GuilFest 2011 - Lineup

Saint Jude

May 2011: Ask latest music sensation, 'new rock' band Saint Jude's front person and singer, Lynne Jackaman, whether she's 'feisty' and the answer is a short, to the point and telling: "Yes"

The rest of the fast-rising, critically acclaimed outfit are all young musicians at the very top of their game… and decidedly male. Lynne, the founder, focal point and driving force (and force to be reckoned with) is anything but male. Blonde, petite and head-turning. And armed with a set of lungs often compared to those of 60s rock goddess Janis Joplin.

Further probing reveals that, practically, her gender is of little relevance to Lynne. "I believe in hard work and I've always supported myself. I'm independent, in business and in life, and I like to be challenged. I own my own publishing and am completely involved in running the business. But I'm also very spiritual, a vegetarian and ethically and morally sound".

A true British rock singer (or 'rock 'n soul' singer as the leading political weekly Tribune magazine most accurately described her), Lynne Jackaman is doing it her way. As band tipped 'most likely to…' in 2011 by publications ranging from influential specialist rock press to influential daily newspapers, Saint Jude are a living, breathing, truly organic rock band, fully road-tested on the live circuit and currently thrilling the music industry with songs from their distinctive debut album – the Chris (Rolling Stones, INXS etc…) Kimsey-produced 'Diary Of A Soul Fiend'.

With roots firmly in the finest earth of classic early 70's rock (think Stones, Faces and Zeppelin), it's perhaps ironic that the band are all strikingly young. And their fan base is of similar, if not younger, vintage. At Saint Jude gigs, youthful faces (many, interestingly for the genre, female) mingle with more lined ones recapturing the spirit and buzz of years gone by. More often than not, eager eyes will pick out both Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood and Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, two of many expectant fans, as if to confirm that Saint Jude are the real deal, appealing to two vital market camps – energetic and inquisitive youth and their doshed-up elders. Most crucially, Saint Jude are a breath of fresh air in a world sadly taken in by XFactor and, err… Britain's Got Talent. Jackaman herself is as far removed from today's stage school and corporate TV-created vocal puppets as it's possible to imagine. Small and perfectly formed she may well be, but the moment she hits her first powerhouse note, it's written in stone that this is a singer who will be around long after many of the current crop of so-called 'vocal sensations' are consigned to the bin marked 'Last Decade's Embarrassments'.

So how does a young woman, born in Sidcup, Kent come to be leading an international rock renaissance in 2011? Lynne Jackaman started young, very young. As a gangly 14 year old, she was singing and treading London stages ranging from the Jazz Café to the Queen Elizabeth Hall's Purcell Room, performing with professionals more than twice her age, enthusiastically belting out Jazz, Acid Jazz, Soul and Blues standards to audiences that knew their stuff and demanded the best. Jamiroquai, Geno Washington, Mother Earth, Brand New Heavies, Bonnie Raitt and Pat Metheny. These greats provided Lynne with a practical education of the best kind and one which would stand her in good stead when, as a confident 18 year old, she entered the shambolic, booze and drug-fuelled world of rock & roll.

Fired by an adoration of singers not normally associated with Marshall stacks and Gibson guitars, Lynne brought to the genre the precision and professionalism of her heroes from Aretha, Tina Turner, Sam Cooke, Stax and Gospel to Free, Stones and southern boogie of Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers. Not forgetting her personal guilty secret – the extraordinary, fragile genius Karen Carpenter.

This class blend of influences would ultimately relocate nearer to its spiritual roots and bear fruit as Saint Jude recorded their current debut album Dairy Of A Soul Fiend in Kentucky and Nashville. There the band, under Kimsey's guidance, soaked up the magic of the mid-west's 'Music City' and, in Kentucky, recruited members of the Kentucky Mass Gospel Choir for some spine-tingling backing vocals for the album.

Now, in a few short months, Saint Jude have stormed the UK's class music media: voted Top Prospects for 2011 in Classic Rock magazine; landing top slots at dozens of UK and European music festivals throughout the coming summer and garnering praise from radio and TV just about everywhere. Britain's Tribune magazine perfectly captured the Saint Jude phenomenon when it recently reported:
"Lynne Jackaman moves like a less awkward Janis Joplin, her voice has more than a touch of Tina Turner during her Phil Spector-era prime about it. And then a legend enters the building in the form of Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood who listens appreciatively for a few moments before seizing a guitar and taking to the stage. Lesser performers might be forgiven for a bit of a wobble in the presence of such rock royalty, but Saint Jude play on as if sharing the stage with a Rolling Stone is an everyday occurrence..."

Never one to eschew a damn good adventure, musical or otherwise (and not to mention a sabbatical spent in the Amazon jungle – but that's another story), Lynne has recently duetted with both a household name-famous rapper (who will remain nameless and be-kennelled at this stage but her feistiness must have proved a positive plus, one imagines) and Ray LaMontagne whilst also, with Saint Jude, supporting the massively popular Joe Bonamassa, a documentary and live performance special for Germany's iconic TV show Rockpalast and a headline Scandinavian tour. All prior to a wellies-at-the-ready assault on almost all the UK and Europe's summer open air festivals.

Perhaps the best closing endorsement for Saint Jude should come from the seen-it-all-before pages of Britain's biggest selling monthly rock magazine, Classic Rock: "After seeing or hearing them, Saint Jude is a name you won't soon forget – guaranteed!"

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