Jack Broadbent is hoping his new album, Moonshine Blue, out Nov. 15 — and premiering exclusively on Billboard today (Nov. 14) — helps to remove any tags and stylistic expectations that have been attached to him over the course of his four previous releases.
"I've been having a lot of interesting conversations with people about genres recently, whether relating to this record or types of gigs I do," Broadbent, who splits his time between his native London and Montreal, tells Billboard. "People often say, 'Oh, is this a departure from your previous stuff? It's more folk or singer-songwriter material.' I always try to say, 'I don't know. Go listen back to the previous stuff. There's always been a lot of acoustic stuff and variety on my records. Really, it's no different.'
"I'm really getting a sense now that with a lot of people across the board, that this idea of genre and where you fit in is not as important as it used to be — which I think is good."
Acclaimed for his acoustic slide guitar playing — by Bootsy Collins and the Montreux Jazz Festival, among others — Broadbent began Moonshine Blue two years ago, recording in Nashville first and then finishing in Montreal. The nine tracks, many of which he road-tested during his one-man shows, were fleshed out with players that included his father, Micky Broadbent, who played bass and keyboards with Bram Tchaikovsky during the late 70s and early 80s.
"There were a couple of songs that I finally got in the studio and realized what they could sound like if it wasn't just me with an acoustic guitar," Broadbent says. "'If' really came alive in the studio. And 'The Other Side’ with the saxophone solo, when the guy laid it down that was like Christmas come early."
The songs themselves, he adds, were written on the road. “I'd been touring all over the states — well, all over the world, quite relentlessly, at the time. It wasn't like I really had a couple of months to go sit somewhere and work it out,” he says. “But that certainly brought in a lot of different moods and styles being in different places — different feelings, different times. I think sometimes if you sit and write an album in one spot it can sound like that, but if you're writing while you're always moving around that can give it a real sense of life."
Broadbent is in the midst of a European tour that includes several dates opening for the Rolling Stones' Ron Wood. Early in the new year, however, he'll be back in the studio for his next album, which he started working on while he was in the mixing stages of Moonshine Blue.
"I suppose it's carrying on in the same tradition of being nice and varied," he says. "I've got some new ballads, some new funky ones, some new ones with a bit of slide in them. For me, it's always about the songwriting. I try to pay less attention to how it's stylistically based as a record. I want to write songs that find their way to the top of the pile, and that’s' what I use as the backbone and build from there. It's an exciting way to work."
Listen to Moonshine Blue in its entirety below.