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Mourning the great Jackie Leven...


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Are any of you fine chaps/chapesses familiar with the great Scottish singer/songwriter Jackie Leven?


Jackie was a friend of mine, a wonderful man with whom I played often in the last ten years. He was extremely kind to me and took me under his wing somewhat when I was starting out as a solo artist. Jackie's approach to making records and his garrulous, storytelling live shows were both a formative and lasting influence on the way I work.


Sadly Jackie succumbed to cancer last month, after a length battle with it. Those of you who were familiar with Jack will probably remember him as a bear of a man, standing about 6'3" or so and very heavy-set (he often joked about being "a self of my former shadow"!). The last time I saw Jackie was at the end of last year, for a gig together in our mutual former hometown of Parkstone in Dorset, and he had lost a great deal of weight and looked noticeably unwell. I wasn't aware of his illness at the time, but I was worried for him.


Jack was a true road-warrior, and was gigging just weeks before he passed away. I'll never forget his creative energy, his incredible sense of humour (more than once he made me laugh to the point of nausea) and, above all, his incredible, luminous, cosmic songwriting.


If any of you haven't heard of Jackie before, please listen to his music-he was a true one-off, and made a huge amount of beautiful records. Songs like 'Poortoun', 'Call Mother A Lonely Field', 'A Little Voice In Space', 'Single Father', 'To Live And Die In Levenland' and 'Main Travelled Roads' (to name just a few) are bulletproof, immortal slabs of universal truth that will grow in stature as time goes by.


Farewell, Jackie, and may the road rise up to meet you as you travel on.

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