Australian singer/songwriter Jack Carty breaks down his beautiful, radiant sixth album ‘Wake to a Bright Morning,’ an intimate record that shines with an honest inner light.
for fans of Wilco, Paul Simon, The Head and the Heart, Matt Corby
Stream: “Boab (Time Is a River)” – Jack Carty
Everyone’s posing for perfect strangers, but all I want’s a simple, honest life. I want it bad, I hope that’s alright…
Radiant and welcoming, Jack Carty’s sixth album shines with an intimate inner light.
The Australian singer/songwriter searches for (and contemplates the nature of) life’s meaning, purpose, and value throughout his latest set of songs, and while so many before him have done the same and come up empty or without satisfying answers, Carty’s journey is as rewarding as it is constructive. He still can’t tell us why we exist or what we’re doing here, but time and again, he reminds us of what matters the most. Whether you’re a casual listener or a lyrical diehard, you’re sure to come away from Wake to a Bright Morning with a smile on your face and a pep in your step. It’s the kind of warm and wondrous record that pulls you in and lifts you up, regardless of who you are, where you are, or what you’re doing.
I found your name carved course and deep
In the branches of a boab tree
A tattooed, gnarled and twisted thing
Cut all around with memories
And though I knew you’d never stood
Beside that ancient, bloated wood
I thought of you and cursed the hand
Who stole your named and made it theirs
Ooooh, time is a river, we are rain
Ooooh, the clock is a countdown, don’t delay
– “Boab (Time Is a River),” Jack Carty
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering Wake to a Bright Morning, Jack Carty’s sixth studio album (independently out March 11, 2022). Active for well over a decade, the Australian singer/songwriter from Brisbane has long been a source of catharsis and inspiration to fans the world over. Following 2018’s fifth LP Hospital Hill, Wake to a Bright Morning arrives four long years later not as a reintroduction, but rather as a reassertion of all those wonderful talents that make Carty such a quality artist of our time. Spirited and driven, thoughtful and reflective, his music is a refreshing beacon of honesty, integrity, and alt-folk passion.
At the very heart of me, I feel our shared humanity, a beautiful and scary thing – we cannot let the bastards win…
“Wake to a Bright Morning was largely written whilst I was living abroad in London (I am from Australia) and spending my time touring a lot and writing music with lots of different people,” Carty tells Atwood Magazine. “I largely produced and recorded it myself in living rooms, spare rooms, friends’ bedrooms and the odd studio between London and Brisbane over the past 3 years. It’s been a labour of love and inspiration; there were no deadlines, there was no pressure, it’s just been me (and some of my incredibly talented friends) having fun and making music. In London we lived in a big warehouse in Hackney with 7 other artists, and it was an incredibly vibrant and exciting time in my life, but also a time of deep change where I felt I got a lot clearer on what I actually care about and what I want from my time here on earth. I think that comes through in the record in some of the threads that weave their way through the songs – ideas like time and social media.”
“I just wanted to make something that felt true,” he adds. “I wrote, performed, and recorded most of it myself, and the other musicians who play on it are some of my closest friends, so in every way this album is an expression of my creative life and community. In the years leading up to this album (once music had become my full-time job) I found that the industry is full of incentives for artists to hedge their bets, or exaggerate, or capitulate, and that started making me feel like I was losing the whole reason I love writing songs in the first place: to try to express myself honestly, and to potentially learn something and connect with other people in the process. So, whilst I am not claiming that Wake to a Bright Morning is breaking new ground sonically, it is absolutely 100% in every way the record I wanted to make.”
In a lot of ways, it feels like a keepsake to me. It’s definitely the truest expression of my work that I’ve managed to capture so far.
Don’t believe the hype
Let it hit you and then decide
I might be an old man trapped in time
Maybe I’m jaded, maybe I’m right
The window is my changing mind
Back and forth from day to night, outside
So many shiny, pretty things
They’re gonna knock until you let them in
But everybody knows there’s nothing much inside
Don’t believe the hype, don’t believe the hype
Let the turnstile spin, from the outside looking in
I’m wound up like an anchor, dead weight falls, and I’m a man
Jack Carty considers Wake to a Bright Morning to be his most honest songwriting to date, and one gets the sense that by extension, he believes it to be his finest work yet. He truly is at his best when he’s at his most heartfelt, and from the charming opener “Boab (Time Is A River)” to his elegant stirring finale “Fleeting,” Carty holds nothing back. Rich, smooth, full-bodied harmonies and soaring melodies envelop the ears throughout Wake to a Bright Morning, coming to life in such highlights as the enchanting “Don’t Believe The Hype,” the tender and sweet “Autumn Leaves,” and the achingly visceral “Giving Up.” In every song, Carty embodies the spirit of his album title:
“It’s about the possibility to start again that exists within every moment, regardless of what has happened in the past or the trajectory you are on, or whatever,” he explains. “There is peace and power in that.”
While every song is easily worth multiple listens, there is something particularly special about the album’s closer – a song Carty cites as his own personal favorite, at least right now. “This has changed over time as I’ve worked on it, but if I had to choose a favourite today, it would be ‘Fleeting,’ he reflects. “It’s kind of about time, relativity and the way that a single moment can hold more meaning, more depth, more feeling and effect more change than a lifetime leading up to it, and that is something I think about more and more since I’ve had kids.”
The singer/songwriter further cites lines from “Fleeting” and his song “Giving Up” as some of his favorites on the overall album. For him, the below lyrics “always seem to resonate pretty deep…”
“Then look up at the starry sky
And think about the age of light
A million years to reach my eyes
And still it got here right on time”
– “Giving Up,” Jack Carty
“Think of the ones who came before
The false belief, the bloody wars
The mad kings reign, the surgeons saw
And yet, still here we are”
– “Fleeting,” Jack Carty
Sonically stunning, emotionally open, and utterly vulnerable, Wake to a Bright Morning is effervescent and illuminating.
Jack Carty sparks a fire inside, as much through his thought-provoking insights as through his inspiring sounds. Between his raw, touching lyricism, his buoyant and colorful instrumental work, and his in-your-face, dynamic vocal performances, Carty ensures we leave Wake to a Bright Morning feeling rejuvenated and, in some form or fashion, at peace with our world.
“I hope these songs bring some joy and help in some way – that people listening resonate and feel understood for a moment,” Carty shares. “I know music has done that for me in the past. The creation of this album has been an exercise in belief and slow, steady progress for me. I’m so proud of the result and excited to share it with people.” Experience the full record via our exclusive stream, and peek inside Jack Carty’s Wake To A Bright Morning with Atwood Magazine as he goes track-by-track through the music and lyrics of his sixth full-length LP!
Stream: ‘Wake to a Bright Morning’ – Jack Carty
:: Inside Wake to a Bright Morning ::
Boab is a song about time and the choices we make about how we spend it. It was written after a trip to Wyndham in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. There is a Boab there that gets called “The Prison Tree” & people have carved their names all over it, over time. I found my wife’s name carved into one of the branches & even though I knew she didn’t do it, it got me thinking about her, and distance, and how time is like a distance all it’s own, separating us from things that happened right where we are standing, long ago. I recorded it in London with some of my best friends from that part of the world: J.J Stoney on Keys, Fred Claridge on Drums and Lukas Drinkwater on Bass.
Don’t Believe The Hype
A song about the tendency big groups of people have to follow the leader. I think (like with many things) the size and scope of the internet, and social media in particular, makes this really apparent every day. Quick, easy, superficial engagements are rewarded, bandwagons are rewarded, whilst the pace of it all makes deeper connections with art and culture harder to forge. It was written whilst I was living in East London and I can clearly remember the moment that turned into the lyrics for the bridge section – a grey day on a bus, with rubbish everywhere.
Dragnet is an anti-love song inspired by past infatuations that, on reflection, were superficial flights of fancy. I wrote it with a brilliant London-based Swedish songwriter/producer called Jonas Persson, who also mixed the album. It’s the closest thing to a straight-up pop song that I’ve released to date, but it still feels very natural and comfortable to me. I really like that it has a darkness and a weight about it. Georgia Mooney from All Our Exes Live In Texas leant her beautiful voice to the recording, which took it to another level.
A song about the changing seasons, both literal and metaphorical. Another one written with London-based Swedish songwriter/producer Jonas Persson. This one is our attempt at a big ol’ ballad. I’d been in the UK for over a year and was staring down the barrel of my second English winter, and that obviously comes through in the lyrics here. I’d become quite close with beautiful UK-based Australian singer-songwriter Emily Barker during my time over there, and she lends her wonderful voice to this recording. I’m particularly proud of the bridge.
Another song about seasons, inevitable change, and ultimately, perspective and hope. I can clearly remember the evening that inspired it. Walking around Islington feeling sick, tired and cold. Questioning what I was doing and where I was heading. Feeling cornered by my past. I sat down on a bench and the clouds literally parted for a moment. It only took a few moments looking at the stars to remember how lucky I am, and how truely incredible it is that anyone is here at all. My dear friend J.J Stoney lends his beautiful talent for piano and voice to this song. We recorded all his parts and backing vocals in his room in London the night before I flew out to move home to Australia. I remember hopping in an Uber at 1am, driving through the streets, mentally saying my goodbyes as we went.
Tell The Truth
A song about the “curated” lives we share on the internet. I’ve always found it uncomfortable and strange. Someone showed me Kim Kardashian’s Instagram the other day and it made me feel like an alien… Why is that something that people want to subject themselves to? I took a trip to Squarehead Recordings in Kent for a few days to record some guitars for this album with brilliant producer/audio engineer Rob Wilkes, who’s worked with a bunch of wonderful artists like The Kooks, Leanne LeHavas and Florence & The Machine. This one was real fun to jam along to. It’s got a groove.
Do I Make You Crazy
This tune is about distance, and crossed wires. I wrote it on a train between Hamburg and Cologne whilst on a tour of Europe with Josh Pyke. Josh fell asleep and I found an empty first class cabin and went in with my guitar to try and get this idea in my head down on paper. A ticket inspector came and asked for my ticket, which was economy, and when he questioned me about it I said “I know, I just came in because it was empty and I’ve got this song to write. He let me stay. I love touring in Germany.
Long Time Coming
Probably as closest as I’ll ever get to being in a rock band. This is an angry, sarcastic song about frustrations with the music industry. About how truely uninspiring and uncreative so many of the established industry structures are, so much of the time. All the drums on the album were played by my good friend Fred Claridge who plays with a bunch of great London-based artists like Blair Dunlop and Blanco White, and is a great songwriter in his own right. We recorded them all, just the two of us, in a hundreds-of-years-old ex-stable in The Cotswolds. I feel so lucky to have so many great friends playing on this record. I love the way they play, and it captures the moment in time that was living, writing, touring and recording in the UK. Pre-COVID, and pre-kids for my wife Natasha and I.
The Wires Are Humming
A song about digital anxiety and the never-ending war for our attention happening every day on our devices. That’s my wife Natasha harmonising in the chorus. Lukas Drinkwater plays Double Bass on this song, and at the time we recorded it I was living in a converted warehouse in East London with 7 other people. Lukas came around and we recorded his parts in my bedroom in-between the warehouse’s comings and goings, and with a blanket over the radiator to stop it from ringing out with the vibrations. I wanted this tune to sound dreamy, but sinister. That felt appropriate for the subject matter.
The last song written and recorded for the album. Fleeting is about time, relativity and the way that a single moment can hold more meaning, more depth, more feeling and effect more change than an lifetime leading up to it. Fleeting is recorded across two hemispheres, with all my parts recorded at my home here in Brisbane Australia and the piano and string parts arranged and recorded by J.J Stoney from his studio in London. It felt fitting to bookend the record with songs about time as I feel like it’s a common theme that runs through all the songs, and it’s something I ruminate on every day. Having kids has taught me a lot about constant change, and how precious every moment is. It’s the most joyful, beautiful and terrifying thing I’ve ever experienced, and this song is the closest I’ve come to capturing that.
Stream: ‘Wake to a Bright Morning’ – Jack Carty
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📸 © Natasha Saba
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