Following up the phenomenal success of his first single in 2021, ‘Opera on the Top Floor’, Jack O’Rourke is back with new single ‘Patsy Cline’. 2021’s collection of songs from Jack marks something of a new departure for the enigmatic songwriter, who has enchanted live audiences and fans since the release of his debut album, Dreamcatcher, in 2016. ‘Patsy Cline’ is out on August 20, 2021.
Of the single Jack says: “’Patsy Cline’ is about a wild love – all that’s exciting and beautiful – the wild place where that exists, even in a memory. Patsy was an extraordinary singer and she could have sung anything – jazz or RnB and her phrasing travels beyond country music. To me, she’s the precursor to Janis Joplin or even Bjork or Phoebe Bridgers. Her voice is evocative and honeyed but that raw quality is always there. There’s a primal, reckless quality to her voice and I suppose in a great love, you’re being thrown in directions you never imagined, like the journey Patsy Cline brings you on in her delivery. That’s exciting but scary.”
This recklessness must have rubbed off as Jack recorded piano and vocals for ‘Patsy Cline’ at the Triskel in one take. Taking inspiration from Erykah Badu and Joni Mitchell, Jack layers harmonies like horn sections. Enlisting help from his friend Marlene Enright, her unique sense of rhythm influences the feel of the single. A string arrangement by Cormac McCarthy references early 1960’s Patsy Cline recordings. Members of Crash Ensemble also worked their magic on the single, while Davie Ryan added his distinctive beats that bring it into the 21st Century. Hugh Dillon put his signature guitar sound down, reminiscent of a pedal steel.
‘Opera on the Top Floor’ and ‘Patsy Cline’ offer a taste of Jack’s new album, Wild Place. They set the tone for what will be Jack’s most reflective collection of songs to date. Never one to shy away from the personal, the Cork songwriter has approached these recordings with a starker musical palette in mind – the arrangements representative of a more solitary, yet cathartic place, that Jack and many songwriters found themselves in over the last year. The piano and Jack’s ranging voice dominate, with subtle string arrangements to present a moving and original body of work due out later this year.
As well as recording the tracks for his new album, Jack enjoyed a very productive and collaborative 12 months; playing Other Voices and ringing in the new year as part of Home at Guinness Store House with Conor O Brien, Denise Chaila, Loah and The Mary Wallopers. He also performed with the RTE Concert Orchestra, as a soloist with Jess Kav and Moncrieff, in a tribute to Aretha Franklin (aired on Monday, 2nd August) and was chosen as a composer/songwriter in residence for 2022 at Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris.