she got back from touring but it was worth it and I’m really glad she got involved in the album.  Vox Rea recently made it onto BBC Radio 2 with their track “Julia”, so very possibly we’ll be hearing more of them.

Lupe – Always Seeking, Jake Aaron

I’ve known John a little for a few years ever since bumping into him on the tube and sharing a tube journey with him. I’d just seen him playing with John Williams at Ronnie Scott’s, and in Nottingham too, so had quite a bit to chat about the music and the shows. It so happens John also plays with Steve and were working together on some jazz versions of The Kinks which I heard when I was working on the album. It had some stunning lead guitar.  Three of the tracks on “Always Seeking” needed some lead guitar and I wasn’t about to follow Steve’s solo in The Revenant  – so one thing led to another and John seemed to like the pieces.  John’s two solos on The Revenant are just brilliant which is partly why the track is so long! I couldn’t find anywhere to fade it. It’s a very joyous listen, very melodic, very unrushed.

The artist Anthony Macbain produced a very striking image for the album cover, full of old-style western film imagery. Did you have a clear idea of what you wanted from the outset?

Anthony’s art is fantastic and adds a whole new dimension to the music. We had some shared musical interests too which probably helped including – you’ll be very pleased to know – Iron Maiden. I sent Anthony a rough, badly drawn sketch of a rider on a ridge looking over clouds, with a guitar and rifle. Anthony took the idea and transformed it. His first sketch was of a female rider looking at the viewer. It was so good I asked him to finish it though we felt the image of the rider in the distance worked better for the album cover. The original image is now in the CD as a fold-out poster and looks terrific. It was a real surprise when I received the first copy.

What next for Jake Aaron?

I’m looking into pressing some vinyl for Always Seeking, depending on the level of interest. The feedback about the artwork and line up is so good it would be good to see it on vinyl – it might be something someone picks up in a second hand shop one day and asks what the hell was that? I had that experience a lot when I used to trawl second hand record shops. I’ve emailed a record shop in London who haven’t got back yet, so if there are any vinyl shops reading give us a shout!

Vinyl seems to be making a huge resurgence. One of my tracks was picked up by a vinyl “mixtape” club in the US, Vinyl Moon, who produce really beautiful vinyl each month with original music and artwork that piqued my interest too.  Jared Sylvia designed the volume that my track’s on.

Musically I’ve got quite a lot of stuff simmering in the pot, some lyrics, chords, a few melodies, song titles. So I guess there could be a single or two, an EP and another album at some point. I’m more interested than I used to be in reworking earlier tracks these days. Sometimes you can only take a track so far at the time and then run out of time, skill or imagination and then a few years later pick it up again – you might have evolved a bit musically and can do more with it.

I did think the other day if I write more material I can do a Best Of some day which would be a great thing – it would immediately improve the overall standard of the album with a massive edit!

#jakeaaron #folkguitar #folkfusion #stevelodder #johnetheridge #stevewaterman #davidemantovani #marcparnell #katekurdyak  #vinylmoon #anthonymacbain #johnrenbourn #davygraham #robbybasho #georgeharrison #indianraga  #fusionguitar #ironmaiden

Album streaming link: https://jakeaaron.com/always-seeking

Website: https://www.jakeaaron.com/home

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jakeaaronmusic/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/jakeaaronmusic

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6wIrG2gCGDYJ0YImaroH1g

Related post:

Interview: Darren talks Fag Ash and Beer with guitarist/singer-songwriter Jake Aaron

Interview: Darren talks Fag Ash and Beer with guitarist/singer-songwriter Jake Aaron

Guitarist and singer-songwriter Jake Aaron released his debut EP in 2016 to plaudits from folk and indie reviewers. His debut album Fag Ash and Beer was released in September 2019, again to favourable reviews. I caught up up with him recently to discuss the album, some of the musicians he’s worked with, his choice of cover artwork and his teenage love for Iron Maiden.

You have managed to pull together a great line-up of musicians for your debut album? How did they get involved?

I was very lucky! My first songs in 2015 were just on acoustic guitar, but I had an idea last year for a jazzy piece “Give Me Your Horse” which needed a great Hammond player and trumpeter. I made some inquires in the jazz world and the names that came back were Steve Lodder for Hammond and Steve Waterman for trumpet. I contacted them and they both seemed to like the piece – maybe it was the time signature – and luckily they both agreed. I found the bassist Davide Mantovani and drummer Marc Parnell through Steve L. When I was recording the album this year, I felt some tracks needed building up so I asked the musicians if they’d come back in. They’re brilliant players. A couple of the tracks on the album are live takes, “Elvis Has Left The Building” and “New Mexico”, and you can hear how good they are.

Have you been taken aback by the positive response to the album or did you always know you had something special on your hands as soon as you began putting it together?

I’m not sure the album has mainstream appeal, but it does seem to have found a niche in certain music circles which is nice. It’s had some play on BBC Jazz Nights as well as Genevieve Tudor’s Folk Show. My biggest uncertainty was how the album would all hang together as it’s quite a mix of ideas. I just hoped it would somehow. I’ve had a small audience since my EP who seem to like what I’m doing, and it was good they stuck with me, too.

And given the response how come you waited so long to make your first album?

It’s quite a task writing a whole album, and partly it just took a long time to finish the pieces once I’d started. I wrote some of the pieces quickly, whilst others were like watching paint dry, waiting for missing bits of music or words. A couple of the tracks were quite fiddly.

In terms of the album title it absolutely does what it says on the tin – but do talk us through that album cover!

I was working on a very different cover but didn’t feel it was working and was pretty fed up with the whole thing. An old friend then texted me a picture of us playing guitar in his folks’ kitchen when we were about sixteen, smoking and drinking and I thought that’ll do. It tied in with the track “Fag Ash and Beer” and the acoustic aspect of the music. On reflection it possibly wasn’t my greatest idea of all time, and I don’t think it helped promote the music at all. I’m not sure it’s up there with Physical Graffiti. Then again it had personal resonance for me.


Heavy metal clearly had a big impact on you when you were a teenager. That was what got me hooked on music, too, and I still love it alongside the more acoustic stuff. Are you still a fan?

I don’t put Run to the Hills on any more, but I still remember why I liked it. Maybe it’s a guitar thing and if I didn’t play guitar I possibly wouldn’t have got as much out of it as I did. Some of the guitarists are technical wizards. Eddie Van Halen was just mind boggling. Heavy metal aside I’ve always liked different styles of music, and I like a lot more styles than I dislike. A solitary bagpipe, African drums, a hillbilly picking a banjo … they can all do it for me as long as it’s got a groove.

Name some of the artists that have particularly influenced you as a singer-songwriter.

There are lots of artists I love, but I am not sure which ones influenced me the most. Some of them are pretty inimitable. I also think it’s easier and more enjoyable trying to to play in your own way. I probably got bits and pieces from all over though, from every song and riff I learnt to play. You can’t play the intro to Hey Joe a thousand times and not be influenced a bit.

You have Guy Pratt contributing on one track on the album. How did that come about, and did he share any Pink Floyd tales with you?

No tales of Floyd, though I do know some of Guy’s great tales from my “My Bass and Other Animals”. I’ve known Guy for a long time through one of my best friends. I had an interesting cover for “Give Me Your Horse” of Pancho Villa and his gang holding instruments instead of rifles. The bass player looked particularly cool, like he was some legendary bassist, so Guy came to mind. I emailed him the piece, he liked it and quite remarkably he agreed. A massive honour.

What’s your favourite track on the album and tell us how it came about?

I’ve got a few but I think the instrumental “Elvis Has Left The Building” has a good vibe. It was originally an acoustic song but the band sounded so good I left it as is, like we were Elvis’s warm up band. After we recorded it, I was downstairs in the studio making a coffee and Kenny Jones, the engineer, and the others were playing it back upstairs. We had a busy schedule and when I heard it I thought “Why are they listening to that funk track on the radio? We should be getting on with my stuff!” I liked “New Mexico”, too. I was downstairs again when it was played back and Marc’s beat came pounding through the ceiling – it sounded like approaching Apaches. I was quite pleased lyrically with “Jonah Part 1”, too. It took a while to get it into a shape where it sounded colloquial without being too flip, and I could tell the story in a way I found engaging.

Give Me Your Horse Cover

The single cover art for 'Give Me Your Horse'

And, finally, given the positive reaction to this have you got plans for a follow-up?

I think I’d keep plodding on regardless of the reaction, but it’s good that some people like the music too. I’ll possibly release singles or an EP next if another album is too daunting. I’m quite interested in music for film. A couple of reviewers thought the music was quite cinematic and would fit a Tarantino movie. Clearly if Quentin wants to use a piece that would not be a problem!

Fag Ash and Beer was independently released on 6th September 2019