Jake Bugg is an eighteen-year-old singer-songwriter from Nottingham who has attracted so much attention with his retro folk style that comparisons with the likes of Bob Dylan, John McClean and Donavan are scattered across the pages of nearly every music magazine. But is he really capable of filling such massive shoes?
There’s no doubt that old fifties and sixties musicians have been a huge influence on Bugg. Songs like “Trouble Town” and “Love Me the Way You Do” really sound as if they’re cut from the same stone as Dylan and Donavan. The jangle of acoustic guitars and rhythmic finger picking style that Bugg is bringing back to life has been lost in recent times, and even some of the videos accompanying the young singer-songwriter’s tracks are an ode to years gone by. But is all this age and experience not a bit too much from such a young man?
Bugg’s demeanour during interviews and live concerts also shows no signs of nervousness, youth or ill experience. He plays the game like a seasoned campaigner with a brash, distant and cool attitude that echoes that of Bob Dylan or Alex Turner.
Bugg started playing guitar at the tender age of 12, and by 17 he was on the BBC “Introducing” stage at Glastonbury 2011. He was then snapped up by Mercury Records and his songs continue to do the rounds on BBC Radio with fans including Zane Lowe and Fearne Cotton. The BBC went as far as to say that he carries the torch for his kind of music and is “keeping the spirit of Dylan and co alive”.
In May of this year, Bugg played the BBC’s “Later with Jools Holland” and since then the hype surrounding him has continued to gather pace. Noel Gallagher of Oasis fame has admitted he’s a “YouTube fan” of Bugg’s work and invited the young Nottingham star to accompany his High Flying Birds along with Snow Patrol on their tour of the United States later this year. At the moment, Bugg is supporting Noel and the High Flying Birds on their tour of Europe.
Certainly his style and some of the issues dealt with in his music are wisdom of an older soul – but it works. Bugg is an artist that is just beginning to blossom. With such a unique voice and song writing talent, channelling the same style as the likes of Dylan and The Beatles, Jake Bugg has a long successful career ahead of him. His eponymous debut album drops on the 15th of October – definitely one to pick up.