‘The Wendy Jack EP’ – Debut Release 2011
The Wendy Jack EP self published in 2011 features 4 tracks in an Irish, Acoustic, Folk, Pop style. I felt these four songs sat well together as a collective piece of work.
For the first track, ‘Derrylahan Dream’ which is set in South County Donegal, I was trying to create a dreamlike soundscape inspired by the swell of the atlantic ocean and the often present mist which hugs the coastline. The literal nature of the anecdote aims to bring the local characters to life and hopefully makes the listener feel that they too are a key character in the story. So, after a successful fishing trip out to the bottom of the highest sea cliffs in Europe, we continue with our adventures to Teach Tom’s (Tom’s House – the local pub) looking for some ceol agus craic (music and fun) before the night is done.
Track two, ‘Soldier’s Heart‘ attempts to convey the pain of an individual suffering from the effects of post traumatic stress disorder. I was inspired to write the song after reading newspaper accounts of soldiers and their families dealing with trauma after returning from conflict. I decided to set the song in a historical context with references to WWI (1914-1918), and indeed the medical term ‘Soldier’s Heart’ was coined after the American Civil War (1861-1865). The song tells a story about a young couple physically and mentally torn apart and trying to come to terms with their experiences. However, when writing the song I was also thinking more broadly about the affects of this type of PTSD on society at large. Communities emerging from a local conflict or individuals returning home from a war overseas can, understandably, be highly traumatised. As successive generations continue to ‘go to war’ there is a ‘compounding’ of the layers of trauma as each family/societal generation impacts the next.
‘Sunsets’ is the third track on my EP. I was seeking to emphasise a positive feeling and so decided to up the tempo and keep a strong driving rhythm. I hoped the hammond organ would give a ‘worldly / spiritual’ feel. Really it’s a song about having an appreciation for shared life experiences. Solar alignments and the ‘life’ energy we get from the sun has fascinated people for thousands of years along with questions about what happens to us when we ‘pass on’. What happens to our inner energy, our soul… where do we go when we leave our earthly bodies? Clearly our ancestors decided it was a good idea to align our tombs with the movements of the sun, moon and stars – acknowledging our place in the life-cycle of time and how our ‘energy’ is an eternal force within the universe… or multiverse.
The final track on my EP is called ‘Valentine’. Like many before me I was intrigued by the legend and connections between Saint Valentine, the foundation myths of Rome and an early pagan fertility festival known as ‘The feast of Lupercalia’ (held in mid winter – during February). I endeavoured to tell the story through the eyes of a young couple inspired by their love. In Saint Valentine’s day there was an Emperor who believed young men would make better soldiers if they were single (as they would not be worrying about what would happen to their wives if they died). So he made it illegal to marry. Many young couples were forced into clandestine relationships and would have to arrange secret marriages. Valentine for his part, was arrested, tortured and killed – becoming a martyr.