Album Review: Jack Keyes – Safely Graze, Lost Sheep!

Jack Keyes is a Louisville, USA-based singer songwriter who has featured a couple of times before on this blog. Last year, I ran the rule over his album Dissolving in Dusk, and more recently followed that up with a share of his track Home. It’s a song that features on his new album Safely Graze, Lost Sheep!

By Graeme Smith

The name for Jack’s third album comes from Bach’s piece Sheep May Safely Graze, music to which he used to fall asleep as a small child. He chose the name to represent the calm mixed with restlessness he felt in bed as a child, ruminating on this dichotomy and how it pertains to aspects of adult life.

The album opens with Safely Graze. It’s a gentle yet vibrant start with soft percussion and acoustic guitar setting the early tone. Jack’s expressive vocals come in, telling a reflective story leading into a textured chorus. It’s followed by single The House. Slow and deliberate, it provides an early, emotional highlight rich with storytelling imagery.

The Yard is another highlight. It delivers a pleasing, looping melody amplified with Wurlitzer and trumpets. Through all the instrumentation though, the focus stays on Jack’s soulful voice and descriptive lyrics which take on the topic of feeling like you’ve overcome obstacles, only for them to reappear.

The Door takes things a dark, brooding direction and is full of atmosphere. The Driveway brightens the mood with a bittersweet, stripped-back moment before Skyscraper gives us another highlight. It keeps things stripped-back while also treating us to a raw and vulnerable image-laden tale.

The Core introduces a little jazziness to proceedings. The Window is a short yet deep acoustic number. The aforementioned Home provides a late album flourish with its nostalgic melancholic folk rock before The Leash closes the album with some delicate strumming and immersive place rendering.

Safely Graze, Lost Sheep! was recorded with Anne Gauthier at La La Land Studios in Louisville, and features Jack’s friends from the community. You can give it a listen below.