Jack McBannon does a quite interesting and versatile fusion of different Americana music styles. Being on stage for twenty years already, he is releasing his latest album on 19th February 2021. It is simply called True Stories. If you read on this posting, you will learn if the stories are worth listening to.
Jack McBannon – About The Artist
Even though the name Jack McBannon sounds quite English, the singer-songwriter is a German artist. His civil name is Thorsten Willer, he was born in Haan near Dusseldorf on 4th December 1981 and is nowadays living in Wuppertal. He originally toured as Willer through Germany and also recorded his first solo album, The Only Way, under that name. As the album title suggests, he recorded his songs in English, as well as he did at his second album, World Crashing Down (2010). Thereafter, there were two German studio albums, Wovon sollen Lieder reden (“What should songs talk about” – 2014) and Zeitlos (“Timeless” – 2017). After changing his artist name back and forth, he is on stage as Jack McBannon again since 2020.
Jack McBannon – True Stories – Track by Track
The eleven track album lasts 43 minutes. The physical version contains a hidden track.
1. Right Here
Me I’m right here dreaming
That you’re right here now
Me I’m right here keeping
Every thought I have of you
Every though I have
The album incepts with Right Here, a very emotional and catching, rather slow track, with a touch of country and rock. One of the most beautiful melodies already right at the beginning of the album – a beauty.
2. Set Me Free
Like Right Here, the second track has already been selected as a single by Jack McBannon’s tream before the album release. The song has a stronger Americana touch to me, but is also more energetic and transports Willer’s voice even better.
3. The Snowflake
And I know you might
Feel the same
And I know you might
Who’s to blame
I’ve been there
And I asked myself
Am I the snowflake
Or am I the ground
Even though The Snowflake lasts more than four minutes, the lyrics are comparably compact. The song is quite slow on the one hand – and on the other, it is working a lot of instrumental and atmospheric elements. Might not be a 2021 radio hit – but this snowflake is definitely a lovely songwrite.
Together, the shortest song on the album, is another catching melody. The raspy voice reminds of big names of the 1980’s and 1990’s. We’re all in this together – and if we do it in that way, it is really great (musical) fun.
5. Here’s A Winner
Here’s A Winner is one of the most beautiful stories of the album. It is about a young man, whose family gave him rather unfortunate conditions to succeed in life. But his fate changed:
He was a young broke man in a rich man‘s world
But one day he met a rich man‘s girl
And she saw in him what nobody has seen
She didn’t care where he was from
Right away she knew he was the one
They fell in love
Never wanted to be without the other one
And all the letter said was
We’re off for good
A lovely story presented in a lovely folk-rock style. One of my album favorites.
6. Dancing In The Rain
Dancing In The Rain is about how a young boy’s dream turned out not to really fulfil – but still it is not really a bad story (don’t want to spoil too much). The way the artist is creating atmosphere, accentuating the lyrics and thus telling the story is just lovely – again!
7. An Outlaw’s Inner Fight
An Outlaw’s Inner Fight, the last track on the album, which is already available as a single, has a very dark and deep atmosphere.
God knows you have not forgotten
You haven’t forgotten him
You know He still hasn‘t forgotten
He has not forgotten you
The sound of this song makes it very special – McBannon’s voice feels really diabolic in here – and I just love it. Goose bumps possible.
8. Motel 81
Motel 81 has a certain dark touch – but the song has a lot of speedy elements, so that it is quite a contrast to the song before. I feel that the song is fun, even though it is not one of my favorites.
9. Walking In The Dark
Walking In The Dark feels to connect to An Outlaw’s Inner Fight regarding its sound – however, this song feels a bit more frightening to me for quite a while, before it has some more melodic elements towards its end.
10. The Long Road Ahead
I do love dark country tunes. While I struggled a bit with the two songs before, The Long Road Ahead is much more enjoyable to me. It also comes with a cool contrast of the rather dark verses and a very melodic, happy sounding chorus, which makes this one very easy to keep in mind.
11. Runaway Me
Runaway Me gives the emotional – and epic finale of the album: With almost five minutes of playtime, the longest song on True Stories is a lovely slow Americana self-reflection. Nice one.
Jack McBannon – True Stories – Spotify
Here are the True Stories as a Spotify widget:
Jack McBannon – True Stories – My View
Even though I do have to say that I felt some weaknesses in the second part of True Stories, I overall really enjoyed listening to these eleven songs. I feel a bit sad about that these quality of tunes are written in Germany – the country / Americana genres do have so much growth potential in my home country and skilled artists like Jack McBannon could play a key role. Dankeschön for this album!
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