Kate Jackson, the former Long Blondes frontwoman, is going it alone – eight years after the band split.
Her debut solo album, ‘British Road Movies’, is due for release on 20 May 2016, accompanied by a London instore performance at Rough Trade East on the same day. She also plays London’s Courtyard Theatre on 3 June as part of a series of live dates.
Written by Jackson in collaboration with producer and guitarist Bernard Butler, the collection’s 10 songs were each conceived as a movie title, with inspiration drawn from 1979 film ‘Radio On’, Patrick Keller’s ‘Robinson’ series, and authors Iain Sinclair and Will Self.
“The road, much written about in American popular song, and an American cinematic staple, is often ignored in British culture,” explains Jackson. “As an island our roads lead somewhere far too quickly to hold adventure. We are not the land of Jack Kerouac but of ‘Antiques Road Trip’. But who is to say our roads can’t be cinematic?”
Which isn’t to say that ‘British Road Movies’ is an instrumental soundtrack album – it’s a collection of pop songs incorporating elements as diverse as alt-country, ‘Blade Runner’ synth stylings, and glam rock.
Since the Long Blondes’ final show in Los Angeles, Jackson has pursued a life as a painter, initially moving to Rome where she specialised in architectural paintings. Two years ago, after realising her work was primarily about the British landscape, she returned to her home town of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk.
Inspired to return to the recording studio by the Nick Cave film ‘20,000 Days on Earth’, she began working on music that would complement her painting.
“We initially bonded over a shared love of Bowie, The Fall, Neil Young, and Brian Eno,” she says of collaborating with Suede founding guitarist Butler, “and quickly found that songwriting flowed freely between us.”
Complementing the songs, in summer 2015 Jackson began a series of paintings also entitled ‘British Road Movies’ that became a “visual pairing” to the album, informing its artwork and forming the basis of a London exhibition around the LP’s release.