top of page
  • lauryverdoux


Casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic take countless different forms.

There are the obvious dead, scores cut down far before their time. It

felled our everyday lives, as well, forcing virtually everyone to

sacrifice the way of life to which we are long accustomed. It

disconnected families, loved ones, and communities. The list is endless.

Another casualty of the pandemic is the toll it exacted on art.

Jack Nolan’s much-delayed album Jindabyne was one of those casualties.

He began writing the songs on this release in March 2020 when the

lockdowns first took hold, but the ongoing situation with the pandemic

put off recording the songs. When Nolan could assemble his studio

collaborators at last, they recorded the album’s eleven songs live

without any backing tracks supporting their effort.

You can hear that immediacy from the first. “Dollar” surges out of the

gate with a bright and welcoming sound. Nolan’s matter-of-fact vocal

tone and phrasing has musicality to spare, as well, but it’s the rich

multi-part harmonies that offer the high point for the song’s singing.

His lyrical acumen is still as sharp as ever and the first-person

perspective fosters added intimacy with listeners. “Reading Minds” has

considerable evocative power. A smattering of post-production effects

wreathes Nolan’s voice with an atmospheric aura and the moody

arrangement complements his singing. Excellent electric guitar work puts

an emphatic exclamation point on the song’s second half.

The careening rock trajectory of “She Knew” packs plenty of wallop

within three minutes. The guitar playing stands out, once again, with

Justin Weaver’s divebombing string bends filling the arrangement with

rambunctious fire. The rhythm section of bassist Chris Autry and drummer

Jimmy Paxson are a formidable tandem ideally suited for fare such as

this. Nolan returns to the dramatic territory of the earlier “Reading

Minds” for the album’s fifth track “Falling”. This song, however,

forgoes any post-production effects in favor of a straighter approach

and Weaver’s guitar playing knifes through you with piercing emotion.

Judged in the context of the entire album, it’s an outstanding

illustration of Nolan’s musical dexterity.

“August Song” is as well. It begins with a classic count-in and pursues

a low-key acoustic direction for much of the song. Nolan and his

cohorts, however, dial up the musical intensity past the song’s midway

point and close the track in dramatic fashion. The lush and elegiac

“Solo Sailor” is one of Jindabyne’s peak moments. Delicate guitar

playing, patient development, and incisive lyrics distinguish the track

and counterpointing Nolan’s voice with female accompaniment layers the

cut with unexpected color. It’s obviously one of the album’s

centerpieces and deservedly so.

He extends his songwriting delicacy even further with the album closer.

“All the Ships in the Ocean” expands on the elegiac qualities of “Solo

Sailor” without ever retreading over familiar ground and has a deeper

reflective flavor. It’s a wise move ending the album on such a calm and

considered note after the several blasts of near all-out guitar rock

that fuel the album’s first half. Perhaps the delay worked in

Jindabyne’s favor as it’s rare to hear such a coherent and complete

collection. It’s Jack Nolan’s finest moment yet.


bottom of page