The most criminally overlooked talent in popular music delivers a new album full of surprises, even to a seasoned fan, making Lovers At The Gun Club a strong contender for Jackie's best album yet. The title track, drawled by soulmate Johnny Dowd, presents a swaggering man out for kicks before showing him to be violent, screwed up and alienated from family and a past lover. Fareham Confidential is brilliantly observed from the most mundane details of a trip to his local burger truck. Images such as The Innocent Railway's woman remembered in a blue icy halo light up the listener's imagination from start to finish. Even the odd practice of including a song by another artist (the excellent David Childers' appropriate Heart In My Soul) fits here - it's also used as an imagined song from a radio in his late dad's car in a scrapyard run by Johnny Dowd and used as a confessional box.
It's really frustrating that after more than 30 years making music, Jackie still remains a cult without, for example, one appearance on British TV (Jools Holland et al, please rectify!). With folk making a comeback, Jackie's name seems never dropped. But if you're new to this wonderful voice, make Lovers At The Gun Club a teriffic starting point to get to know one of the few genuinely poetic and soulful performers in popular music. You won't regret it.