THE DEATH THROES OF A FADED EMPIRE
World Weary, Thought Provoking British Americana.
When you first hear Jack Cade’s world weary baritone voice wheezing the opening lines to It Ain’t Easy;
“It ain’t easy, It ain’t easy
To peel away the fake from fact
To see the reasons for the act
It ain’t easy, It ain’t easy”
You know you aren’t in for a comfortable 45 minutes; but what you hear is more than likely going to get you sighing; “Ain’t that the truth BROTHER!”
Written and recorded; like everything else these days; during Lockdown, Jack wrote these songs while trying to decipher all that was going going on around us primarily in the UK; but across the Atlantic too.
For the uninitiated, the title DEATH THROES OF A JADED EMPIRE is Jack’s rather clever observation on the state of our beloved country; and comes across very acutely in Saviours & Sinners, What Do The People Say and especially the intelligent and articulate Some Bruises Never Fade which will stop you in your tracks and have you listening for every razor sharp nuance and note.
While this may sound like Jack is being judgemental; trust me, he’s not … but he is using his incredible talents as a songwriter and storyteller to describe what is going on around us every day; but either we choose to ignore what is before our eyes or we can’t find the words and expressions to display our dismay and anger; but thankfully he is there in the shadows to do it for us.
Because Jack never actually names names or specific events; these songs; and especially Deep Blue Sea and the dangerous sounding Night Terrors are open to interpretation and will transfer across the waters that surround the UK and make Americans and Europeans too; think they could be about their situation.
Comparisons with outher singers with voices like Jack will abound; it’s easy and more than a bit lazy; but …… the bittersweet love song, Setting Fires does sound uncannily like Cash on his American series; and the gentle guitar solo could easily be Lefty or Chet sitting in on the session.
This also applies to the two songs that are squabbling over which is my Favourite Song here, with both also transcending Jack’s British-Americana status as he treads into the Folk Swamp, where many of his lesser peers have failed miserably.
Jack Cade embraces this idiom like a hair shirt and turns it into silk.
The Amber Lights, is a lovely thought provoking look back at those weekend nights many of us spent in neon lit seaside towns during our teens; and while I think Jack is singing about Southend, Whitley Bay or perhaps Helensburgh; but it could just as easily apply to the same type of places in America and Canada too.
Just as you are smiling at the memories that song evokes Jack follows it with a sucker punch to the ribs with The Awakening.
Possibly the most powerful and thought provoking song here; Jack sounds as if he’s actually desperately holding in his anger as he growls the words to a sweeping orchestral backdrop …… which conjures up a potentially brilliant accompanying video.
Jack Cade? You’ve likely never heard of him; but if this exact album had been released in the same guise by Johnny Cash, Tom Waits or even any North American from One Stump, Hicksville it would be lauded to and from the rooftops by the National Press; but it’s not and they won’t; so it’s left to the likes of RMHQ to tell you to get on board the Cade Train ASAP …. you can thank me later.
PS Please let that be his living-room on the CD cover!
Released January 29th 2021