What is with kids these days? They wear shirts of Cash flipping the bird and Marley in a stoic gaze and believe they understand the struggles these two were really singing about while they drive their parent’s $30,000 car, texting on the cell phones on their way to a $45 haircut so they can look good while they take selfies and post them all over social media.
Yes, I realize I sound like some grumpy old man who nurtures his tomatoes on the weekends and yells at the kids for walking on his lawn, but stick with me here. What we need is a revolution in young musicians; one that challenges the Instagramian and Facebookian way of thinking; something that gets back to the roots of music, not the glam and fame. Aside from Andrew St. James, as of late, there has been a lackluster showing from the musical youth; until Jacob Latham.
With an overwhelming sense of wise-beyond-his-years, Bloomington, Indiana’s Latham embarked on his first EP at the age of eighteen. In simply five tracks he encompasses a style of songwriting that is usually met by aging musicians trying to get back to humanity, rarely, if ever, does the storytelling ambiance come from a, well, kid.
Midnight Train lingers on southern folk with slide guitar, harmonica, foot-stomping and references to “West Texas Prairie” but lifts you up and carries you away on a well-balanced adventure through the heart of American music. With a southern echo “Pay Attention To The Rain” opens the vast EP open with vivid detail in an unrushed, novelistic style to the tale of Augustine and Anna. Word of caution: you will be singing this song for days. Through to the title track and the anthem of abolitionist “John Brown” it is evident this kid has guts and the ability to back it up.
Instead of weaving a web of words about the elegance of Latham’s plucking and storytelling grandeur, I will simply state, unequivocally, they don’t make them like this anymore. Jacob Latham is an old mind with fresh perspective and before him is a gravel road that has no signs or end. His future isn’t paved smoothly, he is strumming against the flow, but where that road takes Jacob Latham is up to Jacob Latham.
Greg is a regular contributor and co-founder at Nanobot. When he isn’t listening to music he can be found watching John Hughes films.