Jack O’ The Clock


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"Jack of the Clock just seem to go from strength to strength, one of the most original and compelling groups I know playing some amazing compositions that seem to tread effortlessly between Van Dyke Parks and folk music from an as yet unidentified culture, while making all the things you've always thought of as difficult sound as effortless and natural as breathing.” 

-FRED FRITH


“...Through 10 years of recordings, Jack ‘O The Clock is now established as a category unto themselves. The music often takes the form of complex, contrapuntal pieces with beautiful interplay between the hammer dulcimer, bassoon, violin, and guitar. The intertwined themes build and meander...On top of this are Waitkus’s poignant vocals, adding to the melancholic atmosphere.


“Listening to Jack ‘O The Clock invokes a twisted view of America post World War II – or perhaps projects that view to the rural blight of today. Lyrically, the group does not make a statement in particular. They offer no positions, polemics, nor solutions. Instead, their songs explore dark slices of life, unusual and disturbing happenings involving people both ordinary and strange” -AVANT MUSIC NEWS


“[JOTC] conjure up stirring visions of a hybrid American history, part fact, part poetry, part visionary hallucination...superimposing stories, memories, and fleeting dialogue on top of each other in each compacted song...elaborate chord changes, swoon-worthy layers of vocal harmonies....creaky and clunky percussion that recalls the “bone machine” of Tom Waits...and melodies [that] weave their way around your head like creepers in a tree...”-ED PINSENT, THE SOUND PROJECTOR


“[JOTC] transports the listener into a world viewed through the dust haze of future-as-nostalgia...Old men contemplating failure, death and loss, childhood conditioning, railing against the unfair privilege of the entitled, and songs about guns and baseball fire one’s synapses as we travel through Damon’s strange world...

“The music is multi-layered and full of subtle complexity that serves to emphasize rather than downplay the human element. This music has bags of soul.” - THE PROGRESSIVE ASPECT



“Jack O’ the Clock presents a fine lesson on what it means to write songs that are at once approachable and human while simultaneously being incredibly profound in terms of timbre, depth of emotion, and harmonic complexity. A brilliant and courageous work of American folk served over a strange backdrop...” -MATT DI GIORDANO, PROGULATOR


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Jack O’ The Clock was formed in Oakland, California in the summer of 2007 when Damon Waitkus and Nicci Reisnour, who had both been composition students at Mills College, discovered a mutual interest in alloying folk-inspired songwriting with a composerly approach to instrumentation and arrangement. The group began as an acoustic trio, with Waitkus on guitar, hammer dulcimer, and voice, Reisnour playing harp, wine glasses, and melodica, and Emily Packard playing violins and banjo. They were soon joined by percussionist Jordan Glenn and began performing around the Bay Area in early 2008. In the summer of that year, Reisnour left and the remaining trio recruited Jason Hoopes on bass and Kate McLoughlin on bassoon, voice, and flute. The expanded ensemble enabled Jack O’ The Clock to diversify its sound dramatically, incorporating elements of progressive rock, free jazz, minimalism, and other influences that appeared as new material developed.


Jack O’ The Clock performs regularly throughout the Pacific Northwest, and has released four albums, RARE WEATHER (2008), HOW ARE WE DOING AND WHO WILL TELL US? (2011), ALL MY FRIENDS (2013), and NIGHT LOOPS (2014). The group’s critically-acclaimed recordings go beyond their live sound to incorporate bits of on-location percussion and field recordings, as well as a number of guests drawn from the Bay Area’s rich community of musicians.














 

Photo by Carly McLane