Hailey Tuck

 Junk

(Sony Music)

I enjoy various genres and styles of music and I don’t really have a ‘favourite’ per se. However, I do like jazz and have been a fan of artists such as Gregory Porter and Jamie Cullum for several years. It seems like such ‘free’ genre of music which can take a listener to several places both psychologically and emotionally.

In addition, I like hearing music from new and emerging artists who keep the music industry fresh whilst at the same time paying homage to the singers and songwriters that came before them. This is exactly what you get with Hailey Tuck’s debut album ‘Junk’.

Tuck is a 28-year-old who was born in Austin, Texas but relocated to the cosmopolitan surroundings of Paris, France at the age of eighteen and has already got three EPs under her belt. The album is produced by the multi-Grammy Award winning Larry Klein and was recorded at the legendary Sunset Studios in Los Angeles with a band of veteran jazz musicians.

Well I don’t know about you dear reader but I’m certainly curious so let’s press play…

Opener ‘Cry To Me’ has a steady electric guitar and percussion intro that conjures images of a lonely lady in a cavernous ballroom. Then this clear lead vocal coos “Nothing can be sadder than a glass of wine alone” and it seems lyrically quite sad. But the up-tempo backing (which at times reminds me of Ben E King’s ‘Stand By Me’) keeps it from making the listener depressed.

‘That Don’t Make It Junk’ is a song co-written by Sharon Robinson and the late great poet, songwriter and singer Leonard Cohen who released it in October 2001 for his tenth studio album ‘Ten Songs’. Brush drumming and Hammond organ blend well with Tuck’s smooth delivery and I think it will be popular at live shows. Also, I respect her for not choosing the over-covered ‘Hallelujah’. A strong choice for this record.

Next we have Joni Mitchell’s ‘Cactus Tree’ with some hypnotic psychedelic electric guitar but I don’t feel that the arrangement suits her voice. Perhaps a different Mitchell tune might have worked better?

‘Some Other Time’ hears her conclude that her and her friends will “catch up some other time” as they have run out time. A relatable song about going out, seeing the clock and the realising that you have to get home as you have an early start at work the next day.

Colin Blunstone’s ‘Say You Don’t Mind’ sounds like Tuck at her most comfortable as the flurry of keyboard swirls around the track. The arrangement suits her voice perfectly and the band are on point. A highlight on this debut.

‘Alcohol’ is not the country Brad Paisley tune but rather a song by the classic British band The Kinks and penned by Ray Davies. Released as the lead single for ‘Junk’ I am immediately reminded of the soundtrack for British television series Taskmaster by The Horne Section led by musician, writer and comedian Alex Horne. The eerie horns and accordion create such an atmosphere. Fans of Dutch singer Caro Emerald may enjoy this cut.

‘Last In Line’ is a more laidback affair as she takes a trip to her other-half’s hometown and wants to hear tales of his previous relationship and conquests. Surely a rookie error men may be thinking… She is quite vulnerable on this as she sings “I won’t ever mind as long as I’m last in line”. A genuine moment of emotion imho.

‘My Chemical Life’ features horns and makes the listener feel that they are on some kind of trip especially with the lyrics “Codeine washed down with wine. In California just a state of mind”. I think the only way I can describe it is if early Syd Barrett Pink Floyd recorded a song with Miles Davis. Full marks for originality.

‘I Don’t Care Much’ has been recorded to create a husky vintage vocal and makes me think I’m drinking coffee on a street corner in Paris. However, that’s hardly surprising when the artist has honed her live sound at Le Buzz and the now defunct underground club Tres Honoree in the capital city of France!

‘Trouble In Mind’ has a double bass backing and a church organ solo and is the closest that Tuck gets to Norah Jones.

‘Underwear’ is originally from Sheffield rockers Pulp and was originally released a track on the 1995 album ‘Different Class’. The lush string arrangement gives the song a new dimension and she really gets involved in it.

Closer and album title track ‘Junk’ takes me back to when I was younger and went to the cinema to see the 2003 French animated film ‘Belleville Rendez-Vous’ with the city backdrops and bicycles. The track isn’t over-complicated and showcases Hailey Tuck’s powerful yet soft voice.

In conclusion, the idea of getting Larry Klein on board (a man Tuck calls ‘The Mark Ronson of Jazz) was a brilliant decision as he has captured the best of not only Hailey Tuck’s voice and brought her own songs to life. Some inclusions work better than others but that’s not necessarily a negative.

I do wonder if she has ever seen or worked with Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox as she would be a superb addition to the live tours. I did enjoy ‘Junk’ and I imagine that her live set is quite special.

Glenn Sargeant



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(Thanks to Ashley at MBC PR for help with this article)

Hailey Tuck's debut album 'Junk' is released on Friday 4th May 2018 on Sony Music.

For more information visit her official website here: http://bit.ly/2jgdfwJ

Hailey Tuck