Jack Carty is a rare find. An inspired artist with a way with words and melody crafted by a unique upbringing, a natural flair and a dedication to his craft. Now 23, Jack spent his formative years tucked away in the secluded Bellinger Valley on the NSW mid north coast where music and stories acted as gateways to the wider world over the range and as distractions from the sheltered familiarity of a close knit community. In this environment Jack was afforded the time and the space necessary to listen, learn and write. And write he did, as often and as honestly as he could.
At 16 Jack packed his bags and high tailed it to Sydney’s bright lights and big personalities, leaving his friends and family behind to settle in the inner west, meet some like minded musicians, and play. The result was a string of line-ups and musical experiments resulting in adventures to venues and towns all over the east coast and a strong grassroots following.
But there was something missing… Or rather, not enough:
“I had been playing these songs I had written on acoustic guitar or piano within the context of a full band… They gained a real groove and rhythm but I felt they were loosing their fundamental essence – narrative and melody.”
With this in mind, Jack hit the studio armed only with an acoustic guitar and a notepad to record what would become his debut release through exclusive Sydney label Gigpiglet Recordings; 2010’s ‘Wine & Consequence’ E.P.
‘This was the first time I felt I had songs strong enough to exist simply as they were written. No frills, no hiding behind production – just stories and melodies.’
This new approach was received with critical acclaim around Australia resulting in the record spending two weeks after release in the Top 10 of the iTunes singer/songwriter chart, tours with internationally renowned troubadours Joshua Radin, Brett Dennen and Ingrid Michaelson and the award for ‘Singer –Songwriter of the Year’ at the 2010 MusicOz awards along with a nomination for MusicOz ‘APRA Songwriter of the Year’.
Not one to rest on his laurels Jack then boarded a Jumbo for his first ever American tour, taking in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, New York and Washington D.C and using some time out whilst Stateside to collaborate with Grammy Award winning songwriter Dan Wilson and New York based indie producer extraordinaire Kramer Shimmy on the beginnings of his debut album.
The result is ‘One Thousand Origami Birds.’ An astoundingly cohesive and timeless effort centred around tales of travel, struggle, hope, simplicity and love, at once intensely personal and universal. From the simple wandering of the albums opening and title track to the optimistic alt country swagger of ‘Valentina.’ From the hyper-drama of duet ‘Grey Sky’ (featuring Sydney based indie queen Elana Stone) to the quiet prayer of the first single ‘Hope’ this is a record as confident as it is pensive, as optimistic as it is melancholy and as honest as it gets.
“I hate the term Singer-Songwriter” Carty quips “though I suppose its accurate and I cant think of a better way to put it… When people ask me what sort of music I play I always say ‘Contemporary Folk’, which is strange because those two words are an oxymoron.”
Whatever you call it ‘One Thousand Origami Birds’ is the accomplished next step in the career of an exciting new Australian artist. Having finished 2010 with an appearance at Peats Ridge Festival and an upcoming touring schedule taking in the Playground Weekender and Nannup festivals before heading back to North America for further touring and showcases at Canadian Music Fest and SXSW 2011 there is a lot to be excited about.
In typical country fashion, Jack is taking it all in his stride:
“At this stage I just want to play my music for people and be able to pay my rent you know? Anything more than that is a massive bonus.”