Liverpool has always been community first.
As anyone who has ever seen a silhouetted Liver Building in the Mersey dusk will tell you, Liverpool is a literal beacon to its surrounding areas, and its people have always served as one non-Sun reading mass as opposed to very important and glamorous individuals. It’s full of people who care about whoever stands shoulder-to-shoulder with them, no matter who they are – and also has an almost unmatched concentration of great songwriters per capita. A person who has fortunately been blessed with both is Jamie Webster.
A self-described “people’s poet”, Jamie began as a solo act playing songs for fan events based around his beloved Liverpool FC, his first official single being a cover of the fan chant ‘Allez Allez Allez’, which boldly gave all revenues to charity. His new single, ‘Common People’, follows an enjoyable vein of original songwriting form of indie-tinged folk that began in 2019.
‘Common People’ is a pleasure to listen to. The instrumentation is back to basics, just a clean acoustic guitar, a bouncing bass, and rolling drums with a snappy snare and beater-heavy kick drum, throbbing eighths through the track. There are little touches here and there of an enveloped electric guitar, as well as simple two-note chords, fading in and out of the verses. There’s something almost country about the way it all comes together – the sound is put in the realms of Jake Bugg or The Cave Singers. Jamie’s vocals have a really big presence, with his wide belt matching really well with his audibly Scouse drawl, his melodic range is really impressive as he hits higher notes with relative ease, especially needed for the main “Woah” hook that staples the track together.
His lyrics, however, are the most impressive and fundamental part of the song. The term “he says it as it is” is used way too liberally and usually for all the wrong reasons nowadays, but this is an acceptable one to use here, and also a core strength of Jamie’s writing. We artistes and musicians can get awfully serious about metaphor, maybe out of insecurity, but Jamie does not hide behind anything lyrically – he says what he wants to say without pretention, which complements a song about the people he loves, “…the people of common civilisation”. There are some striking poetic moments, especially with the first two lines “The morning rain don’t wash away those tired bloodshot eyes/As we make our way to part of life that we despise”. There are also some funny moments, said with a Turner-esque tongue-in-cheek turn of phrase, “So officer is it your arse that I’m supposed to kiss?”. He talks about emancipation, and the titular common people “having their day” – a recognition of the struggle that people are put under, whilst also giving a valuable power through listening. It’s lyrical writing full of life and character, which makes the single an experience so loveable.
Jamie is fantastic at least at convincing you that he loves everything that he writes about; probably because he really does. Be it his football team, the city he lives in, the holidays he goes on, he gives you proper Liverpudlian heart every time you hear him.
If you want to hear some good quality full-blooded indie-folk, his new album, ‘We Get By’ is out this Friday, 21st of August.