As a songwriter, composer, storyteller, and musician, Jake Sorgen’s sound has developed over the past years and nestled somewhere in between observation and chronicle. Jake’s musical story is one of reinvention in which the places, faces, and methods of music-making are constant in their changes over time and recordings.
With his upcoming EP, In Transit, Jake has managed to merge his somewhat unorthodox musical upbringing in free improvisation with his ear and academic-like knowledge of American and Anglo folk music. In Transit features six songs written during the same period of time Jake wrote his debut LP Sudden Myth, taking his sound and lyrical preoccupations to new places and spaces without sacrificing the intimacy and effortlessness that made up what reviewers called “a colorful and original sonic journey.” Of the new songs, recently fine-tuned on a New England tour, one writer said “The dynamism in his guitar strumming paralleled the intensity of the lyrical content, creating a minimal yet cohesive musical message….the depth of the lyrical content, however, in no way sacrificed accessibility.”
Place remains a pillar of Jake’s preoccupations. New York’s Catskill Mountains; Boston; Ohio, Marburg, Germany; Barcelona; Prague; and London all turn up in the sharp lyrics and unique song structures of Jake’s sound as his feet precede notebooks.
In January 2010, Jake headed to a small town south of Amsterdam where he lived while traveling to Germany, Spain, England, and the Czech Republic. Early on he purchased a small 3/4 sized guitar and a palm-sized notebook which were seldom far from his side. Ironically, having removed himself from virtually all contact with the states, it was during this time that he began writing pages and pages of songs that followed more modal, basic chord patterns and emphasized many of the themes common to American folk music. The events, experiences, and songs that came out of that time culminated in a forty-page songbook from which Sudden Myth was created.
Jake’s four albums in two years - Glasco, Remarkable Feeler, The Homage Project, and the debut LP Sudden Myth - each expand and diverge in significant ways from each other and provide a timeline of growth in songwriting and musicianship. Glasco and Remarkable Feeler have proven to be blunt and raw experimentations that would lead to the style and scope of Sudden Myth while the as yet unreleased Homage Project took Jake’s inquiry and insight to new levels as he delved deep into the Irish literary and musical tradition.
Since the release of Sudden Myth, Jake has returned to the drawing board and once again found ways to reinvent not only his sound but his approach to making music. As he began recording new songs during the summer of 2012, the songs felt at once stripped of any frivolities and yet more intentional, sharp, and strong than anything previous. In addition Jake’s wandering musical mind has led him to incredible collaborations. In 2009 Jake founded an interdisciplinary journal with writers, musicians, photographers, and designers. For four years Jake served as the Editor of The Common Voice which continues to be a beacon for innovative and original art in Boston. In early 2012 Jake was asked to compose a score for the Boston-based Rareworks Theatre’s production of Brian Friel’s Lovers and Marina Carr’s By the Bog of Cats. The score, available to stream in its entirety, shows clear indications of a more avant-garde or free folk direction he has continued to move in ever since.
Whether deeply personal or worldly observant, Jake’s music continues to expand and challenge itself as its listeners grow and move with it.