Final shows for Truckers but recorded legacy will live on

Diane, Louise and Jimi on stage
Diane, Louise and Jimi on stage

Women swoon. Men holler. Kids sing along. Even to the sweary bits.

Crowds sway and roll in ecstacy and jubilation as the first chords of one of this band’s many renowned songs kick in at a live show.

Up and down the country, audiences cry out for more of their unique and original sound, soon to be consigned to recorded playback only.

Pony. Johnson’s Corner. Cherry Pie. Dying. I F#@king Love You. Strip Me Down. Suck The Soul – the list of classics goes on. So it’s with deep sadness in my heart to announce that the Lumberjack Cowboy Heartbreak Trucking Company are playing their final shows this summer.

For five years Jimbob and the band have captivated and confused audiences in equal measure, with their own brand of “alternative country disco”.

By now, most people who know them will have twigged that they’re not from the deep south of America, and didn’t make their way over to settle in Bentham and preach “Jesus’ Love” (search for The Gospel According To A Lumberjack Cowboy online for the full background).

A typical Lumberjacks crowd

A typical Lumberjacks crowd

Frontman and songwriter Jimi Ogden – AKA Jimbob – has laid down the gauntlet on all that, as the Lumberjacks prepare for the launch of their sixth album and final few shows.

Having heard an early edit of this as yet unnamed offering I can concur with Jimi that it is indeed their best one yet.

“We’ve travelled around the country lying to people for five years, but it’s the people of Lancaster that get the joke,” Jimi confides in amusement.

“It was the idea of being subversive in the way that we wanted to play some good music and provoke some feelings within the audience.

“No subject was out of bounds, and we’d try without fail to go ahead with every gig just to see what the reactions would be. Over the years the reactions have been quite astonishing. Some people have walked out, while others have completely embraced it. Some people dance and don’t listen to the words, and some people tell us they just stand there and listen to the words.

“We’ve been loved by religious groups and Darwin evolutionists alike.”

It’s this connection with their audiences that have defined the Lumberjacks over the years, and the reason that I’ve been to watch them on more occasions than any other band. It’s addictive, unrestricted, musical gratification with a pulsating beat and a lyrical content that gives even the most respected songwriters a run for their money.

Jimi said: “When people come and see us they’re not afraid of singing and dancing.

“I finished Dent Festival this year by telling the audience: ‘Don’t you forget to tell your children in the morning that you f*@king love them’.

“It’s something that people can’t argue with.”

Jimi is heading off to Poland later this year to be with a loved one, and the band will play their final show in Lancaster on September 11.

They’re currently recording the new album with Alan Gregson at West Orange Studios in Preston.

Alan, who is also producing the album and doing string arrangements, has worked with Cornershop in the past and will be performing with The Lumberjacks at their two shows at Beat-herder Festival this weekend.

“For the first time, for the Beat-herder gigs, I’m going to put my guitar down and deliver the songs like I’ve always wanted to, with Alan playing guitar and piano for all the last gigs. The ironic thing is that we’re the only band in the world to release three albums on Christmas Day, and on September 11 we’re going to be the only band to play their final gig and launch a new album on the same day. It’s the best album we’ve done. It’s bonkers but it feels like it’s exactly what the truckers would do.”

The Lumberjacks - also featuring Sam Lawrence on guitar and vocals, John Simm on drums, Nick Wilson on drums, and Diane Sheron and Louise Miller on “vocalisation” – will perform at 2pm on Beat-herder’s main stage on July 18, and then again in the Trailer Trash tent at 9pm the same day.