Rathlin Island, County Antrim
“But there’s time to change the rules/Teach the right hand to play a left hand tune,” '90 Degrees’
They say that there’s nothing sweeter than the second bite of the cherry and that’s something critically acclaimed tunesmith Wendy Jack would agree with. After first bursting onto the scene in 2011 with her stunning, reputation making debut single ‘Sunsets’ (which earned her runner up status in the Song Of The Year category in the annual, hugely prestigious International Songwriting Competition), the Dungannon, Co. Tyrone-born artist then turned plenty of heads with more spell binding tales of myths, legends, love, loss, world issues and woolly jumpers.
Just when she was finding her feet, she decided to walk a different path, relocating to the picturesque Rathlin Island to work for a conservation charity. However, much to her fans’ delight, this detour was mercifully brief and a mere handful of years later she re-emerged, re-energised, re-focussed on her music and raring to go. 2019 saw the release of her retrospective album Sunsets (named after the song that started her journey) and the magnetic opus re-introduced the fiercely talented musician to music lovers worldwide, while also earning her a wealth of new followers.
Featuring eight tracks, the album sees Jack tackle many genres and moods and is imbued with that same fearless spirit that drives the performer in her every day life (Wendy was previously an award winning “Adventure Tour Guide Of Ireland” and has also dedicated many years working in Human Rights). Inspired by the past (‘Fairies’ features words from the famous 1850 poem ‘The Fairies’ by William Allingham), the present (the environmental themed ‘90 Degrees’ uses comments from her Facebook page as lyrical fuel) and the far flung future (on ‘Crash Land’ this sonic explorer delves into the world of sci fi rock), Wendy says of Sunsets:
“I wanted to use the release of this album as a way of saying, ‘Hello, I'm back... and here's a collection of what I’ve done.’ There is definitely a strong Irish folk influence… and lyrics which delve into both personal and global issues. I think of it as Irish folk with a dash of protest and social commentary. Story telling, like Suzanne Vega or Christy Moore are known for.”
Not content with one mention in the International Songwriting Competition, Wendy’s song ‘90 Degrees’ has also just been awarded runner up in this year’s contest and she is humbled to once again be included alongside some giants of music making.
“It’s a real honour to be given such an accolade, especially considering the number of talented people who enter this competition from all over the world,” she says. “Being recognised in this way definitely spurs me on to keep working at and improving my technical skills as a professional songwriter and it definitely helps me get my songs out to more listeners. As an artist though, I do believe that the best reward is always when someone really connects with my music on a personal level.”
If Sunsets is a welcome recap of her wonderful journey thus far, then 2020 is the start of a new adventure for Wendy Jack. Promising more music on the way that’s akin to her live sound backed by a subtle but effective production, expect her to make even more new fans and friends over the months ahead.
For tour and release updates, stories behind the songs and more visit wendyjackmusic.com
Praise for Wendy Jack
“Jack’s imitable croon creates worlds and stories you could get lost in.” Hot Press magazine
“[Sunsets is]...a strong and infectious debut from Wendy Jack. Good lyric, melody and hook, strong performance, the emotion is there too” Liam Merriman, The Green Room on WLRFM.
“Wendy... Thanks for last night. Everyone was talking about your set... Went down really well.”
Ronnie Purvis, Acoustic Showcase NI
“Dear Wendy, your performance in Biella Festival has left quite a mark. Your performance of "Fairies" was one of the most beautiful things in the evening. Thank-you for your participation.” Giorgio Pezzana - Biella Festival Director, Biella Festival, Italy
“Wendy’s music and lyrics are so poetic, they will leave you wanting to hear more” Paul McDevitt Monday Night Sessions, Highland Radio, Ireland