It took LUKE JACKSON quite a long time, and a lot of sweat and determination, to get here.

Standing in front of a socially-distanced, sold out audience at CHRIST CHURCH DOWNEND last weekend, he exudes confidence, stage-presence and genuine talent. And that voice. What a voice. He’s come a long way since we first met him over five years ago, back in March 2014 when he first played a headline show at Downend Folk Club. Already an engaging and impressive performer at that young age, Luke has taken in every step of the journey that has brought him to be the performer that now stands before us. Every gig that his dad drove him to, every note he played and every word he sang, have been part of the journey that have brought him to this point.

It took Luke Jackson quite a long time, and a lot of sweat and determination, to get here.

Because, although Luke set off for Bristol nice and early, the journey wasn’t kind to him. First, his car broke down and he had to wait for the RAC on the side of the motorway for an hour. Then, he got caught in the traffic caused by and M4 lorry-fire, in the sweltering heat, in a car without air-conditioning. And, to top it all off, he went to the wrong venue and had an extra five minutes to contend with when he thought he’d made it.

But both those journeys were utterly, completely worth it, as far as the gathered music lovers were concerned.

Kicking off with Nothing But Time and following it up with Home before even speaking a word to the audience, they’re grabbed from the start. Luke’s blues-y, roots-y style and clever song-writing drawing them in immediately.

Highlights include Honeycomb, which really showcases that voice, Eliza Holt and Richard Thompson’s Vincent Black Lightening, which Luke admits he thought he wouldn’t be able to master. Master it he has, though, and as his fingers flash along his fretboard, we know we’re in the presence of a consummate performer.

A tribute to John Prine, Angel From Montgomery, brings satisfied oohs and ahs from the audience, and, frankly, no-one wants the evening to end; least of all, one suspects, Luke himself. His encore, appropriately entitled The Road, brings the audience to rapturous applause.

"It was worth every miserable minute in that bloody car," he beams. “If you’ve had half as much fun as I’ve had, I still reckon that makes for a pretty alright night.”  Well, Luke, it was considerably more than half as good, and considerably more than alright. It was special. Thanks for taking the journey. And for taking the journey.

Words: Bea Furlong
Photo: Barry Savell