‘Wild Place’ album a warm hug during Covid

‘Wild Place’ album a warm hug during Covid

Jack O’Rourke’s gig in Music Zone to promote his new album was billed as special. Picture: Miki Barlok

IT wasn’t quite a record launch for Jack O’Rourke’s new album Wild Place – that had already happened in the Triskel Arts Centre – but the gig in the Music Zone record shop in the Deanrock industrial estate last week was special nonetheless, as Ovens native O’Rourke signed CDs and raised the roof with a performance which was often spine-tingling.

As fans stood in darkness barely lit by candles, between the stacks of vinyl in the independent retailer – “My favourite record store,” as O’Rourke put it – they listened as the singer, on his own on keyboard, and later with guitarist Hugh Dillon and drummer Davy Ryan, delivered soaring, powerful songs from the new album and took random requests.

Jack O’Rourke first came to prominence six years ago, when his song Silence became an anthem of the 2015 marriage equality referendum, and his subsequent album Dreamcatcher reached number six in the charts.

Wild Place has received rave reviews, and extensive airplay, something O’Rourke told The Echo has been very gratifying, and he said he had been delighted with the response from friends and fans.

“An American pal told me that if, as the old saying went, Carol King’s Tapestry was a warm hug after the Vietnam War, then — and I stress it was they said this, not me! — Wild Place is a warm hug after Covid,” O’Rourke said.

Ray O’Brien, proprietor of Music Zone, said he was thrilled to host the record-signing event, and he said they were delighted to support a talent as great as Jack O’Rourke: “Jack has always been a great promoter of ours, and local music is always very close to our hearts.”

A free raffle saw members of the audience win albums on vinyl, and there were good-natured cries of “Fix!” when Denis O’Rourke won Patti Smith’s Horses and again when his son Jack even more controversially won the new James Vincent McMorrow album.

A fan

Neil Quinn, “a proud Togher man through and through”, curates online the Cork Playlist, attended the gig, and said he has been a fan of Jack O’Rourke for years.

“I’ve listened to Wild Place a few times, and I know he says he wrote it around the river Lee, and that really comes through, because the album just flows like a river. It’s a really beautiful album.”

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