On each album, Jack Broadbent is used to people saying, “Oh, this is a departure from your previous stuff.” That’s something the British-born singer, songwriter and guitarist has heard to varying degrees, over the course of his six albums to date, and is certainly fitting of his latest release, RIDE. As someone who is as connected to the quality of his relationships with people as he is to the quality of his music, rest assured he considers that a compliment.
“I think there’s a lot of variety on my records. This is no different,” Broadbent says. “I’m really getting a sense now that this idea of genre and where you fit in is not as important as it used to be — which I think is good.”
Broadbent grew up in rural Lincolnshire, England. His earliest influence, his father, Mick Broadbent, plays bass on RIDE and is a well-established musician, including a tenure with Bram Tchaikovsky. “I fell in love with music at a young age,” he says, informed by the steady diet of music played around the house. His father would take Broadbent to open mic nights as a youth, and by his early teens he was playing drums in his dad’s bands. Broadbent gravitated to guitar around the same time as he became interested in song writing.
“Being a drummer, I tried to develop a very rhythmic approach to my guitar playing,” Broadbent recalls. “What interested me was being able to hold down a groove and do some gymnastics to incorporate solos and subtle bass lines.”
Broadbent’s slide guitar playing evolved from the busking he did during his early 20s. “It seemed to appeal to people as something that was both visually and musically exciting. This was interesting to me,” Broadbent explains. “I was already playing in altered and open tunings, so when it came to using a slide I was well-versed in how those patterns worked together.” He took some cues from influences such as John Lee Hooker and Little Feat, but ultimately Broadbent says, “I never really wanted to emulate anybody else’s style, which is why I ended up going down a slightly more hard-hitting, brash, kind of route in my playing.”
Broadbent found acclaim and an audience after the Montreux Jazz Festival hailed him as, “The new master of the slide guitar.” Bootsy Collins famously proclaimed him, “The real thang!” He won over more fans touring with the likes of Ronnie Wood, Peter Frampton, and other musical legends.
His penchant for writing on the road ensured that there was usually an abundance of material whenever Broadbent was ready to return to the studio. That was the case with RIDE, although the album took a turn from what Broadbent initially intended.