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Irish singer-songwriter Jack O’Rourke returns with the release of sophomore album ‘Wild Place’.

Jack O’Rourke

Jack O'Rourke, Musican, New Album Wild Place, on The Table Read

Singer, songwriter, and lyricist, Jack O’Rourke, releases his highly anticipated sophomore album, Wild Place. Emerging from the mists of a long year, sat at the piano with his distinctive, warm voice, O’Rourke has reimagined his place within the Irish music landscape – embracing his roots of folk, blues and piano balladry.

Following the release of singles Opera on the Top Floor, Patsy Cline, and Sea Swimming, which have already garnered significant airplay, Jack has approached this new collection of songs by opening himself up more, resulting in some of his most emotional and raw writing to date. 

The Inspiration

Focusing on the links between literature and nature, the artist writes about inspiration, the wildness of love, as well as healing from pain and grief. Wild Place is Jack’s first release since 2019’s Ivory Towers and his second full-length album following his critically acclaimed debut, Dreamcatcher, which reached the Top 5 in the Irish Charts. In the subsequent years, Jack has established himself as one of Ireland’s finest songsmiths and a live performer favourite up and down the country.

“Jack O’Rourke as an artist and a performer shows 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

Recording Wild Place

For the recording of Wild Place, Jack and his band based themselves at Triskel Christchurch in Cork, Ireland. As a group, they took advantage of the incredible acoustics as well as the historic grand piano much to great effect. Both are prominent throughout the entire record.

The final result made Jack’s most endearing body of work to date, containing songs that emanate from a soulful and folk-inspired place – where stories and narratives are universal, moving and multi-layered. Musical touchstones include Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Nick Cave and Paul Brady. In the same way that Carole King’s Tapestry provided comfort after Vietnam, O’Rourke’s Wild Place wraps its sparse and roots-based arrangements around the listener like a hug after these difficult two years. 

The performer first came to prominence in 2015 with his LGBTQ anthem Silence. The song went on to become a torch song for the now historical Irish marriage equality referendum.  The track became an anthem for equality all over. Later, Silence went on to win the Nashville Songwriting Competition for lyrics which was judged by the likes of Tom Waits, Bill Withers, and others. 

Other Voices

In 2019, the songwriter was chosen to headline Other Voices where Jack featured prominently in the television series. Most recently O’Rourke took part in the OV Home special along with Loah, Villagers, as well as Denise Chaila. The Cork native’s collaboration New Day, with electronic artist Kormac, has amassed 500,000 views to date as well as winning the ICAD Silver Bell award. 

For the making of Wild Place Jack teamed up with the members of Crash Ensemble,  emerging folk star Clare Sands, Hugh Dillon and cellist, Aisling Fitzpatrick. A live, raw and ethereal sound is brought to the songs by Ber Quinn’s masterful mixing. Jack’s long-standing drummer, David Ryan, produced the album, despite not using drums on any of the tracks. Philip Shaw (Feist and Bon Iver) mastered the record in Canada.

Playing Across Europe

The first three singles from Wild Place have all received extensive airplay throughout Ireland’s airwaves and the singer is set to take the new album on the road over the coming months. A captivating live performer, Jack will bring the music of Wild Place to life, doing what he loves best, seated at a piano and sharing some of his moving and sublime songs with an entranced audience. He intends to take his Wild Place to Europe – culminating in a composing residency in the prestigious Centre Culturel d’Irlandaise, Paris for the month of July, for which he was awarded. The unique yet universal song-stories of Wild Place and its melting pot of roots music and piano balladry have universal and inter-generational appeal. 

Wild Place is being led by the new single Sea Swimming, which already hit Irish radio this month. To date, it has received extensive airplay up and down the country. The song features transcendent vocals and beautiful lyrics – a nouveau-folk ode to the ocean, letting go of inhibitions and “laughing in the tide with no motive,”

Jack O'Rourke, Musican, New Album Wild Place, on The Table Read
Jack O’Rourke

Jack O’Rourke’s Thoughts

Commenting on the release of ‘Wild Place’ Jack O’Rourke said; “The album has songs of love and loss, beautiful misfits, nature and wilderness. There’s freedom and rage in there too, alongside questions on race, friendship, a still-Covid world, my dreams and sea swimming. The piano and vocal take centre, but there are elements of folk, roots, blues, Americana and chamber music.” 

“There’s also a song entitled ‘Strange Bird’ which was written about the last year and a half, an almost musical drone recording of a town during a lockdown and all we’ve lost and gained. It’s influenced hugely by John Prine. When John Prine died during Covid, it was a Bowie or Cohen or Prince moment – I was heartbroken without knowing him personally – his lyrics and his style meant so much, and his songwriting always floored me. There’s a Steinbeck or Mark Twain quality – he says so much without being flowery.”

Reviews of Wild Place

  • “Easy one of the year’s best albums from Jack O’Rourke.”  – Tony Clayton Lea 
  • “O’Rourke is a vocalist of rare distinction. The album’s essence is to be found on Sea Swimming – a track that’s redolent of the sort of standards that Paul Brady delivered early in his career.” – John Meagher, The Irish Independent 
  • With ‘Wild Place’ O’Rourke has more than met expectations for his sophomore work which showcases his maturity as a creator of deeply moving, lyrically ornate compositions” – John Loftus, Golden Plec
  • “There’s a soaring, magical quality to Jack O’Rourke’s Wild Place. There’s an almost cinematic feel to the album, like a soundtrack to some classic Hollywood movie, perhaps by Nora Ephron. Wild Place seals O’Rourke’s reputation as one of Ireland’s most gifted performers.” – Hotpress
  • Wild Place is a wonderful record from an artist who has become one of Ireland’s most consistently fascinating singer-songwriters” – Ed Power 
  • On Wild Place, Jack is a song storyteller” – Dee Reddy, Today FM 
  • Sparse, well-spaced arrangements, with lyrics of pathos and wit” – RTE Arena, (National Arts Show)
  • Album of the Week – RTE Radio 1 (National Broadcaster) 
  • BBC Sounds Album of the Week – Eve Blair Show, BBC Radio Ulster 
  • Album of the Week – Ralph McClean, BBC Radio Ulster 

Reviews of singles from the album:

  • With Opera on the Top Floor and Patsy Cline, O Rourke has created wonderfully layered songs.” – Hotpress 
  • Coffee Song reminds me of Paul Brady singing, Tom Waits on piano and Elton John hovering overhead.” – John Caddell, The Last Word, Today FM
  • Jack O Rourke weaves his unmistakable spell on Patsy Cline” – The Last Mixed Tape’
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