Jake London's recent single "Somewhere Down The Road" is one of my favorite songs of the year. Its blend of many different styles struck a chord with me and created the perfect genre-blending hit. I claimed in my review that if the song was a preview of the full album, the album would be one of the best of the year. Well, it was and Runaway Heart is a knockout from start to finish.
The first three tracks really get the album rolling in the right way. "Runaway Heart" is a folksy opener with a driving beat that flows perfectly into "Somewhere Down The Road". Both of these songs back to back set the mood of traveling, adventure, and self-discovery that is prevalent throughout the album. The third track, "Man on the Move", may be my favorite. It is an incredibly catchy story-song about a character known as Johnny Blue. Jake London sounds full of energy and hope, and the band gets the song into a bouncy rhythm that builds as we follow Johnny on his journey out west into the great unknown. "Hearts Like Ours" is a bittersweet love song that shows his country roots perfectly. "A Hundred Days" is a haunting story song full of emotion and soul that can only be captured by music. "Bourbon in My Blood" is the most fun song on the album. It sounds like it was cut in the 50's or 60's by someone down at Sun Studios in Memphis, but here it is in 2014, showing off Jake's rock and roll side. "Where Love Was Found" is the perfect mix of Jake's sound and the sound of mainstream country music. I could see this being a summer hit if released by a major label.
As I mentioned in the "Somewhere Down The Road" review, musically Jake London is hard to pin down. That is a very good thing. Sometimes we get so lost in the classification of music that we lose the spirit of creation. Waylon didn't do it that way. Neither did Bob Dylan. Or Johnny Cash. They made music that moves you, no matter the label. That's what Runaway Heart does. It all comes together on the closing track "Carry You Home". You can hear country, folk, Americana, and Rock & Roll all mixed into one pot pie of goodness. It has driving rhythm, thoughtful lyrics, and a touch of down home twang. Perfection.
Runaway Heart is the very epitome of musical evolution. It takes the foundations of different genres and expands on them in a sound that is fresh and modern while still respectful to the place it came from. Music Row and mainstream radio could take a few notes on how to properly progress a genre from Jake London. Keep doing what you're doing Jake. Good music is good music, and Runaway Heart is good music.
Standout Tracks: "Somewhere Down The Road", "Runaway Heart", "Carry You Home", "Man On The Move", "Hearts Like Ours"
"Somewhere Down The Road"