A couple of weeks ago I met up with Jacco Gardner and his band: Frank Maston (keys), Ben Rider (Guitar), Nic Niggebrugge (Drums) and Jasper Verhulst (Bass) in Chiavari, on the Northern Italian Riviera before the first leg of their Italian tour. Having started the drive from Amsterdam the day before, they arrived in the small, picturesque Ligurian town just a couple of hours before sunset. As soundcheck drew to a close and a menacing raincloud appeared in the sky above us, the sun peeked from behind the clouds for a brief moment before setting behind the green mountains around the coast as Ben intoned the first couple of verses to Here Comes The Sunputting a smile on the faces of the vacationers taking their evening stroll.

We then briefly tried a Jammed Tapes Session on some rocks by the seaside, but time constraints and technical difficulties (well, the tape got jammed..) made the video unusable, so we agreed to postpone the session to the next day in Milan. Meanwhile, in Chiavari, the outdoor concert begun before a crowd of pensioners, children and music enthusiasts who had traveled from the nearby towns, all sitting on carefully arranged chairs a-la-Monterey-Pop in order to enjoy Jacco‘s oneirically crafted, gentle baroque pop. As the concert developed, the sense of musical complicity between the band-members became apparent as each member of the band contributed in their own way to add even more sentiment and beauty to the reproduction of the Dutch minstrel’s ethereal music, who introduced himself and everyone else onstage as “We’re Jacco Gardner“.

As the concert drew to a close the whole audience, including its grizzled attendees, reached out to meet him and thank him for the soundtrack to a beautiful mid-summer’s night that brought back memories of youth and kickstarted new musical interests. After the band had finished packing up their equipment, we sat down on a bench eating gelato and talked about music, travels and Italy. It was then that the buff, and initially menacing looking life-guard from the beach beside us came up to speak to Jacco in the most cordial of ways, congratulating him on his music and humbly asking for an autograph – the power of music can turn brutes into the most gentle of beings. After we said our goodbyes I drove through the night back to Milan, where I would meet them the next day before their gig.

As I arrived to Magnolia in the late afternoon just before their soundcheck, they told me about the beautiful sights, tastes and sounds they had been experiencing on the way up to Milan over Ben’s strumming of Pink Floyd’s Paintbox. After soundcheck we strolled to the park behind the venue were we sat under a weeping willow tree near the artificial lake, which was to be the backdrop to the beautiful, stripped down version of one of Jacco‘s new songs, Outside Forever. 

Outside Forever is the patient tale of devotion to a lover whose heart seems to have changed paths. Your thoughts travel to dreamy future destinations together, but your loneliness drags you back to reality, leaving you waiting outside their emotional sphere. Changes and experiences in your life make you move on to greener pastures, but although everything looks bright, there will always be a tree in the background whose leaves fall and remind you of the life there once was.

After we shot Outside Forever we moved to a rose bush behind the weeping willow tree to film a song with Maston, stay tuned to see the video and read all about it on Thursday!



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