Image Courtesy of Jess Locke
If you’re a live music junkie then you’ll know that you often pay the price for your obsession. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve turned up to a tiny bar somewhere to catch a gig from an up and coming singer-songwriter or acoustic band only to find they should have stuck to playing Bob Dylan covers in their lounge room and not unleash themselves on the general public. But what makes it worth while is every now and then you stumble across someone who just blows your mind and makes you thank your lucky stars you’ve managed to catch them before they start playing stadium venues and demanding gold plated puppies.
A couple of months ago I attended the regular Sydney folk night Shut The Folk Up! without really any idea about the artists that were playing. Cj, who runs the night, does his best each month to combine old-time folk greats with up and comers presenting one of the most diverse and interesting folk nights around. So it probably shouldn’t be any surprise that it was here I became transfixed with the wonderful Jess Locke.
My first thoughts upon hearing hearing Jess Locke perform was “wow, she’s like an Aussie Laura Marling“. The tone of her voice and the depth of her lyrics are both reminiscent of Marling’s style but to assume Locke is a mere imitator would not do her justice. Jess Locke is definitely an amazing artist in her own right. Her shy stage presence is offset by her confidence as a singer and the way she loses herself in her words. Her lyrics show a depth and maturity that take the listener on a journey into Locke’s consciousness and beyond. This is not idle pop-music – this is music that requires attention, that makes you think.
Late last year Jess Locke released a split album with fellow musician N. Martin through independent label Less Talk Records called The (temperamental) Locket that includes four originals each plus one cover of each others songs. The album can be purchased via the Less Talk Records Bandcamp, with options to order the CD or cassette versions for those not as technologically inclined. Locke seems to play regularly around Sydney with her Myspace seemingly the best place to keep up to date with her comings and goings – but seriously do yourself a favour and track her down.
Country of Origin: Australia (Sydney)
File Under: Nu-folk
Sounds Like: The Australian Laura Marling