No matter how much you enjoy your job, it’s natural to think about how to reconfigure the work. Even someone who’s, let’s say, a professional beer taster, might eventually let their daydreams wander to getting paid to drink other beverages, perhaps wines or milkshakes or even just sodas. At the same time, if you find yourself thinking about doing something completely different, maybe not even taste-testing something drinkable, then it might be time to get out of the game. So it’s encouraging news that Lynne Jackaman, former singer for rock band Saint Jude, didn’t stray too far from her straight-ahead rock roots on One Shot, her solo debut, but instead takes some fun-but-minor detours into more soul-oriented tracks.
The soul influences are almost unavoidable as Jackaman recorded the album at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the sight of so many legendary recording sessions, from Aretha Franklin to Wilson Pickett to John Prine. One almost wonders if Jackaman added the album’s many horns, or if they were mystically etched onto the recording through time. I suspect the former, but I’m still rooting for the latter. The horns are an integral part of the album’s distinctive sound, and while they don’t appear on every track, when they do pop in, they provide a strong contrast to Jackaman’s powerful voice, which feels like it might shake apart the songs due to its intensity. Jackaman comes in hot on every tune but the horns challenge her voice, giving those tracks some interesting textures.
“I’ll Allow You,” uses a funky guitar riff fleshed out with what sounds like an army of horns. Jackaman’s dramatic vocal drives the song and she manages to push the intensity, even briefly slipping into a falsetto that feels more like her vocal cords finally surrendering to their humanity, rather than a performance choice. The horns, on this track, but also across the album, are a bit of an old-school move, but thanks to her grooves and modern vocals, the songs never sound stodgy. Instead, they’re another color on the canvas.
Having said that, “Nobody’s Fault (But Yours)” is a straight-up modern track. The guitars, horns, and drums all lock in on a beat, giving the tune a Radiohead energy. To be clear, between the production and Jackaman’s blues voice, no one is going to confuse this with OK Computer. But the hint of alt-rock fused into more traditional blues rock makes for a cool moment.
Jackaman’s previous band, Saint Jude, ended after guitarist Adam Green died in 2012. Jackaman has maintained the Saint Jude sound here, so she’s not flipping to soul, so much as she’s gently turning in its direction. This isn’t a reinvention of Jackaman’s work, but it’s a firm tweak. Fans of high-octane blues-oriented vocals are going to appreciate Jackaman’s ability to inject urgency into every track.
The Review: 8/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– I’ll Allow You
– Nothing But My Records On
– Sooner or Later
– Nobody’s Fault (But Yours)
The Big Hit
– Nobody’s Fault (But Yours)
Review by Steven Ovadia