Jacob Golden

Jacob Golden



In the new musical world order, where digitised tunes can be emailed or downloaded anywhere, any time, intimacy " that precious sense of communion between listener and performer " has become a rarity. But not in the world of Jacob Golden; and never at any point on his beautiful and powerful album, Revenge Songs. Golden is a singer, guitarist and songwriter from California, who makes music suffused with big and complicated emotions in small, friendly spaces.

Most of his tours grow organically, their bespoke itineraries designed in response to audience requests via Myspace and Mog.com. Last year he toured the East Coast of America, playing 'living room shows' in the front rooms of fans to no more than 40 people at a time. "But you make an unbelievable, lifelong connection with those people." This Spring he's coming to get close to his fans in the UK and Ireland. "I enjoy the possibilities of electronics," Golden says. "But the foundation of my musicality, and what enchants me in music generally is atmosphere. A good record is a document of an experience, of people playing and listening in a room."

He seldom bothers with recording studios, preferring, when he's away from home, the natural acoustics of underground car parks and a particular subterranean concrete art gallery. "I love the idea of making modern field recordings." The new album came about partly as a result of personal contacts. There were, basically, two conversations. One with David Kosten of Faultline, who fronted him the necessary cash to tidy up his bedroom demos. The other followed an acoustic performance in an LA hotel room which convinced Jeremy Lascelles of Chrysalis Music publishing " the company which recently brought Ray LaMontagne to our attention " that Golden was another unique talent in need of careful tending.

If he sometimes sounds, in his songs, old beyond his years that's because Golden "was raised on my mother's record collection. She loved all the great vocal groups of the 1960's, particularly Simon and Garfunkel and the Mamas and the Papas." To this sturdy melodic inheritance Golden brings his own resilient sensibility. "I know Revenge sounds like a negative concept but for me it represents the idea of accepting your inner struggle, standing tall in the face of doubt and failure. The driving force of my music is my attempt to rise above my circumstances."

Paradoxically, Golden wrote most of the songs on the album after he moved to Portland to do a regular job. Following spells hustling his wares in LA and London, he had turned his back on the compulsion to make music which has been with him since he started singing at the age of 10. "I was getting hung up on the career thing. The distance and perspective of Portland was an inspiration, and it made me realise that a musician is what I naturally am." Tunes would turn up in his head, unannounced. The lyrics he began to write became more diaristic. "Once I stopped trying to be poetic, everything felt stronger." That message has started to travel. The old 1990's mantra Think Local, Act Global seems already to be pushing bedroom symphonist Jacob Golden to another level. One song from the album, On A Saturday, featured prominently on the last episode of the US drama, The O.C. "I've not seen the show," Golden admits. "But it's been amazing to me how many people noticed the music. I've had calls from all over the world as a result of it."

The simple truth is that, once heard, Golden's music is very, very difficult to ignore or forget. "Revenge Songs is not the kind of album that needs to be rammed down people's throats," he says. "It just needs to be approached quietly and with love." And it will be. A lot.
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