Jake Houlsby spins profound poetry through his lonely folk.

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Folk has served as the voice of the people for decades, conveying the deepest of political, personal and cultural issues via song. It’s renowned for the many crooners who have turned poetry into something excruciatingly personable, creating a musical experience unlike any other genre. When one thinks of folk, acoustic guitars and protest songs may very well come to mind, but with the genre and its meaning constantly growing into something greater than previously imagined, one might even think it can no longer be defined. One of those people is Jake Houlsby.

Jake Houlsby

In a world where most say too much, Jake Houlsby knows just what to say. His intimate music is poetry set to an acoustic guitar.

Houlsby, formerly known as Suntrapp, is a young troubadour with an old soul, from the town of Upon Tyne, Newcastle way on over in the UK. Growing up with guitars scattered around his dad’s place, and with his older brother and ‘hero’ deciding to learn, Jake knew it was his destiny too. At a mere ten years old instrumental music and Steve Vai’s guitar prodigiousness were his obsession, but things soon took a turn for the life changing. As Jake says “Around the age of fifteen I heard Jeff Buckley and the rest, as they say, is history”.

Houlsby’s music softly and slowly spills out into a form of poetry that only the greatest of musicians can uphold, his lyrics are seething with potential and an intimacy that feels almost intrusive; arguably, the best kind. Compact with beautifully unfeigned melodies, the guitar is his best-friend, and it’s more than evident whilst listening that even with the simplest of strums, those six strings are ignited with passion and mystery, an aura that screams Nick Drake circa 1972 meets a wave of modernistic indie sounds.

Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan taught me the true power of words” says Jake. “Neil Young and Joni Mitchell taught me that the most beautiful things you can say are normally the most simple. Nick Drake very much taught me that a great record is bigger than the sum of its parts by far. Van Morrison and Nina Simone taught me the importance of capturing a moment.”

Tapping into a sound that is unparalleled, he paints a delicate picture whilst covering an array of themes; “I find in a lot of my music there’s an awareness of age and getting older. I think we all take comfort when we’re younger in knowing how good of an excuse youth is and so as we start to leave adolescence and become an adult, it suddenly feels like we’re more responsible for our actions than we were before”.

In a time where music is filled with obscenities, and lyrics that are no more authentic than that fake Louis Vuitton handbag you bought at your local op shop, Jake Houlsby is a splash of much needed purity. He can take your mind to a calm, peaceful place, and completely override your thoughts, it’s almost as though each song is a chapter in the book of his life. It’s a lucid and relatable journey through the motions. He truly is a prime example of what the evolution of folk is all about.

Those who know me, would know that listening to Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks for the first time was the most profound musical experience I’ve ever encountered, even bringing me to tears whilst on a train ride home and for a girl obsessed with the Blues that’s quite a strange leap. Yet I’ve recently discovered that something about Houlsby’s music triggers those same emotions within me. His live recordings are as though he is serenading you personally, making even covers seem as though they were written from the depths of his heart, and with his EP Yannina only weeks away from being released, and the title track having recently enraptured our subconscious, my feet can’t keep still with anticipation.

Jake Houlsby has given me hope. Hope that those old in spirit, old in mind, and old in regards to the music they create, can keep honest, genuine story telling alive, whilst relating to the rest of us individuals who have lived solitary lives from the majority of Gen Y’s. A successful future is inevitable for this young man who knows just what to say, and how to say it; “Quite simply, I want to document what’s going on in my life and, in doing so, hopefully give to people what artists like Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake have given to me”.

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