Home MusicAlbum Reviews “Midnight Sun” Album Review: Jeff Lake’s Genre-Defying Americana Journey Through 10 Stunning Tracks

“Midnight Sun” Album Review: Jeff Lake’s Genre-Defying Americana Journey Through 10 Stunning Tracks

by Jonathan Currinn
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Versatile country-rock singer-songwriter, Jeff Lake, has unleashed his debut album “Midnight Sun” to radio intending to fully release the collection of 10 tracks, later this year. The album offers a unique blend of folk, bluegrass, and rock, which all combine to create Americana country-fried rock. The album has been released to radio but has yet to make its way onto streaming platforms. This acts as the follow-up to his Christmas single release “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”, a cover of the John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band with the Harlem Community Choir song.

As listeners play through this album, they are greeted with a symphony of string instruments, from the classic acoustic guitars and fiddles to the twang of banjos and mandolins, alongside the resonance of pedal-steel and upright bass, seamlessly interwoven with the vigour of an electric guitar. This album is full of Americana rock elements that definitely make an impact.

This “Midnight Sun” album project is more than just Jeff Lake, he has brought together a variety of musicians to fully make this a great listening experience. Joining the singer-songwriter is Amanda Rockenbach on Additional Vocals, Jim Leahey on Electric Guitar, Jack Daley on Bass, Mark Ellis on Drums, Deni Bonet on Fiddle, and Mark Newman on Mandolin.

The first track on the album is the title track, “Midnight Sun”, which immediately captivates with its rhythmic vocal hook, adorned with a nostalgic ’80s rock flair, paying homage to Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song”, while adding some bluegrass country vibes in the mix. The lyrical narrative delves into the complexities of detachment, displacement, and introspection amidst the whirlwind of life’s transformations, serving as a poignant mirror to Lake’s personal journey and the universal challenges encountered by artists worldwide.

Echoes of Jim Morrison can be found throughout the album, inviting listeners to take in the lyrics and feel every word. “The Lucky One” brings this energy as acoustic guitars dominate amongst storytelling lyrics and laid-back country melodies. As Jeff Lake envisions a woman who has managed to get everything she wants but still isn’t quite happy, we’re greeted with a flowing backing beat where the fiddle takes centre stage halfway through the song, creating an engaging dynamic throughout.

“Seven Days” follows next, slowing the pace down and bringing a more bluegrass melody to the table, until laid-back Americana rock hits in for the chorus. Impressing throughout, Lake throws his passion into this track as the tuneful backing beat empowers the song and the lyrics which are full of encouragement.

Track four is “Country Girl”, which throws in a more funk-rock side to the collection as a harmonica kickstarts the vibes amongst powerful drums and guitars, The upbeat country rhythm brings a ’70s dance energy to the table as Lake sings about a woman who is a just a little country girl at heart who is in a bar having a good time. Addicting and unforgettable with Lake’s vocals gritty and on point throughout; this might just be our favourite track on the album.

“Ain’t Misbehavin'” follows next, slowing the vibe down acoustically, as Lake sings about letting his lover go as she’s ready for the white picket fence life as a wife and he’s not ready for that. This tuneful acoustic track leads onto track six, “Marie”, which spotlights Lake’s vocals as an addicting blues backing track mixed with a country ballad vibe flow behind his passionate voice. This track has a Morrisey feeling to it with Americana thrown in.

The seventh track of the album is “My GF Gotta BF” which starts with guitars and drums, suggesting that this is a rock ballad, but true to form, Jeff Lake surprises with some blues-rock and some country-rock, as he sings about being deceived by his girlfriend and being stabbed in the back. Powerful lyrics with strong vocals, this is a track that certainly is going to resonate with many listeners.

“The Man That I Am” is next up, taking it down a notch to an acoustic-rock ballad, with Lake’s vocals emotional and soulful, held with power as he sings about his other half who has made him into who he is today, full of self-belief and self-determination.

The penultimate track is “My Best Friend”, an Americana country ballad that brings a few layers but allows Jeff Lake’s vocals to take the spotlight, where he sings an ode to his best friend who has been there for him through his ups and downs. This is one we can all relate to and which makes a brilliant final statement of friendship. The last track is the Yellowstone Mix of “Midnight Sun”, which brings a more upbeat tuneful energy to the song.

A fully realised collection of tracks, Jeff Lake impresses from start to finish with this “Midnight Sun” album. Through his passionate vocals, storytelling lyrics, and an incredible variety of musical instruments, Jeff Lake flows the listeners in a mixture of Americana, stunning listeners with rock, country, bluegrass, folk, and acoustic energy, it’s no wonder that it’s been received well by radio.

From his humble beginnings strumming a guitar at the age of 8 to gracing professional stages by 17, Lake’s journey is a testament to his unwavering passion for music. Despite his musical pursuits, he remains a devoted Mets and Jets fan, alongside his avid interest in Civil War history.

This album not only showcases Jeff Lake’s musical prowess but also serves as a testament to the enduring spirit of Americana music, resonating with listeners through his inspiring lyrics and down-to-earth storytelling. With its seamless fusion of genres and poignant lyricism, the album stands as a testament to Lake’s musical creative vision.

“Midnight Sun”, by Jeff Lake, is currently available to radio with the singles “Midnight Sun” and “The Lucky One” being available to download and stream, right now, across all platforms, via CMG. According to ReverbNation, Lake is gearing up for a CD release party on May 1, 2024, so we presume that this is when the album will be made available to download and stream across all platforms. We cannot wait for you to hear this brilliant collection of tracks.

Album cover artwork for "Midnight Sun" which sees Jeff Lake posing with his guitar outside and across the street from a hotel, wearing a dark jacket and a dark cowboy hat. The image has a sepia black and white filter to it.

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