“The gates are open,” he sings, voice breaking just a bit, not quite hitting the notes he’s reaching for, accompanying himself on guitar, the melody as sweet as the song is plaintive and touched with sadness. “It’s been a long peaceful season,” he sighs.
The CD, Jack’s seventh, titled Space Folk, is a throwback to a simpler and more innocent time. An acoustic outing that will delight purists, Space Folk is about the songs, and songs Jack can certainly write. His poetic lyrics and melodic tunes, recall Townes Van Zandt in their poignant longing and laid back delivery.
Jack’s been playing guitar and writing songs since he was fourteen. Growing up in the Northern Suburbs of Chicago, he played around his hometown during high school and while attending community college.
He recorded his first album in a friend’s bedroom in 1999.
Years spent traveling around the States, following girls, landing here and there, including this neck of the woods, served him well as he observed and chronicled what he saw in song. In 2010 after returning to Chicago and completing a bachelor’s degree in creative writing, he headed out West once more, eventually making his way to Taos.
I met Jack when he first started work at the World Cup Cafe, a lone male barristo in an environment that had been home to many young women (my daughter Genevieve included), for over a decade, nary a guy in sight.
When Jack showed up, I had to do a double take; he so closely resembled my daughter’s husband, If not for the fact he was a few inches shorter, he was a dead ringer, a doppelgänger.
We bonded in that moment of shock and have had a lovely connection since. I only heard Jack play live once, but my long background in the Music Industry (and especially my time on the Anti-Folk scene), has left my ears as sharp as they ever were and I can hear a “song” a mile away.
Jack writes real songs, songs that have legs, songs that can go the distance.
Tomorrow Jack is leaving for the summer. He’s landing in Barcelona and going from there. The road is open and wanderlust beckons. He’ll have his guitar and his songs. Plus a few CD’s for sale. He’s long been on the road in between landing and writing and recording. His degree in Literature keeps his pen moving and the guitar close by, keeps him on the troubadour track.
I’ll miss Jack and the excellent coffee he makes, and when he returns, I plan to help him get these songs of his out into the wider world, into the hands of a few people who may be able to give them wings.
They are too good to stay here or in Jack’s backpack.
Jack’s CD, Space Folk is for sale at the World Cup Cafe in Taos and on Sound Cloud