Soul-filled songs laced with traces of pain, sorrow, and promise are the heartbeat of bluesy-folk artist Wolfe Jackson. With a sound that is new, yet somehow familiar, the U.K. born musician arouses feelings of nostalgia and hope rooted in his soft, sweet vocals and slow, sultry guitar plucks. Sometimes accompanied by an R&B rich back-up ensemble or a 9-piece blues band, Wolfe Jackson knows how to first draw you in and then tug on your heart strings. Meet Wolfe Jackson.
MajorHiFi Music Monday: Wolfe Jackson
As a child, Jackson loved singing along to the radio. Never having money for tuition or lessons, Jackson taught himself piano and guitar instead. “It just came naturally and I realized I couldn’t really imagine dedicating my life to anything but music,” he tells MajorHiFi before adding, “I’m a bit of an old soul and spent a lot of my childhood listening to old blues records by the likes of Muddy Waters & John Lee Hooker along with artists like The Beatles and The Beach Boys; I’ve always just been drawn to very raw, live-sounding records that are anchored with traditional story-telling narratives.”
In 2014, the now 28-year old moved from the United Kingdom to the Big Apple. After spending three years writing, recording and performing in New York City, he then launched a campaign in which his loyal fans funded his debut album and a tour across the United States where he performed at venues in New York, Philadelphia, Nashville, New Orleans, Austin, and Las Vegas before closing it out in Los Angeles where he know resides.
Wolfe Jackson stopped to chat with MajorHiFi about his new single “Photographs” and upcoming projects.
MH: What headphones do you use when recording? Traveling?
Wolfe Jackson: In the studio, I mostly use Sennheiser HD 280 Pros for tracking guitars and other live instruments. I’ll use them for long flights and traveling too. I did pick up some dope wireless earphones by Skullcandy recently for gym workouts. The sounds not bad at all and they’re sweat-proof which comes in pretty handy.
MH: When did you know you wanted to pursue music as a career?
Wolfe Jackson: As a kid I just loved singing along to the radio and movies and messing around on the piano we had in the house growing up. I never really had a great deal of tuition or lessons. I think it just came naturally and I realized I couldn’t really imagine dedicating my life to anything but music.
MH: Tell me about your latest single “Photographs,” where does the idea for this song stem from?
Wolfe Jackson: I wrote “Photographs” a couple years ago at the end of a pretty toxic relationship. I think the strongest theme is this idea that despite things not working out and realizing that a relationship wasn’t right for you, you can still treasure and cherish that person and every memory with them as it will ultimately be an everlasting part of your history. The lyric “Collect every image and memory and keep them in a box like photographs.” spoke to me that idea that even if a moment in your life has come to an end, the memories will last forever.
MH: You’ve got an interesting sound, what inspires it?
Wolfe Jackson: I’m a bit of an old soul and spent a lot of my childhood listening to old blues records by the likes of Muddy Waters & John Lee Hooker along with artists like The Beatles and The Beach Boys; I think I’ve always just been drawn to very raw, live-sounding records that are anchored with traditional story-telling narratives. I think anything that I find difficult to deal with or to talk about in real life, I deal with and convey through my music. I think keeping it real is everything when it comes to music.
MH: Are there any artists in particular that influence or inspire you now?
Wolfe Jackson: I listen to a lot of songwriters from McCartney & Lennon to Jeff Buckley & Chris Stapleton. For me, the ability to share stories and experiences that people can relate to and literally feel through your music is a songwriter’s ultimate goal. Musically I’ll always be inspired by those artists who don’t fit the mold and make sounds that are as raw and real as it gets everything from the Chili Peppers & Hendrix to Funkadelic & Kendrick Lamar.
MH: That being said, how do you describe your sound?
Wolfe Jackson: For my debut EP “Nobody Knows Me (Better Than You)” which is the record coming out in May, I wanted to capture as real and raw a performance as possible. Everything was recorded live and most of the record is acoustic instruments, so as a result, you get this real traditional singer/songwriter, folk record that captures this real vulnerability and honesty. Lately I’ve been writing some pretty blues/alt-rock influenced stuff. This past summer I listened to a lot of Hendrix, Cream and Black Keys and I think that’s coming through in the music I’m recording right now. I think vocally whatever project I’m working on there’s always a deep sense of soul that’s a constant thread through all my music.
MH: What is your career trajectory and what else is in the works for you?
Wolfe Jackson: My next single “Comfort Love” is out on March 30th so I’m currently doing all the press and publicity for that. I just released my first single of 2018 “Photographs” and my debut EP “Nobody Knows Me (Better Than You)” is available this May. I’m also writing and recording a lot of new material in the studio right now and I’m also planning a big record-release show in Los Angeles for May. I think once the EP comes out in May, I’d like to spend the summer touring. I did a tour across the U.S. last summer which was awesome, it really fuels the fire as far as inspiration and experiences go. I’m planning on making another record later this year too which will be more of a grungier blues/alt-rock album.
Follow what Wolfe Jackson is up to at iamWolfeMusic.com.