By now, it’s likely you will have heard of Jake Bugg following on from his support slots at two of the year’s hottest gigs: namely The Stone Roses’ miniscule secret London show at Village Underground, and a week later, Noel Gallagher’s smallest ever solo performance at Camden’s Dingwalls. Come October, the latter legend will also be taking him on the rest of his 2012 tourdates, in Europe, America and beyond.
But let’s be clear: Jake Bugg is not “well connected”, schmoozing his way into these advantageous situations. How could he be? He’s spent most of his 18 years on this planet thus far in Nottingham, only coming to London following on from record company attention. The only thing doing the schmoozing are Jake’s amazing songs.
As he shrugs: “I think Noel just got the tunes and liked what he heard.”
This is true. And Noel G and The Stone Roses are not the only ones. All across the land he has been working hard, playing songs and garnering new converts wherever he goes. His headline November shows in Manchester and London have both been upgraded due to demand; the release of his debut album has been brought forward – unheard of in this day and age because people want to get their hands on it. Jake is pretty clear about what it is that is connecting with. “I don’t pay too much attention to compliments,” he says, “but the most common thing that people are coming up to me and saying after the gigs is that it’s refreshing. It seems like every time people say guitar music is dead, that’s when it comes back. I think people are hungry for it. And I hope that more people start picking up the guitar instead of wobbling on a synth.”
Age “about 14”, he started picking up his uncle’s acoustic guitar and, having learnt other people’s songs, started experimenting with his own. It didn’t take long for him to start coming up with worthwhile stuff. In fact, one of the best songs on his debut album, ‘Someplace’ dates back to this time. A beautiful melancholic ballad, it exhibits the undeniable, natural gift for melody that characterises all of Jake’s songs. He was in “a couple of bands”, but it quickly became apparent to him and those around him that this was to be a solo thing. “I always wanted to do things on my own, really,” he says, “and because it took off kind of quick, that’s how it ended up, thankfully.”