Charity single aims to promote mental health awareness
John Hamilton, Head of Safety, Health & Wellbeing at Leeds Beckett, is part of Bradford band, Jackson Lake and the Phoenix Machine, who are releasing a cover of Jackson Browne’s ‘Running on Empty’ to raise funds for mental health charity Mind.
This week marks Mental Health Awareness Week and as lead singer Al Leeming explained, it is a cause he believes is worth supporting: “We chose to raise money for Mind as I feel mental health issues are vastly overlooked in general. Mental health issues affect so many people, probably many people that you know but it's not always easy to get help or understanding. It’s slowly becoming less of a stigma and there are some truly wonderful people out there who devote their time and effort to help so many. It's a subject very close to my heart and I'm very happy to be able to do something positive for the cause.”
Talking about the selection of ‘Running on Empty’ for the charity single, Al added: “Jackson Browne is one of my all-time heroes, ever since I was about 18 years old. Running on Empty just seems to hit a chord with me so to speak, it's got a great energy but the subject is quite familiar and also fits quite well with the feel and direction of the album. Not only that, it's also great fun to play!”
The charity single forms part of Jackson Lake and the Phoenix Machine’s debut album Putting Out Fires, containing a mixture of original material as well as covers and produced by band member John Hamilton. As he explained: “The whole process was extremely rewarding yet challenging at the same time. From an early point in the project it was clear to me that these were an exceptional set of songs so the pressure was on in the recording and post-production process to do them justice. I wanted to produce an album that, if you closed your eyes, felt like the band were playing live in the room with you. I hope that’s what we’ve done. It also gave me the opportunity to record some new instruments, such as our friend Peter Barnard’s wonderful melodeon that brings such a rich set of tones to the album.”
Speaking about the importance of wellbeing, John added: “Sometimes we need to just take a step back from the hustle and bustle of daily life, emails, meetings, commuting… time just flies by as we rush on in search of the things we think will make us happy. Too often we forget that happiness is the journey, not the destination.
“Wellbeing to me is about keeping healthy and happy, it’s about the life choices we make on a daily basis, all of which add up to how good we feel both physically and mentally. It can be simple things such as diet or sleep, or more complex issues such as our relationships with loved ones or our jobs and career.”
Jackson Lake & the Phoenix Machine formed in early 2015 and comprises of Al Leeming on vocals and guitars and John Hamilton on bass guitar, percussion, drums and Irish whistle.
The duo have produced a music video to accompany the charity single. John explained: “The video was shot early one morning at a busy railway station. I wanted to capture the commuter rush as a metaphor to the lyrics of the song. Speeding the commuters up and repeating the imagery I think creates a never-ending sense of being on the daily treadmill of life.”
He added: “We’ve also had some photos taken to help us promote the single and the album and we took inspiration from Keith Morris’s famous photos of Nick Drake in 1969/70. Our photos are perhaps a little less melancholic, but are shot with equal intensity!”
The album and single are both available to download from www.jacksonlake.co.uk.
There is a minimum donation of £1.80 for the single and a B-side taken from the album with all proceeds from the single going to Mind. The album is available to download for just £5.