Bello Winter Music’s first patron Jack Carty, sees himself first and foremost as a songwriter and has done so since he was a 12 year old boy, riding his bike around the streets of his home-town Bellingen. “Songs always spoke to me,” reflects Jack. This weekend Bellingen has welcomed their Bello Boy back and Jack’s stirring lyrics and melodies have certainly ‘spoken’ to the audience. “To come back and be Patron of the festival just feels like coming home,” says Jack.
Growing up in Bellingen afforded Jack the freedom to explore coupled with the security of “knowing everyone”, that all Bellingen children enjoy and which can allow for early creative expression. Jack also acknowledges that the early exposure to African traditional songs at Chrysalis Rudolf Steiner School in Thora contributed to his early love of rhythm. Drums were his first passion, “but as soon as I picked up my first guitar, I wanted to write songs”, says Jack. High school wasn’t so easy for this “sensitive guy” who admits that he liked “to sit back and think about things.” “The spontaneity of rushing into situations wasn’t me,” admits Jack. Music and songwriting became Jack’s solace. An early song that Jack wrote about Guy Fawkes National Park won Jack a much coveted spot at Newtown School of Performing Arts for his final two years of high school and it was here that “I found my people,” says Jack.
From here Jack went on to a Bachelor of Arts/Music Degree at Sydney University, all the while composing. In Jack’s first university year he was picked up by Sydney indie label Gigpiglet and released his first EP ‘Wine and Consequence’. Jack began touring at this time and has “been on tour ever since,” releasing four albums and another EP in the past eight years. He admits to a “love-hate relationship” with touring, but has gradually learnt to “ride the highs and lows of touring on a more even keel.” Part of “learning” how to cope in such an intense industry has also been “taking back control of my creative output,” says Jack. This has meant “going independent.” “I can now make decisive, independent decisions.”
Remarkably throughout all of this Jack completed his degree. “I would be listening to my lectures on-line while flying between towns,” says Jack. Jack confesses that university was “more about the relationships you make, which shape your approach to life and music.” Possibly the most important relationship was meeting his now best friend and fellow student Gus Gardiner, acclaimed bassist and former member of Papa vs Pretty. “We met in the lift at the Seymour Centre”, explains Jack.
Gus has accompanied Jack on all of his albums since this early meeting and the two are now collaborating on a new album with a string quartet recruited from the Australian Chamber Orchestra. The crowds at the Bello Winter Music this weekend were enthralled by the ethereal tones and bewitching lyrics that this collaboration is producing. The new album is due for release early 2018.
Jack’s latest album ‘Home State’ has secured independent release in the UK. Jack and his wife Tash have decided to take the opportunity to live in the UK from September this year. Interestingly, the final track on the album ‘Home State’ is ‘Wedding Song’ and was kept secret from Tash until their wedding day in Bellingen in 2015. Jack serenaded his new wife in Glennifer Hall. Despite the upcoming move, Jack is keenly aware of the importance of family and community and is already talking about returning for Bello Winter Music 2018. When asked about this wonderful local festival Jack enthuses. “I think the community aspect of it and that it happens in the town, as opposed to being a separate thing in its own site, means the town really get behind it, and the local businesses and people get behind it. It’s a beautiful town too.” Hope to see you next year Jack!