Jack Grace just doesn’t fit in. Jerry Lee Lewis once remarked, “He’s like that Cash kid, but good,” yet Jack also plays enough rock and throws in original Bossa numbers to add to the confusion. He has spent more time on the road than off it since 1992.
In 2014, Jack decided it was time to try a different approach to making his next record. He met up for coffee with Eric Ambel (Steve Earle, Joan Jett) and played some demos. Eric agreed to produce the project. Jack had written about 20 new songs, and several of them would not fit easily into his flamboyant live performance style. But Jack relinquished control, and Eric would decide which numbers would make the cut. Eric wanted a cohesive album, rejecting Latin songs along with several humorous offerings. It got a bit heated, “Damn it Jack, not every song needs to be funny, you have more going on than that!” Eric exclaimed. Jack gave in and the excitement of something new began to take shape. Eric played a beautifully epic guitar solo on Jack’s “Get Into Brooklyn” and Norah Jones dropped by to sing on a couple of tracks. Everyone left the sessions satisfied and inspired by what had taken place.
The years 2015 and ’16 were hard ones for Jack. His marriage to his bass player, Daria, was coming to an end. They’d been preparing to release, “Everything I Say Is A Lie” and the pre-orders were steady. Yep Roc Records was considering a deal and Jack’s management and booking agencies were cranking at full steam. But Jack felt something he had never felt before; this break up had taken the wind out of his sails.
He was drained. He tried but found he could no longer juggle the band, the road, songwriting, and moving, with the weight of a 13-year marriage and musical partnership coming to a close. He planted himself primarily in Brooklyn and played an average of four times per week which, along with royalties from his music in the movies “Super Troopers” (Fox Searchlight) and “Beerfest” (Warner Brothers), kept him afloat. He wrote about 30 new songs and for now, they live in his notebooks. “I’m sure the numbers will resurface, but I am currently not in a hurry to return to that place,” he says.
In the summer of 2016, he by chance ran into Norah and her band at the airport. They sat down and had a beer, and at one point, “Everything I Say Is A Lie” came up. When the band asked how the album was doing, Jack just shrugged and said,”I haven’t put it out yet.” Norah leaned in and incredulously asked, “Jack, what the hell!?”
The encounter got Jack thinking, and things came to a head later that summer when he visited his childhood friend Jimmy Armstrong. Jimmy is not the analytical type, but he looked at Jack late one night and sighed, “You gotta find a new girl or something, because this whole experience has stolen your essence”.
In January of 2017, Jack took a trip to Sayulita, Mexico and proclaimed, “It’s time, to reclaim myself and ditch this maudlin songwriter thing.” The trip was truly a magical motorcycling beach fantasy. Jack returned refreshed and reviewed the music from, “Everything I Say Is A Lie.”
“The songs just jumped back into my repertoire. They were waiting for me and I for them,” he says. “I think I knew what was coming when I wrote these songs, but consciously, I was in complete denial. The songs and I have re-bonded and I’d like to properly release them. “Bad Wind Blowing,” a duet with Norah, was a complete foreshadowing of the days to come and seems to ring true for 2017 America. “Everything I Say Is A Lie,” the title track, is a sarcastic spin on denial told through the eyes of a complete narcissist. “I Like You” is not about love, but the underrated emotion of just liking someone and enjoying their company, while the closing song, “So We Run” is about confronting and saying no to things you simply do not want to do. “It turns out, I have little control over what I write. The words are like a feisty dog on a leash, pulling me wherever they want to go. I hope one day, to be as honest as my own songs.”
The album was recorded in Brooklyn, NY at Cowboy Technical Services. Jack Grace wrote the songs primarily on his 1947 Gibson LG-2 signed by Merle Haggard, Doc Watson and Charlie Louvin (all of whom Jack has played with). Eric Ambel and Jack Grace share guitar duties. It is definitely a recording that emphasizes guitar tone. Daria Grace plays a 1956 Kay electric bass and sings. Diego Voglino and Russ Meissner play drums, Bill Malchow sent in the piano and keyboard parts from New Orleans. Norah Jones and Lee Falco sing additional vocals.