With his latest record Ride, Jack Broadbent is convinced he has made his best album to date, which is no easy feat when you’re a half a dozen deep in your career. And while some may feel like they hear a departure from his previous work, the singer-songwriter sees only growth in being able to transcend genres and styles.
Ride is available today.
I recently sat down with Broadbent to discuss landscapes without boundaries, growing from the inside out, and making music with family.
AH: Your new record Ride is set to drop on April 8. How is songwriter Jack on this record different from that songwriter we heard on Public Announcement? How has your creative POV changed the most in nearly a decade?
JB: My process hasn’t really changed in that I let the songs come to me instead of forcing anything. However, I’d like to think that my palette for expression has evolved and matured over the years. I feel like this album is the best work I’ve done.
AH: People practice their instrumentation. They work at it, and in the process, get better. How does a songwriter improve? Is that something you can qualify as easily as mastering an instrument?
JB: For me, writing songs in different styles and not being afraid of casting a wide net is certainly a great advantage for improving your writing—it means eventually you have a boundary-less landscape to work with.
AH: You are now six records deep in your career. Do you consider yourself to be a prolific songwriter, and if so, how much of your creative self is there that the world has yet to hear? Are you sitting on dozens of songs that have yet to find their way onto an album for whatever reason? Will those songs ever see the light of day?
JB: I have lots of unfinished bits and pieces, but I usually try to look forward instead of relying on past ideas. If a song keeps coming back to me then I know there’s something there, but I’d rather work from a spontaneous starting point and try and see it all the way through to completion. For me, those songs are usually the most cohesive, and true.
AH: What would someone learn about you in sitting down to listen to Ride front to back?
JB: I think people will take away what they want from it. There’s a lot of life on this record. I really put myself into it.
AH: Your father plays bass on the record. From what I understand, he was a big factor in cementing your love for music. Does it feel sort of full circle being able to share music, now as an adult, with your father in ways that young Jack never could?
JB: My father (Micky) and I have been playing music together since I first started writing songs in my early teens. We’re on a journey that feels like much more than coming full circle—it’s grown from the inside out, and continues to grow.
AH: Sticking with the idea of young Jack. What would he think about Ride if he had a chance to listen to it way back then?
JB: I think he would dig it! I’ve been working towards making better and better music my whole life. I think this album contains healthy doses of a lot of my early influences.
AH: Talk to us a bit about the imagery of the album. Both the cover art and the “Midnight Radio” single art have these incredibly retro feel to them. What did you want to achieve visually that would marry what people see, to what they hear after pressing play?
JB: I wanted a timeless feel to the artwork, in the same way that I wanted simple production and sound when approaching the recordings. The more organic I can keep things, the more the ideas, themes and ultimately the art comes through. The two go hand in hand.
AH: While labels are still given to artists, we seem like we live in a more genre-less world in 2022 than we did, say, in 1992. Do you feel like you are able to be what you want to be musically—album-to-album—because there are less mechanics in place today to pigeonholed songwriters?
JB: Absolutely, I feel very free to create. A lot of that is more down to the increasingly eclectic nature of the fans tastes, not how the industry has changed in terms of how it presents things.
AH: Highlight of your career thus far? Go!
JB: Touring with artists like Little Feat, Ronnie Wood and Lynyrd Skynyrd and having my father playing there with me.
AH: Time machine question. If you could jump ahead 10 years and get a glimpse of what your career looks like a decade from now, would you take that journey? If not, why?
JB: No, it’s not the destination, it’s the journey. I’d rather take the “Ride”.
For more information on Jack Broadbent, visit www.jackbroadbent.co.uk.
Check out our review of the album, here: REVIEW: Jack Broadbent “Ride“