Later... With Jools Holland returns for its 49th series with the sort of exclusives that makes it the key taste-making destination in music television. Nashville's Kings of Leon return to Jools's theatre of dreams with their first album in three years, Walls, which finds them re-energised and returning to the anthemic sound and classic songwriting of their best work, thanks in part to producer Markus Dravs. Jack White has appeared on the show with the White Stripes, The Raconteurs, Dead Weather, and recently toured and fronted not one but two bands of different genders, but now he makes his solo acoustic debut, re-interpreting songs from his back catalogue, many of which are previously unreleased, ahead of a whole album collecting acoustic work from 1988-2016. Multi-Grammy award-winning Sting has sold over 100 million albums and has been touring the past two years with both Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel, but he has also found time to make his first straight-ahead rock 'n' roll album in many a year. 57th & 9th refers to the street he crossed on his way to the New York studio where he recorded this thirteenth solo work, showcasing Sting at his canniest and most direct as displayed in new single I Can't Stop Thinking About You, which echoes his work with The Police. Stir into that the dark R&B of LA's Banks, who is about to release her second album The Altar, and Antibes-grown LA-based Frenchman Anthony Gonzalez's band M83, with the delightful 80s inflected disco dream pop of seventh studio album Junk, and you've got the kind of mix that only Jools can provide - all quality, no filler. Nashville born-and-bred singer, pianist and songwriter Kandace Springs performs a track from her sparkling full-length Blue Note Records debut, Soul Eyes, a winning fusion of jazz and soul. And legendary guitarist and founder of Led Zeppelin Jimmy Page makes a trip to chat to Jools.
It is week two and Jools invites another eclectic mix of music into his quadrangle of quality, including national treasures Madness fresh from the festival stage, now in their 40th year and about to release their 12th studio album Can't Touch Us Now, which features new single Mr Apples and the trademark blend of jaunty music-hall, ska rhythm and bitter-sweet lyrics. Squaring up to Camden's nutty boys is a son of Wimbledon - Jamie Alexander Treays, better known as Jamie T, with Trick, his second album in two years, making up for a long period of silence with a roughshod jangle of tunes that recall The Clash of the Sandinista era. Calming things down is singer-songwriter Beth Orton, who has dramatically reinvented the folktronica of her earliest work with the electronica of sixth album Kidsticks, which was recorded in the US and features Beth's plaintive voice floating on some great grooves and ambient soundscapes. Introducing the commanding falsetto of new US R&B leading man Gallant. Christopher Gallant hails from Maryland and recorded his debut album Ology on the West Coast, blending slow beats with some alt-rock influences. He got a standing ovation when making his US tv debut on Jimmy Fallon's chat show. Also introducing Rag'n'Bone Man, a big bruiser of a man from Uckfield near Brighton, with his debut single, the tender Human, a piano ballad which manages to be both vulnerable and threatening at the same time. And more acts to be announced.
Joining Jools in his music box for the last show in the series are London's electronic music production duo Chase and Status, aka Saul Milton and Will Kennard, who are about to tour the UK and continue to straddle the UK's dance, urban and grime scenes. They bring some of their recent collaborators, including singer Tom Grennan and Manchester grime MC Bugzy Malone. Oxford's Glass Animals continue that city's fine tradition of indie rock morphing into funkier territory and make their debut on the show performing songs from their second and breakthrough album How to Be a Human Being. First appearing on the BBC in 1967, the legendary Puerto Rican guitarist and singer Jose Feliciano makes his debut on the show almost 50 years later. Blind since he was born, Feliciano was raised in the Bronx and became an international star in 1968 with his interpretation of The Doors's Light My Fire. He continues to record in Spanish and English and performs a couple of his classics and a new song from his forthcoming album. Joseph, aka sisters Natalie, Allison and Meegan Closner, possess stunning sibling harmonies, hail from Oregon, and make their UK television debut with White Flag from their second album I Am Alone, No You're Not. Another American debutante is Californian Nick Waterhouse, whose intimate feel for the retro dance styles of 50s R&B, rock 'n' roll and even boogaloo shines through on his third album Never Twice. Brooklyn 'noise pop' duo Sleigh Bells shake the studio with songs from their fourth album Jessica Rabbit. Alexis Krauss and Derek Edward Miller know how to stalk a stage, blending blockrocking beats, distorted guitars and Krauss's troubled but commanding presence with a sound that suggests a Garbage for today