When asked to name a singer/songwriter/pianist from Pinner, you’d be forgiven for thinking Elton John was the only game in town (or village on the edge of North West London to be more precise).
Now you can add Tim Jackson to your list. A 41-year-old married father of two doesn’t exactly sound like the ‘next big thing’ to set the charts alight, but his story will strike a chord with millions of children of the ‘80s and ‘90s who lost sight of their dreams when life got in the way.
Tim’s musical seeds were planted at the age of three when his parents first started taking him to piano lessons. By the age of six he had played the Royal Albert Hall and appeared on TV along with other children in his group who studied the Japanese ‘Suzuki’ method. Learning to play by ear at such a young age meant Tim found he was able to instinctively play the latest hits he had heard on the radio and it wasn’t long before he formed his first band. They went from playing friends parties to trawling the world-famous Camden gig circuit with their own songs in the late ‘90s, building up a loyal fanbase as they did so. Heavily influenced by big alternative American acts of the time like Counting Crows, Gin Blossoms and New Radicals, they never quite fitted in with the burgeoning London Britpop scene. Through a familiar tale of bad management, too many egos and studying at different universities, that elusive record contract never arrived and the group fizzled out - a story no doubt familiar to thousands of young bands across the country.
Many of the kids Tim grew up playing music with have gone on to have successful careers in the industry but Tim was the one who settled down, changed career and put his dreams of musical stardom to one side.
The problem was, he couldn’t let it go. Throughout his twenties and thirties, he continued to perform with his friends at social events, as well as working as a session musician on the side, for a range of artists including Nell Bryden and Pixie Lott. After years of pushing aside the nagging feeling that he would never be satisfied until he’s at least attempted to have his voice heard, a collection of songs began to come together that subconsciously documented his life: talking about fatherhood (Little Girl), unfulfilled desires (Burning Fire) or the story of finally realising a childhood dream after years of procrastination (Better Late Than Never) - the stories they tell are relatable to any of us who haven’t ended up where we always imagined we would be.
Recorded mainly in a self-built home studio with talented long-time friends (who also happened to now be professional musicians) - ‘Better Late Than Never’ features Jon Green (guitarist/songwriter/producer for the likes of Linkin Park, James Bay, Jack Savoretti), Tom Meadows (drummer for Kylie Minogue, Will Young, Leona Lewis, Duffy) and Iain Hornal (bass player currently touring with Jeff Lynne’s ELO, 10cc).
Absorbing his record collection of great singer-songwriters of the past 40+ years, you’ll hear shades of Paul Simon, Ben Folds, Tom Petty and yes, even Elton John in the title track’s piano break which could be the cheeky half-cousin of Crocodile Rock. The album is a musically intricate, sometimes sad but ultimately an uplifting story of fulfilling your dreams after being derailed by everyday life.
If the record sounds like Tim has been around forever, that’s because he has, you just haven’t heard of him yet. Still as the album title says, ‘Better Late Than Never’.