“Here we are, we’re so fine right now”
(“A Little Shine”)
Jack West was just 13 years old when he wrote “Old Soul” in 2018, singing “An old soul is who I am...” Three years later, the preternaturally talented singer-songwriter-guitarist is now 16, with a debut album (2019’s For the Record), a live EP (2020’s Live at Easy Street Records from a New Year’s Eve performance at the renowned Seattle retail store) and a handful of “Covid singles” including “Forever” and “The Last Arcade” released in the summer and fall of 2020, under his belt.
West’s single “Missing Out,” a nod to the pandemic lockdown, features Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready who laid down a soaring guitar solo, that completed a full circle - starting with West’s performance accompanied by Eddie Vedder in Nashville, followed by the release of his first album For the Record produced by Barrett Strong who is known for his work with Pearl Jam at Strong’s Laundry Room Studio.
With his touring career taking off after an appearance at the famed BottleRock Festival in Napa, CA, followed by performances at the 50th Woodstock Celebration in Bethel, NY, and at notable rock photographer Danny Clinch’s Transparent Gallery in Asbury Park, West then saw his touring schedule cut drastically short in 2020.
“It was pretty frustrating,” acknowledges Jack of the enforced layoff, but he made good use of the time, working on an upcoming album at home and with his band in Brooklyn, exchanging sound files over the internet for a brand-new album that is due before the end of the year. “What until you hear it... Everyone will be going, ‘What the hell...’”
Indeed, West gave a little hint to his future musical direction on the synth-driven single “A Little Shine,” a track about a relationship that’s perfectly fine, though you still can’t wait to get away, what Jack shrugs and calls, in his own laid back way “just keeping it real, I guess...” His recent experimentation has led to a different process of music creation; more complex than ever before, less guitar-driven, and developed more from synths, MIDI, piano and keyboards.
“It’s dream-pop acid music,” says West, crediting Lana Del Rey’s Chemtrails Over the Country Club for some of his musical inspiration, as well as early psychedelic rock groups like The Doors and Pink Floyd, cementing his “old soul” status. “Times have changed,” he says about the past 18 months. “Things have gone off the rails for everybody.”
The result is a set of songs that tells a musical story about “growing up through all this crazy shit,” says Jack. “Everyone’s lives were turned upside down due to the pandemic, we all have different stories to tell. I am grateful to be able to express mine through my music for you all to hear.”
West put his focus into several Instagram and Facebook live performances, and was fortunate to play a handful of live shows in New York, Maryland and Philadelphia this Spring. West’s next scheduled performance is slated for summer at the 14,000-capacity CMAC in Canandaigua, New York, to honor First Responders.
BottleRock Talent Buyer Tom Hoppa called West “the forefront of the next generation of rock ‘n’ roll." His BottleRock performances captivated and awed audiences. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Jack – he is an artist for all to keep on their radar.”
How’s that for “A Little Shine?"