Sunday, February 27, 2011

Jack Wilcox - A Marriage of Clocks and Highways

Let me preface this post by apologizing for my total lag in time-space the past 2 months. Strangely, though, this record ties into the unexpected move I made in January from the Northwest to Southern Texas. Jack Wilcox was introduced to me by a good friend as a buried regional LP from my neck of the woods, maybe 3 years ago... a lost loner folk record that sounded like it was recorded by the angry son of a logger, trapped in Northern Idaho, a wayward intellectual youth washed out into the resignation of beer-can spray and icy roads of the soul... I liked the LP then, and still find something very appealing about it now. Allegedly recorded in an empty bar, Wilcox's voice is fragile but coarse, and his songs exude the dull ache of blue collar America's trappings and smoke filled particle board interiors. The whole trip may seem a little flat at first but I found a subtle edge to it all that only grew on me over time. For folk fans, it is most certainly something worth checking out. When the record was first brought to my attention I tried quite hard to find Jack, but was met with a series of dead-end phone numbers and addresses. Having spent a fair amount of time digging for records in Idaho as well, I figured that finding a copy in the wild was inevitable, but still after 3 years of sporadic road trips across the state I had nothing to show and was no closer to finding Jack himself. Having taken note of one of Jack's prophetic song titles, "Don't Ever Fall in Love With a Poet," nearly 3 years ago itself, I did the exact opposite of his prosaic advice and made a life with my lover, a lady so gifted with the pen that I wove my words around her for as long as I could. We parted ways after the holidays this year, though having taken our last Christmas vacation together in Southern Idaho, and my fate still completely unbeknownst to me - I found a beautiful copy of this very record at a thrift store along the way! An eerie capstone to a wonderful chapter in my life, something I'm proud to have been apart of. Jack, if you're out there, drop me a line... I'd love to buy you a beer someday and talk about the tallest pine trees devised by man. Texas dispatches next time... Adio!

The Poet Reclines


  1. Thank you for sharing J, indeed a nice and gentle roadtrip for head & mind.

  2. very nice stuff.
    good to see you back.
    take care,

    B. Bean

  3. Would you be able to please post the tracklisting?


  4. Wow! I hadn't realized you had started blogging again. I always liked your posts on And then the chimney spoke. Thanks for this.

  5. I should probably hear this, no?

  6. I would say, you probably should.

  7. Jack Wilcox Sowards is my mother's first cousin. I grew up listening to this record. I remember one of the songs being about the mining incident in Kellog, Id. I still remember some of the lyrics. "There's a miner that stand by the side of the road where river flows by like a highway. And the highway flows by like a dream."

  8. Maynben - Could you drop me a line at

    Thanks -- Jack

  9. Wow, this is wonderful. Reminiscent, in an peculiar way, to some of Peter Laughner's solo demos. Thank you so much for this.

    Here's the track listing:

    1. Can't Quit Dancin' • 2:18
    2. Don't Ever Fall in Love with a Poet • 4:06
    3. Sunshine Mining Disaster • 2:58
    4. Just Another Freight Train Song/Exileria/Child of Abraham • 7:18
    5. Might Get Lucky • 2:40
    6. So Lovely • 3:05
    7. High Road • 2:02
    8. Running with the Wolves • 3:48
    9. Mythos • 4:22
    10. Of Clocks and Highways • 3:05

  10. I am Maynben's second cousin and also Jack Sowards' nephew -- I was quite surprised to see a blogger commenting on Uncle Jack's LP. The "official" story from family members is that the bar picture is from Moscow, ID, and the album was actually recorded in a church building in southern Idaho.

  11. Hello there! Please drop me a line at:

    Many thanks, Jack