Drawing from an eclectic mix of influences, (Ennio Morricone, Thin Lizzy ,Adam and the Ants, …), Jan began playing music as the founding member of the nito band, the band built up a formidable live reputation, ”Evoking wild west imagery with trail blazing tunes to match …there is the fusion of galloping Hispanic rhythms, new wave and disco beats that is both utterly original and yet deeply familiar” BBC Oxfordshire Radio.
Despite coming to national attention, featuring heavily on BBC and ITV, as well as making headway Stateside through the release of ‘Broken Love’ on Hollywood label 272, they disbanded in 2006.
Playing solo and fronting various other outfits Jan has been travelling and playing music for over twenty years, sharing stages with an impressive and varied mix of musicians and musical styles, from dance pop (Calvin Harris) lapsteel blues (Ash Grunwald), rockabilly (Reverend Horton Heat) to pastoral pop (Stornaway), simply enjoying and playing good music regardless of genre.
Jan continues to play music touring as a solo performer under the loose and collective moniker moniker ”J.Jay and the Heartjackers” to much critical acclaim –
Lowering the Tone with BB Skone #28 – Broken Love by J.Jay and the Heartjackers
This lo-fi album is a remarkable piece of work; raw, heartfelt, minimalist, it features Jan’s world weary, laid back vocals and guitar delivering his delightfully daring tunes tunes, with occasional down to the bone accompaniment; tales of love lost, longed for, and won, he knows “too much loving can’t ever be enough”.
Jan glides across genres like a surfer searching for the ultimate wave, a swashbuckler, shielded from self-pitying, faux philosophers crying into their beer, elbows on counter like Hopper’s ‘Nighthawks’, by his sheer joie de vivre. Jan’s having fun.
Imagine you’ve had fun making a beautiful thing, then you show it to someone else and they have fun and think it’s a beautiful thing too. That speaks something of the human condition. That speaks of the human condition.
This is a funny, thrilling record, it’s all of a piece. Sure it deals with hackneyed themes using familiar imagery – the half full glass, broken love and such like – and Jan’s voice will seem familiar to fans of Tom Waits, Tony Joe White, Richard Hawley, Johnny Cash et al, but it’s the way it is all put together (with alligator leather no doubt) that makes it deliciously unique. He’s in the know.
Best of all, only two of the songs clock in at over 2 minutes (and then by 10 seconds or less). The greatest pop songs say it all in 2 minutes. And, hey, if you’re not digging a tune, don’t you fret, there’ll be another one along in a minuet. But then you won’t be appreciating the beauty of it, the pop song. A symphony. A novel. A night on the town. A day by the sea. Condensed into 2 heart stopping minutes. Like I said, minimalist.
Like Jan. You’re like Jan. He is the craic in your mirror. There’s always someone older, looking back. It’s not Jan. At least, I don’t think so’
BB Skone Radio Pembrokeshire
…’and so to ‘Broken Love’. As another entry to the growing list of break up albums, Broken love ticks all the the boxes, however what elevates this one above the norm is J.Jay’s voice. Part seductive croon, when he sings of being your ‘Last chance guy’ and part gravel throated holler on ‘I only miss everything’, the vocals adding both colour and emotion to the typically understated lo fi arrangements.
These type of cry in your beer albums are often clouded by mawkishness and sentimentality to say nothing of the standard cliches, however while it’s fair to say the album isn’t totally free of that, it also expresses itself with a refreshing sense of humour. On ‘Love action’ J.Jay cheerfully exclaims ‘It won’t last, I ain’t much but can you really blame a man if he wants a woman’s touch, I feel bad but I’ll offer no retraction, everybody’s looking for a little love action’. While on songs such as ‘Not enough Champagne (but too many Beers)’ you get the feeling J.Jay may be smarting from the break up but at least he’s kept his sense of humour.
All in all then this is short, lo fi album that should resound loudly with those who found love, those who lost love and those who simply appreciate good music.’ BBC Radio Oxford
‘The western folk influences run strong and the composition is exceedingly good. Comparisons to Cash, Dylan and Cohen all spring to mind. The lyrics are typically melancholy and the tracks could easily jump onto a trusty steed and ride off into the sunset. The stories are there with a good country and western vibe and even a hint of Mexicana in the playing techniques.
It’s a rooting tooting listen. It wouldn’t sound out of place on a Quentin Tarantino sound track. Just goes to show you don’t need massive production, hundreds of chord changes, epic breakdowns and crisp mixes to create a top track’.- Ocelot Magazine