May 27, 2021

Jack O' The Clock: Leaving California

West Coast quintet Jack O' The Clock plays a special kind of orchestrated progressive folk, wrapped in sixties psychedelica rooted in Americana. Their new album, Leaving California, came together in fits and starts - recordings started in 2018 - but it sounds like it was laid down in one truly inspired session. Damon Waitkus, the band's composer, leads the band through the tracks, a colourful journey that kicks off with the upbeat Jubilation and ends with blowing the doors wide open during the sprawling avant-folk closer Narrow Gate.

Leaving California is all about storytelling, with the music as the vessel for the words. The title track is about having second thoughts, after making what seemed a wise decision. The dreamy Fascination is a study in holding back to conjure up uncanny intensity - Waitkus plays all the instruments, with drummer Jordan Glenn coming in after a couple of minutes to play a single bass drum. The Weill/Brecht inspired pocket opera The Butcher has some wordplay that will make the listener think again, courtesy of the accusing delivery of singer Thea Kelly: "Take your kill to the butcher, // he will cut you a deal, // he will weigh it and wrap it in paper. // You will know from the moment // that you look in his eyes: // everyone else lies".

Jack O' The Clock is a band where violin player Emily Packard can don the mantle of a rock star and guest musician Ivor Holloway steps into the spotlight with his clarinet and saxophones. The rich textures and top shelf musicianship make it a real joy to listen to. And like a multi-faceted diamond there is always something new to discover, no matter how often it is played.

Jack O' The Clock:
Damon Waitkus: vocals, guitars, mandolin, keyboards, hammer dulcimer
Emily Packard: violin
Jason Hoopes: bass
Jordan Glenn: drums
Thea Kelly: vocals
Guest musicians:
Ivor Holloway: clarinet on track 3 and saxophones on track 7
Josh Packard: cello on track 4
Myles Boisen: pedal steel on track 5

Jack O' The Clock: Leaving California

Leaving California is released via Cuneiform Records. Release date: May 28.

  1. Jubilation
  2. You Let Me Down
  3. The Butcher
  4. A Quarter Page Ad
  5. Leaving California
  6. Fascination
  7. Narrow Gate


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