This is Jack O'Rourke
A songwriter who first came to prominence with his ode to growing up different, ‘Silence’ - which became a torch song for the Irish Marriage Equality Referendum - Jack went on to release his debut album Dreamcatcher to massive acclaim, peaking at No.5 in the Irish album charts and drawing huge critical praise – Tony Clayton Lea calling it “a seriously good album from a seriously good songwriter” in The Ticket and Lauren Murphy describing it as “a highly accomplished debut” in The Sunday Times.
Jack’s voice - a rich baritone capable of ethereal falsetto, wraps around his tunes like a waif. Hunched around a piano, Jack is a subtle and intense performer, “showing a deftness when it comes to dissecting the minutiae of relationships and examining the human condition in a manner worthy of lyrical forebears Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits”, Don Johnston, The Irish Examiner.
Jack manages to combine that most difficult and delicate of writing traits – the ability to convey the personal whilst making it universal. The piano always remains central to what Jack does. His songs are innovative yet rooted in the traditions of folk, blues and parlour ballads – this juxtaposition of the past and the present has led to national radio play, international festival appearances, winning the Nashville Songwriting Competition (judges including Tom Waits) and playing St. James’ Church in Dingle for Other Voices after the release of his critically acclaimed 2ndcollection of songs, “Ivory Towers” “With Ivory Towers, Jack has established himself as one of the country's most gifted songwriters", Hotpress.
The Corkman’s grasp of a song, as songwriter and interpreter has led to several notable collaborations to date; namely with Glen Hansard at Other Voices, the Irish Chamber Orchestra at Vicar St, vocals with Imelda May, Hot House Flowers and Bell X1, while joining the Freezer Room ensemble at Electric Picnic with the likes of Wallis Bird and Tracy K. His collaboration with electronic producer Kormac has yielded the hit ‘New Day’ with almost half a million views on YouTube to date. His version of Joni Mitchell’s perennial “River” with Loah at Other Voices was named a highlight of the festival in 2018 by Una Mullally. More collaborations are following, with Jack singing harmony with artists as diverse as I Have a Tribe to Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh on a monthly online series he created during lockdown called Blendz.
In this most uncertain period for artists, Jack has been recording 12 new songs for his yet to be released third album – returning to the piano for a sparse folk-tinged set, in the tradition of The McGarrigles and Richard Thompson – lyric and melody centered. One of these new compositions, “Strange Bird” reflects on the idea of coming home during this time.