L is for Learner


Want to know what the L in ‘Jack L’ really stands for? Sophie Lioe finds out

Comparisons to David Bowie and Frank Sinatra don’t come easy. The Irish singer-songwriter that is Jack L, however, seems to have made such an impression on music critics and fans alike that, over the last decade his studio albums and live shows have attracted widespread critical acclaim he totally deserves.

jack-lAlthough somewhat of an unsung hero, Jack L enjoys the support of a dedicated fan base, ensuring the commercial success of his latest release, a greatest-hits style double album called The Story So Far. Charting his musical career from the beginning, it’s comprised of both live and studio stuff, as well as songs he has played for years on the road which people were “always looking for” but could never find.

When asked about his decision to release this album, he reminded us of his seven previous albums, an sizeable amount considering that, in the artist’s own words, “the Beatles had that many when they released theirs.”

The album was also prompted by the release of a book of the same name by Anna McPartlin, a tale about fans of Jack’s and their following of him over the years, intertwined with their own individual lives and stories.

Jack’s own story began in his hometown of Athy, Co. Kildare, before becoming a regular fixture of the Dublin music scene with his early backing band The Black Romantics. It wasn’t long, he turned solo and released his first album Metropolis Blue in 1999, claiming that “singing is what I imagine I was put here to do.”

This last statement surely sums up his long-established, dedicated music career to date. You wouldn’t have caught Jack anywhere near college, as he “left school very early, and got in loads of trouble because I had no interest” – a choice which surely benefited the rest of us.

As for his opinion of our beloved Bono – Jack claims to be “always dumbfounded by the amount of grief he gets,” and describes him as a very “down to earth kind of person” any time he has met him.

His last words went along the lines of “You’re always after that thing, a great song, that will live forever.” Judging by this album, he may have achieved just that – a few times over.

PS – it’s Lukeman.