May 5, 2013


Rising UK Singer Jake Bugg Croons and Confesses at Beale Street Music Festival

John Durgee for Fuse
John Durgee for Fuse

A rainy, chilly day at an outdoor festival is a tough sell to see a 19-year-old British folk troubadour, but there they were: hundreds of people at Beale Street Music Festival turning out early in the day to see rising singer/guitarist Jake Bugg croon plaintive confessionals. 

"I've seen it all/Nothing shocks me," sings Bugg on "Seen It All," a strong claim for a musician who can't legally buy a beer to his own show in America. But a telling line, as Bugg appears far older than his actual age. 

Looking over my notes, all my reference points besides "less smarmy Gallagher brother" are older singers: Donovan, a less gloomy Nick Drake, a Bob Dylan acolyte (though Bugg has claimed the latter isn't an influence). Backed only by guitarist Iain Archer, Bugg cuts a confident figure; the type of person you could imagine mouthing off to a cop, but later cook dinner for your family "just because." 

Somewhat surprisingly, there's a request early on for "Green Man," a Bugg deep cut not found on his eponymous debut album released last year. "I can't do that one. I don't have my band with me," Bugg told the crowd. That there is a request at all, though, feels like a "moment" in the young singer's career. There will be more very soon.