FolkWorld #74 03/2021
© Hannah Innes Communications

Too Many Things?

Three consecutive single releases set the stakes high for a promising solo career of Dallahan’s frontman Jack Badcock.

Jack Badcock

Artist Audio

A veteran performer, Jack has toured extensively across the world as frontman and founding member of his multi award-winning band Dallahan. His decision to embark on a solo career was in response to him feeling more and more compelled to write material in the singer-songwriter style, rather than band-inspired compositions that had been his focus to date. With this self-penned work showcasing thoughtful lyrics and a musical maturity, Jack’s inimitable craft for song writing is palpable. The singer and guitarist’s debut single ‘Too Many Things’ cites inspiration from musicians on the Americana scene such as Sarah Jarosz and Darrell Scott, as well as singer-songwriters on the Scottish and Irish folk scene such as Kris Drever and David Keenan.

On his inspirations behind ‘Too Many Things’, Jack said: “This song is an honest and I think relatable reflection on the duality of one’s own personality. It’s observing that within us there is a more dysfunctional version of ourselves, referred to in the song as “that fella”. This conflicting entity sometimes shows itself when we’re unhappy, irritable or simply when the sun goes down and influences our behaviour in ways that are less than constructive, such as overindulging in alcohol. The line within the song that reads “My best friend, my lover, my muse and my idol” is relating to the love in our life that keeps “that fella” at bay. The individuals who can see through the duality and love you for who you fundamentally are. The people that you can always rely on to see you through.”

Jack’s debut single showcases musical collaboration from John Lowrie on piano and snare drum and Siobhan Miller on backing vocals. In the closing section, a choir of some recognised names on the traditional music scene can be heard lending their vocals, these include Pablo Lafuente, Katie MacFarlane, John Lowrie, Jenny Floki, Sam Dunn, Lewis Somerville and Vera Linkkvist.


Artist Video Dallahan @ FROG

Jack was raised in Co. Kilkenny, Ireland and later Yorkshire, England, splitting his first eighteen years between the two before moving to Scotland as a teenager in 2011, where he immersed himself in its traditional music scene. Aged eighteen, while living in Edinburgh, Jack formed a partnership with multi-instrumentalist Ciaran Ryan, initially cutting their teeth playing traditional music on the Capital’s pub gig circuit, before going on to tour the UK, Germany and Denmark. The duo would go on to form Dallahan in 2013, which rapidly became one of Scotland's busiest international folk bands. To date they have recorded three albums with numerous tours in the UK, the USA, Canada and all over Europe. Jack has also performed and recorded with Rura, Siobhan Miller, Dougie MacLean and The Royal Scottish National Orchestra among many others. He was also a finalist in the BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year Award. 

Jack’s debut track received fantastic critical acclaim upon its release in October 2020, with BBC Radio Scotland’s Bruce MacGregor describing the single as “absolutely fabulous” and Fatea Magazine stating that it is the quality of the chorus that ensures that ‘Too Many Things’ is set to “become a standard”. His debut track has also been described as “setting the bar high for what looks like will be a very promising career” (Alive and Gigging).

Armed with these accolades for his first ever solo track, the guitarist and singer has released another intriguing and beguiling single in the form of ‘Our World’. Inspired by human history, the narrative throughout ‘Our World’ explores inequalities in the world we live. The song is an acknowledgment of the achievements of civilisation, but also carries with it, a criticism of its significant downfalls. Jack said: “I wrote this song as both a lamentation and a celebration of what humanity is capable of. It offers criticism of what society fails to do for the welfare of its people, but ultimately it is a song of hope that acknowledges the power our species has to achieve almost everything we can imagine.” With Jack himself on guitar and lead vocals, Our World has musical accompaniment from John Lowrie on piano and snare drum, Siobhan Miller on backing vocals and Ciaran Ryan on fiddle.

Jack Badcock

‘Entropy’ is the first single taken from Jack Badcock’s new five-track EP, The Driftwood Project, which will see the singer songwriter embark on an exciting exploration of musical genres and instrumentation. To date, Jack’s solo material has been influenced by his roots in Scottish and Irish traditional music and Americana. ‘Entropy’, however, sees Jack inject a soulful dose of funk and jazz into his music.

The gloriously upbeat, yet chilled out, track is an ode to the beauty to be found in the universe’s transience and features a cool bass guitar backline alongside spirited trumpet playing. Jack said: “This song takes a completely new direction from anything I’ve done before, moving away from my folk background in favour of a big contemporary jazz and funk band sound. It’s been liberating to play with genre in new ways, exploring different sounds and styles to create something fresh and exciting. ‘Entropy’ is a measure of disorder which dictates an inevitable, gradual decline and deterioration of everything around us. Sandcastles crumble, stars die out and even blackholes ultimately decay and I think there is a profound beauty in all of this impermanence that I aimed to observe in this song.”

Jack Badcock’s guitars and vocals are accompanied on ‘Entropy’ by John Lowrie on keyboards, Little Acres (Rachel Lightbody, Cariss Crosbie and Emilie Boyd) on backing vocals, Loic Guenneguez on trumpet, Gus Stirrat on bass, Micah Johnston on drums and tambourine and Pablo Lafuente on shaker.

Speaking of the The Driftwood Project, Jack added: “I’m looking forward to drip feeding several new tracks over the coming months which will give people something a little different to experience.”

Photo Credits: (1) Jack Badcock, (2) Dallahan (unknown/website).

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