Jack Willow Jr.'s debut album KING FEAR (out 5.24.2019) is an expansive survey of the fear and anxiety of the age we live in. The album itself was conceived in a swirl of chaos that overtook the artist’s life in 2018.
At the end of 2017, Mike Furlong had been playing and touring around the southeast for 4 years, and was emotionally finished. Tired of making music he felt no connection to, he stopped playing publicly without much warning, and, in his own words "had a bit of a quarter-life-crisis."
Taking a collection of songs he had written on the side over the years, and a chunk of money saved up from touring, he wanted to enter the studio with no expectations. He adopted a new pen name, “Jack Willow Jr.,” and dove into the process headlong, creating huge but nimble arrangements of strings, horns, synths, and vocals, along with the traditional 4 piece rock band. The feeling of freedom and exploration was exhilarating at first.
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RIYL: Shakey Graves, Rayland Baxter, Ben Howard, Noah Gundersen
Eight months later, he had run out of money for the album and was in debt. He had been struck by chronic health issues, and hurricanes and acts of god had pushed back the studio schedule indefinitely. All this weighed heavy on his mind the day he was in a car accident. Fortunately, the accident had no serious consequences. In his own words:
"I was buried under debt and failing health, depressed and discouraged. The accident woke me up. That was when I had to turn it around, or get out of music entirely. I thought about it for weeks, and it seemed better to try than to give up."
Soon after, he caught a break. The studio building needed renovations, and the owner approached him about working off his debt. Month after month, he put in all his spare hours painting, power washing, laying floors, landscaping, and cleaning. As the studio began to look better, so did his prospects. When the album wrapped up, his health had steadily improved for several weeks. He says,
"2018 was chaos. There was not much good in how that year treated me, or how I reacted to it. An emotional problem grew a matching set of financial and health problems to go with it, and I learned all over again that life owes you nothing. All that humble pie I ate made it into the record though: the sweat and tears, the long hours. The doctor's visits and days when I was in a haze at my day job from mixing late the night before. I hope that anyone else who's down in the sh** can hear some encouragement in this record. I didn’t have that goal when I set out, but life teaches you lessons you didn’t ask for all the time."
Forged in a quarter life crisis and fortified with elbow grease, KING FEAR issues a clarion call: in the darkest of times, survive.
For inquiries, contact David Park or Mike Furlong: