- The City Bar, TBC september 2002
Jackie Leven is in danger of becoming a national living treasure. A
formidable singer, guitarist, songwriter and storyteller, his work, like many
of the musical greats, falls into a category of its own. With some
justification his outpourings have been called "Celtic Soul" and Jackie lives
in an ancestral line that includes the likes of Van Morrison, Lightnin'
Hopkins and unnamed singers of worksongs from all corners of the earth who
share a universal voice.
Jackie first made a serious impact upon the UK music scene in the late 70s
with rock band Doll By Doll, a hard-hitting classic two guitars, bass and
drums outfit that beguiled audiences when they weren't scaring the pants off
them with a rare on- stage intensity. The band made five superb albums of
warped melodic rock music, but were perhaps fatally out of step with the punk
/ new wave preoccupations of those times.
In the early 1980's, Jackie was nearly murdered by strangulation in an
attack in a London street whilst walking home from recording. The man Paul Du
Noyer called "one of the best male voices of the time" was left deeply
traumatized. Unable to speak or sing for over a year and in considerable
pain, he sought pain management with heroin, the classic drug of despair.
Deciding after a year of addiction that he 'wanted his life back', he
released himself from addiction via a method of his own making which utilised
acupuncture, psychic healing and reflexology.
This was so successful that it became formalized as a method, he co-founded
THE CORE TRUST, a registered addictions charity in central London, and
COREcontinues to this day to offer the same treatment to people with all
forms of addiction. CORE's success rate is among the highest in Europe, and
in her lifetime, Diana, Princess of Wales was a champion and supporter of the
Trust, being guest of honour at fundraising events and officially opening the
Jackie's return to record-making was marked by the release of the remarkable
and widely acclaimed album "THE MYSTERY OF LOVE IS GREATER THAN THE MYSTERY
OF DEATH" which included poetry readings by the great American poet Robert
Bly, and ex-Waterboy Mike Scott. This album was one of Q magazine's top 20
albums of the year. It was the first in a stream of critically acclaimed
albums, namely "FORBIDDEN SONGS OF THE DYING WEST", "THE ARGYLL CYCLE", and
"FAIRYTALES FOR HARDMEN", culminating in his latest album, "NIGHT LILIES".
Such consistent recording excellence plus a constant gruelling touring
giving Jackie a growing worldwide audience which receives the candour,
tenderness and raw power that characterizes his work on stage and on record.
'Leven has a voice as big as his 'Sacred Heart' and his material, in the rich
Celtic performers such as Van Morrison, John Martyn and Mike Scott, confronts
issues head on'
Independent on Sunday