John Jenkins “Tuebrook”

Independent, 2023

Deeply personal and poetic collection from seasoned Liverpool artist.

The complex relationship between music and poetry is a fascinating one – and Merseyside singer-songwriter Jenkins has here made a more intimate follow-up to his 2021 album ‘If You Can Forgive, You Can’t Love’. This is a gentle, passionate and emotional collection, where his beautiful poetic lyrics manage to paint some stunning aural pictures, inspired by his fascinating life.OK

Tuebrook is a part of Liverpool where Jenkins grows up, but he insists that this isn’t an album about the area – rather one that’s inspired by it. The sparse arrangements really do allow his words to come alive, in a truly distinctive way.

We open with ‘Shadows’ – a stunning start. From just voice and acoustic guitar, it gradually builds with some gorgeous, gentle percussion and atmospheric piano, to create a lovely song that grows on you effortlessly.  ‘Christopher Roberts’ opens with a fascinating bit of audio of Jenkins as a child being asked about his schooling – it’s about a school friend he had, who he lost contact with. It’s another powerful, deeply personal song, with affecting piano accompaniment and backing vocals.

The wistful tone continues on ‘Maybe I Just Came Along For The Ride‘ – another fantastic tune, which ends abruptly, but so effectively. The album features a number of local musicians including Pippa Murdie (who tours with Jenkins), Chris Howard and Jon Lawton, who also produces. Murdie is particularly good on the background vocals to ‘Idaho’ – with its tragic story – and on ‘Passing Time’. There’s a sound reminiscent of Dave Alvin’s recent acoustic recordings here – with his love of poetry and powerful lyrics – and Jenkins has a similar vocal style on occasion. If you did want to pick a minor quibble, it’s that there isn’t much variety here – but with the quality of the songwriting and performing so high, it’s not really a problem.

This masterful collection highlights why Jenkins is fast becoming one of Liverpool’s most respected singer-songwriters.


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David Nixon

Good and accurate review or at least it’s how I’d describe the album. John’s love of American place names meant he couldn’t resist incongruously putting Idaho on the album which is a good 4,500 miles away but as he says it’s inspired by, not about Tuebrook! Overall a coherent gentle nostalgic reflective album with some lovely old audio footage and great songs that let the lyrics come through. My current favourite is probably ‘A child’s sense of wonder’ with its Take 5 feel. John’s best album to date I think!