Bert Jansch

    The Black Swan


    He has been likened to Bob Dylan yet bears only a superficial similarity in their mutual devotion to songwriting craft. He is closely associated with the ’60s British folk scene but often writes material that merged an array of influences. He put ’70s rock guitar heroes in awe and records with today’s folk revivalists. So, why is Bert Jansch putting out his twenty-fifth album, The Black Swan, on an indie label based out of the American Midwest? Because, unlike Dylan, who redefined his voice while keeping up his writing chops, Jansch’s late career has maintained a familiar confidence and well-preserved technique. Because unlike many of his peers, his technically sophisticated stew sits comfortably alongside the far reach of his current labelmates’ music. And unlike most seniors who call upon their juniors out of novelty, Jansch guides and takes from his (notably Beth Orton and Noah Georgeson) in the true spirit of collaboration. How lucky to be either a new or old fan, hearing Jansch at such a late age and in such a remarkable state.