Our retro Friday offering this week is from the wonderfully gifted Jason McNiff. ‘Cairo (Stuck in the Past)’ is all about McNiff’s smooth vocal delivery over gorgeous guitar-work. It’s an extended song, almost six minutes, that grows and swells and then gives way to utterly captivating acoustic playing towards the end. It’s a masterclass in both songwriting and performance and deserving of a huge and appreciative audience. The accompanying video, by Bobby Klang, is a psychedelic dream of a visual, in which images of London and of McNiff playing are displayed in a flood of kaleidoscopic colour.
This song was on the 2017 retrospective double-album ‘Rain Dries Your Eyes’, which featured a huge collection of great material taken from earlier albums alongside some previously unreleased songs, including ‘Cairo (Stuck in the Past)’. This fabulous retrospective received an outstanding 9/10 review from Americana UK – explore it here. Like Peter Bruntnell, who featured in last week’s retro Friday video, McNiff is frequently described as one of the UK’s best-kept singer-songwriter secrets. However, there has been a lot of love for him at Americana UK and amongst other critics over the years. Indeed, his second album, ‘Nobody’s Son’, was our album-of-the-year all the way back in 2003. He continues to produce consistently good music with 2021’s ‘Dust of Yesterday’ and the brand new ‘Tonight We Ride’ being outstanding recent examples. The latter is an album of cover versions, featuring songs from great artists McNiff is often compared to, such as Townes Van Zandt and Bob Dylan. well worth checking out. In the meantime, enjoy this.