This is only the second installment of my recently launched feature intended to supplement my weekly new music revue, which runs Saturdays, and I’ve already decided to adjust the rules. Going forward, The Follow-Up will be a catch-all of new music I “missed” for Best of What’s New. It could be albums or singles, and I also don’t necessarily want to limit these posts to two items. One thing I continue to envisage is keeping each shorter than standalone reviews.
Pete Townshend – Can’t Outrun the Truth
Can’t Outrun the Truth is a new song by Pete Townshend released last Friday (March 24). It also is The Who guitarist and key songwriter’s first new solo single in 29 years! According to his website, the track was composed and produced by [his wife] Rachel Fuller under her nom de plume Charlie Pepper, and all proceeds from vinyl sales plus at least 10p from every download will go to the Teenage Cancer Trust.
The song was inspired by the difficulties everyone had encountered emotionally due to the lack of human interaction caused by the pandemic. It also occurred to Rachel that young people undergoing cancer treatment may identify with these feelings of isolation. You just gotta love this. And it sounds pretty good!
Pete Townshend “The pandemic years were terrible for charities; the Teenage Cancer Trust was created in order to take the money from a series of concerts at the Albert Hall every year and various other things and that had all dropped out. So, the idea of doing this, which is it’s something that has sprung out of lockdown about mental illness, but also for this particular charity. If you’ve got a scenario in which somebody in your family or a teenager has got cancer, they’re being treated, lockdown hits, and you’re not allowed to go and visit them. There’s a poignancy to the whole thing about the song.”
Summing up the song Rachel says, “I think one of the things about the song is that it felt like we drew a line, and it was, okay, back to normal. Nobody’s really talking about Covid anymore. There aren’t stories in the papers, and no one wants to talk about those two years. And I think for so many people, there is a long tail, people really, really struggled and just because people are saying let’s move on. I think a lot of people are still finding it really hard.”
Jake Thistle – The Dreamer
Jake Thistle is a young singer-songwriter from New Jersey who first entered my radar screen on Facebook in 2021. Last summer I saw him perform a Jackson Browne tribute show at a free summer outdoor concert. Subsequently, I reviewed his then-new debut CD Down the Line, released in June 2021.
Thistle has been into music for most of his young life. It all started in 2008 one month prior to his fourth birthday when he watched Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers during the Super Bowl halftime show. This led him to watch videos of Petty on YouTube and become a music fan. At the age of nine, he picked up the guitar and subsequently started posting his own videos on YouTube. None other than Tom Petty spotted Thistle’s videos and was impressed enough to send him front-row tickets for Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. to see and meet him and the Heartbreakers. This says a lot about Tom!
Thistle played with John Hiatt and met Steve Winwood. As a 13-year-old, he was hired to play at a Bruce Springsteen tribute festival in the UK. Thistle’s website also mentions an impressive array of other music artists he has met and/or shared bills with, such as Jackson Browne, Stevie Nicks, Foo Fighters, Eddie Vedder, Roger McGuinn, Steve Earle and Tom Morello. It almost sounds like a fairytale, especially if you consider Thistle only graduated from high school in 2021!
This brings me to The Dreamer, Thistle’s newly released single that came out on Friday as well. Here’s a clip of an acoustic guitar rendition. I really find it quite impressive how mature he comes across as a songwriter. I’ve said it before I can hear some Jackson Browne in Thistle’s writing! Vocally, he reminds me a bit of Bryan Adams.
And here’s a Spotify link to the official piano-driven single. I encourage you to check it out!
Sources: Pete Townshend website; Jake Thistle website; YouTube; Spotify