One of the UK’s finest singer-songwriters is long-time friend of AUK Jason McNiff. His songcraft is masterful and ‘Try for the Sky’, taken from his 2021 album ‘Dust of Yesterday’, is a great example of his work. Watching his fingers on the strings and frets is mesmerising as he opens with beautifully warm acoustic guitar. The first minute and a half, just voice and guitar, is quietly captivating but then the percussion kicks in, the strum becomes more forceful and ‘Try for the Sky’ builds and grows, rising, indeed, to the sky. The video, filmed this summer at Pett Level, East Sussex, by Mark French, finds McNiff in contrasting locations: wide open spaces and then seated before an abandoned building, delivering his music and smooth vocal seemingly effortlessly.
Jason told AUK about the video and what he’s up to: “I guess what I’d say about it is that I was trying to copy Sierra Ferrell’s video for the great John Anderson song, ‘Years’. We managed to find a bit of the Sussex coast that feels like Texas. The song is one of my faves from my favourite album to date – ‘Dust of Yesterday’, which came out in 2021. I have a new record in the pipeline which I’m very energised about. I’ve been living a very pleasant life the last 5 years down in Hastings, running a weekly Folk/Americana event called the ‘Sundowner’ at the great Jenny Lind pub. Come and see us if you’re ever down this way; it happens every Friday at 5pm and features special guests from all over the world. I’m excited to have a London date for the first time in a while, at Andy Hacket’s (the Rockingbirds) session at the Boogaloo in Highgate on the afternoon of the 24th September.”
McNiff’s most recent album was ‘Tonight We Ride’, a collection of well-chosen covers of songs by the likes of Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt, Leonard Cohen and Tom Russell. His versions of classics are delicate, refreshing songs, brilliantly delivered. Check it out while we wait for McNiff’s next album of original material. Enjoy.