Jake Vanderlaand

One can hear Jake's influences, and each song on the CD introduces us to a new influence. To say that Jake is an amalgam of Elvis, Cash, Perkins, Scruggs, (Tommy) Hunter, (Faron) Young, (Buddy) Holley, and (Webb) Pierce would not yield the whole story.

Jake Vanderlaand

Artist: Jake Vaadeland
Artist Website: https://www.jakevaadeland.com

Last year, I was pleased to review Jake Vaadeland's EP release, "Retro Man," in The Bluegrass Standard (https://thebluegrassstandard.com/retro-man/). Since then, Jake's been hard at it with a full-length CD entitled Everybody But Me.

Jake's got the retro-country thing going on in high gear: retro-country-rockabilly-Elvis-Faron-Earl-Buddy-Holley-Canadiana-Americana-string-tied-pompadour and all points in between. All original songs give a taste of pastoral Saskatchewan life, but I swear I get glimpses of rear-engined Greyhound Scenicruisers and smell the diesel fumes, with Jake telling the uniformed driver how to get to the next gig.

Everybody But Me gives us ten songs:
1. Everybody But Me
2. Bar Down The Street
3. Suits
4. Bachelor's Life
5. Prairie Blues
6. Gonna Find My Baby
7. You Don't Love Me Anymore
8. Be Good Stewards
9. Once in a While
10. Living Simply

I tried to pick favorites. I can't do it. I have ten favorites out of ten songs. I suppose I'll have to pick one and call it double-extra-super-favorite, and that would be "Bachelor's Life," and right behind it is "Living Simply" (OK, I picked two). Jake's finger-picking guitar style is strongly reminiscent of Earl Scruggs, and it's a joyous presence on "Living Simply," a ballad whose title is not misleading. "Bachelor's Life" is a peppy lament about missing bachelorhood. It is Johnny Cash's bent E-string guitar meets Earl's five-string banjo. Snippets of some of the tunes are available to listen to on Jake's website, along with many other songs.

One can hear Jake's influences, and each song on the CD introduces us to a new influence. To say that Jake is an amalgam of Elvis, Cash, Perkins, Scruggs, (Tommy) Hunter, (Faron) Young, (Buddy) Holley, and (Webb) Pierce would not yield the whole story. I hear these influences, but Jake has made them his own, filtered through his Saskatchewan experience and how he perceives himself. Music is show business. Sometimes there is more show than substance, but Jake delivers quality music and entertainment. I like the funky '50s reverb on some of the songs, and the pedal steel on "Bar Down the Street" is fabulous.

I suppose the best thing one can say about this CD is that I was singing along with all the songs the second time through. If I listen a few more times, I'll have the words down pat, having internalized them all, in effect, making the songs part of me. That is a remarkable achievement.

Jake's headed for big places. There is a hunger for real country music, and this is about as real as it gets. Jake will soon be joining the ranks of many other Canadian singers/songwriters/entertainers who all made significant contributions to American music. There've been several: Gordon Lightfoot, Ian Tyson, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Tommy Hunter, Leonard Cohen, and The Band. There have been many more; you can add the rest if you'd like.

Maybe one day, we'll all add Jake Vaadeland to the list.