Music: Buggin’ out for Jake Bugg |

Music: Buggin’ out for Jake Bugg

Craven Lovelace
Free Press Music Columnist
Craven Lovelace
Staff Photo |

Ah, to be 19 again. Nineteen is a magic age, isn’t it?

One foot in adolescence, one in adulthood, still pumping with the passion of youth but learning to regulate. It’s a “border age,” when the blueprint of YOU has been set and yet all possibilities remain open… a time when, whatever the polarity (young/old, stupid/smart, questioning/opinionated), a young person can be neither and both at the same time.

Now in Craven’s case, 19 was more like two inches of his forehead in adulthood and the rest of him still submerged and floundering in very childish pursuits. Nineteen was waking up at noon, realizing he had missed his first two college classes of the day, then falling back asleep. Nineteen was learning how to place a plate atop the pyramid of dirty dishes in the kitchen sink without causing the whole thing to crash to the linoleum (a skill Craven developed to an uncanny degree until he finally moved to New York and the cockroaches had a say in the matter). Nineteen was drinking liquor from Mountain Dew bottles so passing cops wouldn’t stop to discover that he wasn’t old enough to be legally drinking the liquor in question. Nineteen was learning he had to pay his rent and utilities every month and realizing what a saint his mother had been to be washing his underwear every week for the past 18 years.

Which brings us to today’s subject. Have you heard about Jake Bugg? If not, don’t worry — you will. Bugg just released his second full-length album, entitled “Shangri-La,” after his self-titled debut release topped the British charts last year and was named one of the best debuts of 2013 by Rolling Stone.

The new record finds Bugg being produced by Rick Rubin, and backed by a stellar cast of musicians and songwriters including Pete Thomas of Elvis Costello’s Attractions, Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Brendan Benson of the Raconteurs. In January, he’ll launch his first U.S. tour. He’s dating a supermodel. The buzz is deafening.

Oh. And Jake Bugg is 19. Let me say it again: JAKE BUGG IS #$%^&!!! 19.

That’s right, at the same age Craven was bussing at a steak house and still taking part in chugging contests, Jake Bugg is being hailed by some as yet another “new Bob Dylan.” Whether that particular appellation still means anything to anyone is arguable, but there’s no denying Bugg is the real deal when it comes to thoughtful and sometimes exquisitely wistful lyrics married to lightning-hot rock riffs. Although he sings in a distinctly British accent (imagine the love-child of Nick Drake and Liam Gallagher of Oasis, both of whom can be counted among Bugg’s influences), the music of Jake Bugg is very much drenched in American roots rock.

Bugg grew up under very humble circumstances in a British housing project, and his songs are populated by “Everyman” sorts, people who themselves exist in a “border world” between poverty and the middle class, between crime and law, between chaos and stability. That seems somehow appropriate coming from an exciting new artist at the border age of 19, who now finds himself balancing on a much bigger boundary. Jake Bugg has teetered on the verge between obscurity and stardom for a year now. It will be our pleasure to watch him plummet into maturity.

GJ Free Press music columnist Craven Lovelace is the producer of the Notes Blog & Podcast at and also writes about popular culture at the Cravenomena blog at You can also find him on Facebook. Notes is made possible by Tina Harbin of Real Estate West, the premier resource for all real estate information and services on the Western Slope.

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