Brooding men with guitars have been a mainstay of the music industry since forever. Before John Mayer there was Ryan Adams, and before that we had Jeff Buckley, who in turn is remembered for covering another of his kind, the great Leonard Cohen. 2011, however, marked the beginning of the male singer-songwriter equivalent of the baby-boom, with the birth of the unofficial King of sensitive guitar-men: Ed Sheeran. 7 years later and we can’t move for men in their early twenties, clutching acoustic guitars and professing to be ‘really down-to-earth’ and wanting ‘only to sing about real life feelings, you know?’.
It is pretty difficult for an act that— on the surface at least— seems to belong to this tribe of guitar-wielding, singer-songwriters to produce anything that has even a semblance of originality. We think, however, that we might have found an artist who manages to do just that. Jay Thackery, a young artist hailing from Preston, Lancashire, and his debut EP ‘The Rehab Diaries’ promise to breathe some much needed fresh air into a musical format that has come dangerously close to saturating itself out of relevance.
Although ‘The Rehab Diaries’ is his debut release as ‘Jay Thackery’, he has, in fact, been on the scene for over ten years. He fronted a metalcore band in his youth, and played support gigs for well-known acts including Skindred, Flyleaf and Me vs Hero. Thackery ultimately side-stepped away from the heavier sound that characterized his musical output in his late teens, releasing several tracks with a decidedly more acoustic vibe as ‘Rumboy’, fusing together Savage Garden-esque vocals with Ed Sheeran style guitar.
Jay took a 12-month hiatus from music after suffering from various mental heath and substance abuse issues, during which time he worked on tinkering with and perfecting his sound. The music under Jay Thackery is still very much in singer-songwriter territory, but with a distinct pop-punk edge, reminiscent of other cross-generic artists such as Frank Turner.
The EP is incredible personal, having been written and recorded during his second stint in rehab, and he describes it as a “perfect snapshot of my life during that time.” Tracks like ‘Don’t Cry’ and ‘Fall’ deal with the suicide of several of his friends, whereas ‘Nevergoinghome’ talks of breaking free from mental prisons and experiencing life for the first time. Despite these heavy themes, Jay’s music remains upbeat and positive, mirroring his own attitude towards his troubled past.
It is remarkable how original Thackery sounds despite his musical adjacency to acts like George Ezra and Mayer. In replacing sentimentality and cliche with a heavy dose of folk-punk, he creates offbeat, innovative music that manages to retain the authenticity that underpins the appeal of those acts. Indeed, if Ed Sheeran is the King of singer-songwriter guitar-men, then Jay Thackery might just be their Saviour.
Check out Jay Thackery on the links below!