Troubadour of choice Jason McNiff adds a ninth album to his bulging repertoire

The Hastings based singer songwriter and guitarist Jason McNiff has announced the release of his 9th LP, “Everything’s a Song”, on June 7th. The album was produced and recorded by Matt Armstrong (bass and drums) in his basement studio on King’s Road, St Leonard’s-on-Sea during the late summer and autumn of 2023. It features 9 brand new songs, plus an English translation of Italian partisan anthem, ‘Bella Ciao’. The pair settled into a way of working that would invariably involve an 8am start, some strong coffee, then working up a ‘nice feel’ to the music before thinking about recording.

‘I love playing with Matt. He has a fabulous sensibility and we click in a way that I have experienced only once or twice before in my life. To make this album,  we would rehearse up a song and once it felt ready, we would press record. It really is my favourite way of recording.’ states Jason ‘There’s s no hiding behind any studio trickery and if you can get it right, you really get the sound you love – the sound of the old blues and Jazz records that feel so vibrant’ says the troubadour, ‘”Everything’s a Song” really is my manifesto. I don’t believe there is a such a thing as a mundane experience. I believe everything can be turned into Art, into a song. The title track began life in a country pub in Goudhurst, Kent. Every week they’d close the road from London to Hastings, sending you on a detour of the English countryside. I took to stopping in the quaint village for an ale or two. The pub was next to cemetery which was next to a forest. The sun would be sinking, and each week it would set a bit later. There’d be a moon. Parochial conversation from the bar. Barmaid arranging flowers, with a bored look. Or is it bored? Maybe it’s something else. Either way, there seemed to be magic everywhere, in every direction, with every sound, sight and scent.’

Jason McNiff was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, in the mid Seventies. He was drawn to the guitar from an early age and by the time he moved to London in 1995, he was set on becoming a professional musician. Copying the guitar style of Mark Knopfler, he crawled the capital’s dying blues circuit, jamming, and learning from older players, eventually landing at the Easycome Acoustic Club in Nunhead. This Wednesday night folk club was, and still is, run by Andy Allan, aka Hank Dog (of Hanks Dogs and Sex Pistols fame) and it was Andy who produced Jason’s early records, “Off the Rails” (2000) and “Nobody’s Son” (2003) – the latter voted Americana UK’s album of the year. Around this time he met and opened many times for Bert Jansch who remains an important influence. He moved to Hastings in 2019, setting up the ‘Sundowner’ – an early evening show featuring music from Jason, plus a special guest. For 5 years, he hasn’t missed a show, bringing artists from all over the UK, Europe and the US to his local pub, the Jenny Lind. He also curates the’ Coffee House Sessions’, another weekly event which aims to recreate the vibe of Soho clubs from the 60s such as Bungies and Les Cousins.

“Everything’s a Song” Tracklisting:

1. Song of Everything (4.45)
2. Run Away With The Circus (3.54)
3. These Dreams Of You (4.30)
4. My Mississippi (4.29)
5. Bella Ciao (3.17)
6. Chef Song (4.46)
7. Wedding Dance (3.19)
8. True Love, Freedom (3.52)
9. No Good For You (3.14)
10. Everything’s A Song (3.58)

About Keith Hargreaves 378 Articles
Riding the one eyed horse into dead town the scales fell from his eyes. Music was the only true god at once profane and divine The dust blew through his mind as he considered the offering... And then he scored it out of ten and waited for the world to wake up
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