About Jack West
“Small town living/Got a big city vision” from [‘21’]
That lyric, from a song on his sophomore studio album, NUMB, sums up Jack West, the singer-songwriter phenom who just turned 18 from Rochester, NY, town, perfectly. He is, at once, a teenager writing and recording in his bedroom and a well-traveled rock ‘n’ roll veteran. He’s already toured the country, performed with Eddie Vedder when he was just 12, and recorded two albums and an EP, while releasing a series of singles, including last year’s “Missing Out,” which featured a solo by Pearl Jam’s Mike McCreedy.
While the pandemic ravaged the country over the past two years, young West was busy writing and recording the nine new songs on NUMB – and an additional eight more tracks he intends to release on another album before the end of the year.
Coming off last year’s techno-driven single, “A Little Shine,” West’s musical direction continues to take off in new directions, with a hazy, psychedelic feel to the music that reflects our collective isolation during Covid, and the increasing reliance on social media to connect, even as we remain trapped alone in our individual silos. The constant refrain is like a pep talk to ourselves that we’re going to get through this, we’ll be OK, but without any certainty of it.
“That’s why I believe people will relate to what I’m singing about,” says West. “Especially kids my age.”
Indeed, NUMB offers a running travelogue and diary of the last couple of years in West’s life, starting with the first track and single, “Montreal,” a propulsive, electro-driven song – Tame Impala meets Gary Numan – about the “shit hitting the fan” in a relationship with his hometown girlfriend while separated; Jack in San Francisco and she in the title’s Canadian city. “The album is like a book, with each song a different chapter,” says Jack. “I like to write about real things. I’ll sit in my room for hours, record all night, and go to school with no sleep the next day.”
NUMB is an album unabashedly influenced by heightened experiences, what Jack has referred to as “dream-pop acid music,” with hints of ‘60s psychedelia (a trippy take on the Doors’ “Love Street”), ‘80s Brit synthpop (“Montreal”) and up-to-date lo-fi beats (“Candy Flip”), taking us to actual cities (“Goodbye LA,” with its Laurel Canyon folk-acoustic guitar or “21,” reflecting the urban grit of New York’s Central Park), while ruminating about missed connections, experiences gained and lessons learned.
“That’s just personally the way I’ve been feeling the last two years,” admits Jack. “And I know a lot of other people feel the same way. We’ve all lost something during this time, either loved ones, jobs or relationships.”
There are songs that touch on such teenage tropes as jealousy and regret (“All Good”), best friends in rehab (“10:15”) or one-night stands (“21”).
“It’s old and new at the same time,” says Jack about his musical growth. “I’m modernizing the past.”
Jack West is wise beyond his years. He was barely 13 years old when he wrote “Old Soul” four years ago and since then, has released a debut album (2019’s For the Record), a live EP (2020’s Live at Easy Street Records from a performance at the renowned Seattle retail store) and a handful of “Covid singles,” including “Forever,” “The Last Arcade,” “Missing You” and “A Little Shine.”
His touring resume includes performances at the 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, NJ.
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.”
No longer a wunderkind, Jack West is becoming a man and a first-class musician in front of our eyes and ears. NUMB finds him graduating into the big leagues.
NUMB is slated for release on Friday, May 20, 2022