Jack Wilson
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Jack Wilson

Austin, Texas, United States | INDIE

Austin, Texas, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Folk

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"Album review for Jack Wilson s/t"

Jack Wilson splits his time between the comfy, southern warmth of Austin and the cooler, sopping city that is Seattle. While he’s in Seattle, he’s backed by the Wife Stealers, and elsewhere, it’s pretty much just him. On his latest self-titled, Wilson zig-zags between full-on Americana rock, and solemn, poetic lullabies about places and people of timeless impact. He opens his album with the sound of footfalls on loose gravel — a sound that is immediately evocative of distance and mindful wandering — a more than appropriate prelude to an album that looks to transport the listener to the image of Americana locked away in Wilson’s head.

Typically, having a band to back you up — even just having other musicians present — is a sure fire way to (1) make singer/songwriters tighten-up, and (2) fill out those acoustic ballads that were originally composed in the solitude of a bedroom. (Wilson even sings “anyone sounds strong in a living room all alone,” on the track “Dogwood Days”.) The Wife Stealers and other various musicians who played with Wilson leave their mark on more raucous songs, and lend the aesthetic to more alt-country tendencies than they do folk rock. Right from the get-go “Valhalla”, the album opener, allows Wilson to show off a little narrative-riffing before an expansive chorus explodes through the cones with bittersweet Ryan Adams flare. Other tracks follow a similar format disposed of on the opener and other rockers on the record by counterpointing guitar and heavy rhythm section work against spacious and evocative choruses. “The Cure” stands out by a quick country shuffle and complimentary horns over which Wilson pleads, “Oh I swear I’m not the same, not the same.”

While these tunes might wow a crowd during performance, they’re nothing more than your standard country/folk rock that you might hear on a Wednesday night out at the Hole in the Wall. It’s even hard to listen to the album closer, “The Truth” without the context of a live setting. As a progressive, country anthem, it’s the perfect set closer, but on record, the ‘good will to all men’ message struggles to fit. In the full band setting, Wilson can’t quite find his footing or his strength and those treads heard in opening start to sound like steps of caution.

The most rewarding moments on this album are found in Wilson’s indulgences. “Red Feather” features Wilson’s mellow, mid-range humming over beautiful finger-picking — a perfect transport to Wilson’s vision of Americana: humble, homely, with earthy character, and probably the exact feeling that the wanderer had as he walked along the gravel in the album’s beginning. “Clean”, a ‘shaking the drug habit’ tune sung in major harmony is a winner that does a lot with simple melody and pushy fiddle solos. “Dogwood Days” paints a clever scene of two lovers trying to get along and help each other tending to the house during the holidays. It’s a direct looking glass into Wilson’s psyche, a place where his strongest abilities — lyricism and sentimentality — are set to shine: “I know home’s just a word and a dream and a picture and you and me.” Wilson has the distinct ability to write about intangibles and he does so beautifully on the breathtaking “I’ll Do the Same” and “Fell Inside.”

Trying to fit a folk musician into a bar band isn’t easy. Neither is trying to put country rock into a folk album, but Wilson finds a neutrality among his influences that allows him to pull it off. He is a studied songwriter that has some really good tunes and his debut solo work sets the bar high for his first individual effort outside of the confines of the Wife Stealers. Through moments of bar rockers about druggies and relationships and lucid, melancholy gems about the same, Jack Wilson — and his wanderer — find solid ground - Austin Sound


"Top 5 Records of 2010"

Top Five Albums of 2010
1. Joe Pug - Messenger
2. Various Artists - Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine
3. Jack Wilson - EP / Self-titled
4. Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More
5. The Black Keys - Brothers

Top Ten Songs of 2010:
1. "Spanish Pipedream" by The Avett Brothers
2. "Speak Plainly, Diana" by Joe Pug
3. "Valhalla" by Jack Wilson
4. "Lullabies, Legends, and Lies" by My Morning Jacket
5. "Winter Winds" by Mumford & Sons
6. "Daddy Learned to Fly" by Drive-By Truckers
7. "Been Down By Love" by John Meeks
8. "Hard Row to Hoe" by Brother Dege
9. "Lost Love & Indie Rockers" by Sons of Bill
10. "Angel Dance" by Robert Plant - Hickory Wind


"Album review for Jack Wilson s/t (France)"

Le nom de Jack Wilson est associé à de nombreux artistes de la scène de Seattle défendus en ces pages comme Sera Cahoone, The Maldives ou The Moondoggies. C’est déjà une bonne raison pour s’intéresser au bonhomme mais heureusement pas la seule. Originaire d’Austin, Wilson a grandit à deux pas du domicile de Townes Van Zandt avant de rejoindre Seattle en 2006. Un an plus tard, il forme avec des musiciens du cru les Wife Stealers qui l’assistent sur son premier album, America’s National Entertainment (2008).

On le découvre aujourd’hui avec un album éponyme de 11 titres lancé sur les chapeaux de roue par une belle valse constellée de cuivres baptisée Valhalla. Tout en délicatesse, I’ll Do The Same avance à pas feutrés entre cordes et pedal-steel. The Cure est un country-rock endiablé richement orchestré qui n’est pas sans rappeller Band of Horses. Dans le même esprit, Paying For Misery (Thanks To You) et The Watchers tirent également avantage des qualités d’un groupe très affuté. - There's Always Someone Cooler Than You (Blog)


"Album review for Jack Wilson s/t (Netherlands)"

Er zijn van die albums waarvan je al na een paar draaibeurten weet dat je de muziek heel lang zult koesteren. Dit titelloze Jack Wilson (eigen beheer) is zo’n cd. Jack Wilson maakt organische countryrock van een pracht zoals we het kennen van The Band. Hij brengt een soort stijlvariant die het best te situeren valt in uitgestrekte wouden. Net zoals bij The Band het geval was dus. Ook die band maakte eigenlijk nooit pure countryrock. Jack Wilson komt overigens gewoon uit een stad. Twee steden eigenlijk, want hij verdeelt zijn tijd tussen Austin, Texas, en Seattle, Washington. Samen met zijn band The Wife Stealers switcht hij van langzame nummers naar midtempo en snellere liedjes. Met zijn licht klaaglijke stem trekt hij het spoor waarlangs een treurige viool of pedal steel volgen. Prachtige accenten worden gelegd door The Wife Stealers en diverse gastmuzikanten. Op drie nummers zijn ook blazers present. Qua sfeer doet Jack Wilson ook wel iets denken aan Granfaloon Bus. Heeft te maken met die toch wat hoge stem en ook de uitgebreide instrumentatie en uitgekiende songstructuren dragen daar toe bij. Clean is een liedje dat meer weg heeft van The Schramms, terwijl The Watchers zo op die prachtige titelloze elpee van Rick Danko had kunnen staan. Op dat liedje rekt Wilson de noten op tot waar hij er nog maar net bij kan. Topplaat. Verkrijgbaar bij CD Baby. - Altcountry.nl


"Album Review for Jack Wilson s/t"

" The latest album from this Seattle-via-Austin singer-songwriter is an impressive set of ‘70s-influenced country-rock and folk reminiscent of Neil Young and The Band, with the songs ranging from energetic, soul-tinged rockers to spare, intimate ballads. Wilson’s evolved into a first-rate songwriter, and his plaintive vocals have never sounded stronger."

-Don Slack
- 90.3 KEXP Seattle


"Album Review for Jack Wilson s/t"

Jack Wilson wants to show you things. His new self titled record is a picture show; snapshots of americana through the eyes of this Austin/Seattle songwriter who has decidedly found his voice through the sometimes muddy genre labels of folk/country, ostensibly americana. With songs like the opening track “Valhalla”, Wilson starts out slow but with a certain, deliberate, momentum. It’s opening sounds of footsteps on gravel and a rainstorm in the background give way to reverb guitars and wispy horns that are scattered beautifully all across the album. Within “Valhalla” lies the outline of a record that is at one time traditional in it’s approach and at the same time from the hip. It starts out slow. A folk record with something lying just beneath the surface.

Things really get going on “The Cure”. The Wife Stealers, Jack’s backing band when he’s in Seattle, surround Wilson with a fast paced foundation for a portrait of people who can’t escape their nature, no matter how hard they try. With The Wife Stealers Wilson takes license to experiment with the boundaries of his own artistic voice within the loose parameters that is “American” music. “Black Hills Fiction” starts out a slow confederate hymn story with a whining fiddle and soft pedal steel, progressing into a black Johnny Horton style jam about the horror and reality of manifest destiny. A look at the duality of the romance in history and reality of it’s outcome. A duality that can be paralleled with the music itself that Wilson has been influenced by.

Weaving between The Wife Stealers and a more stripped down solo sound, Jack Wilson makes his way through songs that show influence as well as a independent grasp of the music that he wants to make. A portrait of a songwriter, a slide show of a road trip through the heart of an ever changing landscape, of americana music itself. - Sound on the Sound


"Review for Jack Wilson s/t (Netherlands)"

Jack Wilson is geboren in Austin en beïnvloed door singer-songwriters als Townes Van Zandt, Jerry Jeff Walker en Willie Nelson. De folkrockzanger heeft in het voorprogramma gestaan van acts als The Moondoggies, Sera Cahoone, Damien Jurado, The Maldives en Elliott Brood. In 2008 maakte hij, samen met zijn begeleidingsband The Wife Stealers de cd “America’s National Entertainment”. De naamloze nieuwe cd van Jack Wilson is in de herfst van 2009 in Seattle opgenomen met producer Alex Kostelnik. Op deze plaat kan hij wederom rekenen op steun van The Wife Stealers, bestaande uit: Ava Cole (keyboard), Jose Diaz (basgitaar), Joe rayhbuck (drums), Jason Williams (gitaar), Shenandoah Davis (zang), Jacob breitbach (viool), David Moss (cello), Andrew pressman (acoustische gitaar) trevor smith (banjo), Dave Wilmoth (mandoline).

Het album bevat verbluffend mooie liedjes. De songs maken bij de eerste beluistering al een onuitwisbare indruk. Jack heeft als muzikant een aantal gaven. Hij is een talentvolle songwriter en begaafd gitarist van de fingerpicking stijl. Hij beschikt tevens over een opvallende en emotievolle stem. Het album kenmerkt zich door een gevarieerde benadering van de folk en rockmuziek, waarin de stemmen van Jack en Ava Cole, samen met de overweldigende beheersing van de instrumenten zoals gitaar, cello en viool een belangrijke rol spelen. Mooie voorbeelden daarvan zijn de dromerige en mijmerende nummers Fell Inside en I’ll Do The Same, waar Jack bijgestaan wordt door David Moss op de cello. Poëtische songs als The Truth en Dogwood Days worden spannend en intens gedragen. Hartverwarmende samenzang van Jack en Ava is te beluisteren in Clean en Paying For Misery, waarin de stemmen van het tweetal elkaar op fraaie wijze ondersteunen. The Watchers en The Cure rocken lekker weg met doordringend electrisch gitaarspel en soulvol klinkende blazers. Ik hoop dat deze artiest uit Seattle de nodige erkenning en waardering in Nederland gaat krijgen. Deze naamloze cd is gewoonweg een dijk van een plaat. - AltCountryForum.nl


"No Depression Festival kick off party Preview"

I first heard Wilson's music a few years back when he was opening for Sera Cahoone (apparently one of the more frequent ways I've discovered new local artists). He started his set with a Townes Van Zandt cover, which was pretty much the right thing to do to catch my attention, and I quickly became enamored with his sentimental and rocking approach to the narrative folk song tradition. (Full disclosure: we've since become friends.) Whether he's playing solo or with a sizable band that includes horns (like on his latest release), Wilson sticks to what matters most to the song. He now divides his time between Austin and Seattle, and his music sounds about equal parts Texas and Washington. Here's a video: - NoDepression.com


"Up and Coming"

Jack Wilson has the kind of heartfelt, wizened voice that lots of country-folk men have: It's a warm, pull-up-a-barstool-and-I'll-tell-you-a-story-of-heartbreak-my-friend kind of a voice. Lots of musicians coast on that kind of voice, writing songs about how their true love has hair like shafts of wheat but not anymore because she is dead or some silly shit like that. But Wilson ventures out into the fringes of country to push at expectations in a tremendously satisfying way. He out-and-out croons, for instance, on "Out of Bed," stretching his voice in a way that, say, Bonnie "Prince" Billy would never dare to risk. And Wilson writes some straight-up romantic duets, too; he's not afraid to drop the pretense and craft a love song that works. PAUL CONSTANT - THE STRANGER, Seattle


"Song of the Day"

“Life’s a Movie” by Jack Wilson and the Wife Stealers
By Kim Ruehl Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008 @ 3:35 PM

Austin, Texas, is a very special place for music. There’s an energy in that town that exists nowhere else, and you can always tell when a songwriter has spent some quality time soaking up the singer-songwriter scene there. Jack Wilson is one of those artists who just seems to bring a little taste of Austin way out here to Seattle. His music possesses that cryptic dark sadness that artists like Steve Earle and Townes Van Zandt have brought to Texas music. “Life’s a Movie” sees Wilson and his band, the Wife Stealers tackling the same darkness and sadness that seems to grow out of the cracks of their album, America’s National Entertainment. Even the sentimental images and the lightness of the song’s harmony carry with them a heaviness. The whole thing is perfect for this week of rain and dreariness. Crank it up and pour yourself a glass of something strong. - SOUND Magazine (Seattle)


"Album review for"

There's an inherent darkness that lives in alt-country music. A defiance that draws the listener through black holes of emotion, past sighing electric guitars and drum beat that pound like morning-after headaches...Wilson and the Wife Stealers' ability to go there, however, adds some depth to the sadness. It's not all a cranky, brooding mess. "Basil Tree", for example, is a love song manipulating the thematic elements of government and terrorism into some semblance of sweetness. The greatest attribute to "Out of Bed" is the hymn-like harmony that accompanies Wilson's scratchy voice throughout..."

-kim ruehl - SOUND Magazine (Seattle)


"Sunset Tavern review"

"i went into the jack wilson & co. set on monday night with expectations defined and met: heartbreak and fistfights, simultaneous ... circa seeing them open for elliott brood last month at the tractor. they're firmly lodged for me somewhere between indie rock and americana, the space needle and a dusty front porch somewhere in the midwest. you know... wurlitzers and well-worn guitars. it was the last night of their october residency at the sunset, and they brought it. brought. it." - ThreeImaginaryGirls.com


"The New Seattle Sound"

"On a winter night like any given winter night- mid-week, rain and unseasonably warm temperatures- the Tractor Tavern is hosting another pack of roots bands. For four hours, the hipsters and suburbanites rub shoulders and beers bonding over music. Molly Rose with her sweet voice and poetic imagery, starts the night, followed by Jack Wilson & the Wife Stealers, whose songs are part Dylan, part Hank Williams Sr. Each band employs acoustic guitars over electrics, rhythmic strums and flatpicking dynamics instead of heavy drumming and hollering. Heads bob and shake to songs about rural scenery, the sonic swell of a good solid fiddle solo, and two voices in harmony. It's all starting to look like what could be called the New Seattle Sound."

Kim Ruehl - SOUND Magazine


"Seattle Weekly Short List"


"jack wilson carries the torch that Townes Van Zandt left burning..."

"Jack Wilson (that name just screams "sad bastard, if not "corn-liquor bootlegger")... local singer-songwriter specializing in spare, finger-plucked lonesome-highway balladry."

-Brian J. Barr - Seattle Weekly


Discography

untitled new release- due out 2/13
produced by Shenandoah Davis, mixed by Mike Coykendall (M. Ward - Transfiguration of Vincent), feat. sean nelson (harvey danger)

Jack Wilson (s/t) - (self-released) 6/10 (re-released on Fluff and Gravy Records, PDX) 3/12
Spent ten weeks in the KEXP Americana Top Ten.

Jack Wilson EP - 3/2010

America's National Entertainment LP - 2008

Photos

Bio

There's a lot I'd like to remember about the last six years I've been doing this.
There's not too much I'd care to forget.
I suppose that's good.

I needed Seattle. I needed to feel alone in the world, and I hadn't yet.
The records that we made beside the Sound were long strides away from Austin,
but I couldn't lose it. Outsider, always.

Now home, I can't lose Cascadia, I can't lose her songs. Outsider, always.

I hope that you can visit me in these tunes that I made up. It isn't a sad place.

It isn't a dark place.

But it is still, and if you can be still,
perhaps you'll see what I saw that day, when I made it all up.