Come back Bert Jansch. Jason misses you.

London based Jason McNiff delivers a homage to Bert Jansch and the “golden era of the coffeehouse troubadour” on ‘Joy and Independence’ his 6th album. It’s a stripped back work; vocals, guitar and a little bit of keyboard interspersed with sparse fiddle here and there.

‘Joy and Independence’ consists of twelve self-penned songs – very much, as McNiff acknowledges in the early Dylan and Woody Guthrie mode. The standout and probably most controversial song is undoubtedly ‘Amanda’. It’s about Amanda Knox; the young American woman charged and convicted in Italy for the killing of another young woman. Its a bold and brave choice of subject matter and reminds one of Dylan’s ‘Hurricane’.

Overall, the material is strong enough if a little dated in style but that’s maybe by intention and not necessarily a bad thing. The guitar playing is top notch and the recording very sensitively done. It does indeed capture the coffeehouse vibe. As Jason himself says:

Sing about something you care about, play a bit of guitar and that’s pretty much it.

‘Joy and Independence’ is available now via At The Helm Records.