Monday, February 28, 2011


(Jack performs his song, "Harder Than Easy")

AN: Tell me a little bit about your songwriting process. Do you write your music and lyrics separately, or do you compose every part of a song at once?

JS: Every song is different!! Some show up unexpectedly - others take all night. In Nashville, they have a theory that every guitar has a certain amount of songs in it and when you pick one up, you might be lucky enough to find one.

If you could take credit for writing any song from the last five years, what would it be?
It's a close call between "High Road" by The Broken Bells and "The Wild Hunt" by The Tallest Man On Earth.

You started out as a poet and didn’t pick up a guitar until you were 16-years-old. What made you decide to apply your work to music and become a songwriter rather than just remain a poet? 

I dont really know. I am still not sure why. When I come home, the first thing I do is pick up a guitar and write a song.

Songwriters are often exceptional storytellers because they have to work extra hard to condense an entire narrative into a 3-4 minute song. Do you ever foresee yourself stretching out your stories and experimenting with different kinds of writing -- like musician Josh Ritter is doing by coming out with his first novel this summer?

It's definitely something I would love to try later on in life. All my songs have to be experience –based, so for now three-and-a-half minutes is more than enough.

Your first album Between The Minds seems to be a little more acoustically driven than Harder Than Easy – in that it relies mostly on you and your guitar, whereas the following one incorporated a lot of other instruments as well. What type of musical evolution do you anticipate for your third release? 

I’ve always said since making the first record that I never wanted two of my records to sound the same. But I always wanted them to sound like MY record. You wont know how different this one is until you hear it.

Photo: Fabrizio Rainone What else can you tell me about the next record? How far into writing/recording are you? Is there a release date yet? Any surprises that your fans can look forward to?

As of now, I am in the studio with my old friend Steve Booker getting the core of the album finished. There are already some collaborations that might turn a few heads but I can't tell you what or who they are.

Countless critics have praised you as “the next Bob Dylan.” What type of pressure does a label like that put on your artistry? 

I don't think I am anything like Bob Dylan. However, it is always incredibly flattering to be compared to anybody I admire.

If you weren’t a musician/writer, what would you be doing? 

My boyhood dream dream was to be a footballer.

Your music has been played on numerous television shows, such as One Tree Hill, Grey’s Anatomy, The Cleaner, and Greek, as well as in films like The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 and Post Grad. How has that type of exposure impacted your career?

I am eternally grateful to shows like these for giving a platform to musicians like myself who don't have many stages to stand  on. They have introduced so many artists to so many people that otherwise would probably never had the chance to hear all the different type of music that are out there.

What musicians and writers have been the greatest sources of inspiration for you?

The first real songwriters to get through to me were mainly the ones from the California scene in the 60's and 70’s -- Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Tim Hardin, Simon and Garfunkel, The Bad and Bob Dylan. They all really made me sit up and listen.

Have you ever bought an album solely for the cover art? 

Ben Harper’s The Will To Live. Still one of my favorite albums and album covers.

If you were to be sentenced to a year on a deserted island and were only allowed to bring five things with you, what would they be? 

My wife, my guitar, a supply of wine, a supply of pasta, and a fishing rod.

What do you find to be the most rewarding way a person can react to hearing your music?

When they listen!

Jack's music is available on iTunes
Originally published on Crazytown Blog

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