Expressing his music from the heart is important to Darren and winning 5 Australian Blues Music Awards has provided him and his fellow band members with the inspiration to continue building on their success.
Where are you from originally – and where do you call home these days?
I am originally from Sydney and moved up to Forster 4 years ago.
When did you first pick up a guitar? Who was your musical inspiration?
I first picked up the guitar when I was around 16 years old. When I first heard Robert Cray on the radio in 1986 while washing my mum’s car, I instantly knew that this was the music I wanted to play. It was then that I discovered Blues and artists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmie Vaughan, Freddie King, Eric Clapton, Cream, Buddy Guy, Santana and Jimi Hendrix.
I do dig what John Mayer has done with the Blues, and I can hear a lot of the same influences in his music. I also love Soul, Rhythm and Blues and Jazz music.
What’s your musical background … what led you to first start performing in public?
I don’t really have a musical background, other than I just have a passion for Blues music and playing guitar. Performing live just started to happen through jamming with mates, and it just started to roll from there.
Introduce us to your current band line up …
I have a couple of bands. For the gig at Finnian’s, I will have the Darren Jack Hammond Trio, which features Sam Boyd on Hammond Organ and Rosscoe Clark on drums.
I also have the Darren Jack Band, which can be a trio with Harry Brus on Bass and/or a quartet which also has Sam and Rosscoe. I also play solo acoustic gigs.
What gongs did you recently take away from the Australia Blues Music Awards? How did these accolades make you and the rest of the group feel?
We were very fortunate to win five Australian Blues Music Awards. We took out Album of the Year for our latest release, Better Place, Song of the Year, Group of the Year, Best New Talent, and Sean Rudd received Producer of the Year.
It was a great feeling winning all of those awards and has inspired all of us to want to keep moving forward in this direction. Personally, it has given me more confidence to continue writing music, which I love to do and mostly focus on now.
Tell us about your most recent album – Better Place …
Better Place was recorded in Sydney at Level 7 Studios, which is the old 301 famous studios. It took around 6 months to record, as I was fitting it in with everything else and commuting backwards and forwards to Sydney.
This album shows all of my influences – more than anything else I have produced previously. I don’t have a particular favourite song. Depending on the mood I am in, there is enough variety of songs to satisfy me musically.
What was the influence/story behind your awarded song, What’s the Hurry?
What’s the Hurry is a song I wrote since moving up here from Sydney for a change of pace. It’s quite simply about slowing down and not trying to do everything so fast. I’m still trying to take my own advice. Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I don’t … that’s the thing called life!
What is it about the Blues genre in particular that strikes a chord with you?
Blues music is all about honesty. I pride myself on honesty, and this music is a great way to express it. It comes from the heart. If it is done right, you can feel it in your bones and soul.
What are the plans for the band over the next 12 months?
We are currently promoting the new album around the country and looking at some overseas prospects.
Where can people download your music or find out more information about the band?
All information for shows and music and contacts are available on the website: www.darrenjack.com
Interview by Jo Atkins.
See the Darren Jack Hammond Trio at Finnian’s Irish Tavern on Friday, May 4, from 8pm.