Since the release of his 2005 debut ‘Not Worth Waiting For’ (Spunk Records) Ladder’s sound has undergone a transformation – whilst strong traces of the brooding, lovelorn balladry remain, this new album, ‘Love is Gone’, has a distinct sense of swagger, sanguine and a touch of raunch.
How to describe the sound? Imagine Leonard Cohen driving through Detroit singing along to Little Richard on the radio. Now imagine Detroit is a vast beach located somewhere north of Sydney.
Ladder sites a broad, unlikely mix of influences, including artists such as Sam Cooke, Johnny Thunders, Dusty Springfield and John Cale. And the mix comes through in the music, which moves effortlessly between the sounds of early R&B, alt-country, folk and blues, subsuming them all into a rich blend which is both classic and unique. Lyrically, Ladder possesses a wordsmith’s talent for creating poignant, occasionally humorous - always honest - tales of love found, lost and discarded. His gifts have not gone unnoticed - his story tale songs have earned him heavy rotation on independent radio and a series of national tours with Stephen Malkmus and the JIcks, Bill Callahan (Smog), Pajo and Okkervil River.
To capture the kind of raw, ‘vintage’ sound, Ladder took a group of gifted musicians, including drummer Laurence Pike (Pivot/Triosk) and bassist Ben Wapples (Triosk), into the studio where the songs were arranged and recorded ‘live’ (with minimal overdubs) straight to tape. The process took only five days.
Jack Ladder has spent 2008 living and performing in New York and Europe. He recently performed on Fox 5’s high rating breakfast show ‘Good Day New York’. He was also invited by Will Sheff of Okkervil River to cover the track ‘Starry Stairs’ from the ‘Stand Ins’ LP. Others performing tracks for this project include Bon Iver, AC Newman and David Vanderwelde.