Where are they now?
7 years after receiving a grant towards a new guitar, Jack Blackmans musical career is going from strength to strength. Having recently released his third album, which has received some great reviews, he tells us little more about how his career has taken off…
‘Since being awarded the EMI Music Sound Foundation grant in 2009, I have been working hard in pursuing a career in music. The Gibson J-45 guitar that I was awarded has become such an integral part of my sound, I could not imagine performing without it. I have written many songs on the instrument and my technique has evolved as a result of it, including utilising alternate tunings and slide guitar, which is possible on a guitar of this style and quality. I have used it at hundreds of gigs and on every recording I have done so far in my career.
I recorded my first full-length album ‘River Town’ in 2011. From it, my arrangement of Blind Blake’s, ‘Police Dog Blues’ from the CD received national airplay on Paul Jones’ BBC Radio 2 radio show, and has since become a staple of my live set. The album also received positive reviews in many national music publications.
‘River Town is a remarkable record and should win legions of admirers among blues fans and fans of roots and acoustic guitar playing, showcasing, as it does, the talents of an artist about whom we shall doubtlessly be hearing a lot more over the next few years’ - Acoustic Magazine August 2011.
I reached the semi-finals of the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award in the years 2010 and 2011, during which I performed in concerts featuring the very best in young up-and-coming folk and roots musicians, hosted by DJ Mike Harding.
In 2012 I enrolled at Leeds College of Music and studied composition for 3 years. During this time, I recorded my second album of all original material. From it, the song, ‘Charles Walton Blues’ was chosen by BBC Radio 4 to feature in a documentary telling the story of the 1940s Charles Walton witchcraft murder on Meon Hill in Warwickshire. I was also commissioned to record the incidental music for the program.
I graduated from Leeds College of Music in 2015 with an honours degree. Since then I have been gigging regularly at venues, folk and blues clubs and festivals. In November 2016 I released my 3rd album, ‘Nearly Man’ which is currently receiving great reviews in the national music press. ‘A mix of blues and folk that slides in with a softly impressive stance and remains long after the album ends…a singer-songwriter at work delivering some seriously good music’ - FolkWords
The title track was played by ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris on his BBC Radio 2 show which prompted him to say, ‘exceptional guitarist, sounds just great doesn’t he!’
In January 2016 I established a monthly music night, ‘the Tuery Sessions’ in my hometown of Alcester, Warwickshire. It is a platform for emerging and established artists on the roots music scene to showcase their original music. In addition to this, I teach guitar at Stratford-upon-Avon high school, the Musical Box music school and to homeless and vulnerable people with the Bromford Group.’
To keep up to date with Jacks news please visit his website or other social media sites:
In October 2016 Jacks younger brother Euan was awarded a grant towards a new guitar, not long after receiving it Euan achieved a Distinction in his Grade 8 exam with a fantastic 94%. It seems he may be following in his brother footsteps so watch this space!