Is a dream a lie if it don't come true, or is it something worse? - Bruce Springsteen
Don’t believe the people who loudly proclaim that urgency is the remit of youth, that rock is the privilege of adolescent rebellion. Urgency presents itself, cruelly, whenever you find yourself up against it, when the “now-or-never” keeps you up at night, when you realize that a dream that doesn’t come true is worse than a lie.
Jack Art is a seasoned, Paris-based musician who long ago started a music career that didn’t pan out the way he had hoped. Tired of waiting around for his break, he locked away his artistic dream in a drawer and became something of the ideal son-in-law: a wife, kids, good money from a job in finance. A comfortable place in life, like they say. But can you really be warm when the fire inside is going out?
Four years ago, Jack Art resurrected his dream and set back down that uncertain path of the creative, leaving the security of his old life far behind him, and at the risk of losing everything. Everything, that is, except what matters most: his identity. Against all the odds, in 2017 he put out the album The Life and Times of Candy Rose, along with his very own version of the E. Street Band, Asbury Jukes, Silver Bullet Band or the Heartbreakers: The Jack Art Band.
An engaging concept album through which all of his talents as a songwriter, musician and storyteller burst into the ears of anyone lucky enough to hear it. He could have left it at that and continued in that same electric, electrifying vein, but the allure of change, of defiance, insisted on making itself heard one more time. Not a man content to rest on his laurels, his search for intensive self-expression is never over.
In March 2020, he’s releasing his first solo album: the intimate and very personal The Outsider. Ten absolutely mind-blowing tracks, stripped down to their pure essentials (voice, piano and/or guitar, with a touch of harmonica or steel guitar here and there), mixed and mastered by Bernard Natier (Montreux Jass Festival, Rita Mitsouko, Les Innocents, Genesis and…The Jack Art Band!), produced with the help of his loyal friend Daniel Abecassis.
The Outsider is a singer-songwriter album, along the lines of the masters of the genre, such as Carole King, Jackson Browne or even Elliott Murphy. But don’t count on straying far from the electric guitars and blaring amps synonymous with the urgency of rock and roll -- this album was written and produced in record time.
This spontaneity nevertheless draws on a maturity of language and lyrical depth reminiscent of the acoustic albums from a certain boss from New Jersey.
This comes through in the first single, Chin up Sally, the story of a woman worn out from her sad everyday life and a call to lift her head high, which stirs echos of the words of John Mellencamp in his song The Real Life (Lonesome Jubilee).
It’s said that France isn’t a land of rock and roll and that Frenchmen who try their hand at the genre often can’t help but leave a sense of copy/paste. But Jack Art is different. He’s a man with a life story – his life nourishes his art, and vice-versa.
Jack Art is an outsider. A true outsider. The kind you don’t expect to find anymore, who at a time not so long ago wouldn’t have bet on himself either.
But even the outsiders, those first-cousins of the beautiful losers, end up hitting the jackpot sometimes: Even the losers get luck sometimes… (Tom Petty).
Admirable Nelson - February 2020