Jack Browning is currently bursting with joy as he can, at long last, announce to the world that US singer, songwriter and guitarist Big White Buffalo is releasing his new studio album On The Widow’s Walk in April and Jack has provided the artwork. In Jacks words “It seems so surreal that I’ve painted a cover for an artist I’ve listened to since I was 14.”
Jack took a few moments to talk to me before enjoying the moment some more..
You are certainly a man of many talents Jack and it would appear, a master of all of them whether it be artist, songwriter, bass player, guitarist. A difficult question but what would be your first love?
“You’re too kind there, man. I spend a lot of time comparing myself to others which is a terrible habit, so I normally just tell people I can colour in fairly well and make a loud noise when I need to!
I do believe that if you are passionate about something then that will show and the right people will see it, too. I think having soul and a little bit of fight in you and what you create is worth more than being technically gifted, which I am certainly not!
It’s a bit of a paradox to be truthful, when I was touring a lot over the last two years, I was doing something I’ve been trying to do since I started playing guitar when I was 13!…yet there I was, wishing I had more time to paint.
Since taking on more and more artistic endeavours, I’m sat in my studio wishing I was touring more! I generally sum it up to be happy would be to be painting year-round, and have that funding touring as and when I want to. I feel like I look okay sitting on the fence…!”
You must be so chuffed that such a high profile musician like big White Buffalo (Jake Smith) has chosen you to provide the artwork to grace his new album ‘The Widow’s Walk’.
“Yes, I’m utterly humbled and very grateful to Jake and his team. They’ve been awesome, and it shows the power of the Internet as it was all done between my studio in London and their offices in California.
Back in 2018, I created a portrait of The White Buffalo, and was lucky to present it to him backstage at a show in London. We got to hang out, and I was pretty candid in telling him I made the work as an excuse to meet one of my musical heroes – after all, I’ve listened to his music since I was 14.
Then in November of last year, I woke up to an email asking me if I’d be willing to work on creating the album cover and I tried to play it cool but I think they realised what a big deal this is to me!”
With the renaissance of vinyl records do you see this as a great opportunity, after all with the likes of Roger Dean, Andy Warhol and Hipgnosis the art played some part when buying records in the 60s and 70s?
“I actually had a conversation with a pretty big label guy who shall remain nameless just the other day about this very thing – I think the art and the experience of having the whole package in a physical format is being romanticised and is becoming popular again.
It’s great for people who work in both mediums, like myself, as if I consider an album, the artwork plays such a massive role for me, and I think thats the case for most people. For example, if you think of Dark Side Of The Moon, most people’s first thought is of that iconic cover.”
My first encounter with Jack Browning the musician was when he complimented Mike Ross, Jack J Hutchinson and Troy Redfern’s (RHR) with some mighty fine bass playing. More recently with Keylock and some nice acoustic work at Jack J Hutchinson’s album launch. What is next on the horizon?
“Well I spent the best part of the last four years really grafting on the road, and I am so grateful for the myriad of places I played with Aaron and RHR.
I definitely had to take a step back – that lifestyle of juggling construction jobs and art and the road warrior style of living can take its toll and for me it started to.
I’m now focusing on becoming my own person artistically speaking, and I’ve got a great little band together to support these ideas. I’m excited to finish recording my debut EP and getting back to playing again!”
Thank you Jack for taking time out to talk to me but before I go, If my memory serves me correctly, did you not have a piece of artwork shortlisted in a museum competition?
“I had a piece of art, a portrait of a friend, shortlisted in the final of a competition run by Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, the national museum of The Netherlands. That was an incredible honour, just to be able to deliver my work to a space that hangs so many of the works that inspired me to take up the craft.”