Jason McNiff, noted London-based songwriter and guitarist, teams up with At The Helm records for a career defining 6th album, ‘Joy and Independence.’ Coming hot on the heels of last year’s double compilation, ‘Rain Dries Your Eyes’, McNiff strips it back to the essence of the songwriter’s craft; 10 brand new songs (and a stripped back re-working of a highlight from ‘Rain Dries Your Eyes’ - “Stuck in the Past”), just voice and guitar, live in the studio. In this context, the song is everything, there is no place to hide. From the John Prine-esque title track, to the Rainy-Night-In-Soho vignette of his residency at the fabulous, now gone, 12 Bar club (“Midnight Shift”), McNiff’s inventiveness keeps the listener engaged throughout. Perhaps it will be “Amanda”, a 6 minute re-telling of the story of Amanda Knox, that will get most people talking. “Amanda, you were innocent then, you’re not so innocent now” is its poignant refrain, and there will be inevitable comparisons with Bob Dylan or Woody Guthrie.
‘Joy and Independence’ was recorded in sporadic sessions over a 6 month period through 2017-18 at Sean Read (Rockingbirds, Dexy’s) studio in Hackney, East London. It is an album that will have a broad appeal to all fans of acoustic music.