Split into two sections, Side A features a collection of acoustic tracks from Jack Biilmann, whilst Side B is a powerful re-entrance to the blues/rock arena with the newly formed backing band The Black Tide.
After 10 years of national and international touring, a world famous Maton guitars endorsement, hundreds of thousands of streams, four albums and a reputation for a hell of a live show, Canberra-based singer-songwriter, Jack Biilmann has paved a reputation as one of Australia’s most talented artists in the blues/roots/rock scene.
Biilmann has played over a hundred live shows and festivals per year while sharing the stage on the festival circuit with some of the country’s biggest artists including John Farnham, The Cat Empire, Tash Sultana, Kingswood, You Am I, Bobby Alu, Citizen Kay, Ian Moss, Mat McHugh (The Beautiful Girls), Jay Whalley (Frenzal Rhomb), Abbe May and Kim Churchill.
He recently released his latest album, Divided Mind. The album is a concept record, that is split into two sections. Side A features a collection of acoustic tracks from Biilmann, whilst Side B is a powerful re-entrance to the blues/rock arena with the newly formed backing band The Black Tide.
Biilmann has also announced a huge run of Australian tour dates to celebrate the release of his new album, with dates in NSW, Victoria, Queensland and ACT.
We’re so delighted to bring you this exclusive track by track, as Jack Biilmann talks us through each individual track: the creation, sentiment, and everything in between.
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All tracks were written and refined for the space of The Round Plain Church, Rocky Plain NSW. Each song was tracked three times completely live and then the best take was picked for mixing. It’s raw, it’s emotive and it’s real. Everything I try to be as an artist when I have an acoustic guitar in hand. Featuring Sara Flint (Apricot Ink) on backing vocals.
I wrote this one about my hot blooded nature. It’s been a blessing and a curse my whole life. It’s about throwing yourself into situations, goals, relationships with not much idea but plenty of intent and passion. I wanted to bring the biggest vibe possible using the live/acoustic elements at my disposal and bring the album in with a bang. I think this track is a real statement of intent and a real achievement to capture in such a live sounding space. Super proud of it and at this stage, is the only Side A track that also has a band version for live shows.
Drink The Water was inspired by a line my father said when we were visiting the high country. He would prompt my brother and I to drink the water from the river as you “won’t taste better and more pure water.” With my family heritage in mind, I wrote the song about no matter where life takes me, these places will always remain so important to me. We literally finished writing this one on the day and Sara’s vocals are amazing. There is also a hint of Celtic music about it. I look forward to people listening to this one and hoping they can relate it to their places.
Since I was young, I had a nose for a bad or toxic person. I can usually see it coming and remove myself before I get hurt or caught up in a bad situation. This track details that idea and showcases how my songs start on the acoustic guitar. On Side B there is a full band version which reveals where we landed on it. This one has a very raw feel and was a great fit for the space. The resonator and vocals just sit so well together.
Skipping Stone is about the headspace I get in before the need to escape into the mountains to clear my mind. Themes of self-doubt, not recognising success, too much self-pressure, the grief of losing family and wrongly focused energy shine through. Sara and my voice really melt together here, and it is most likely the most vocal prominent track on the album. Listen to the massive gust of wind at the very end of the song, it waited for us to finish. Very haunting moment.
This is the first lockdown song of the album. Reminding me of all the things that I used to just go and do without thinking anything of it and how that was starting to eat away at me. I played my neglected Weissenborn Lap Steel guitar on this track which lifted it to another place. Strong americana and country vibes on this one and it really croons.
The second lockdown song but of a much more introspective nature with a touch of darkness. Black Mountain in the ACT was almost taunting me at my window as I worked from home which inspired the song. It’s a celebrated landmark in the capital and rightly so, but what I was craving was solitude in the wilderness away from any form of tourist destination. I am very happy with the melody here and the guitar parts. My following has been bolstered by a new wave of “Dark Country” fans of late which was a total accident and nice surprise. They will really like this one.
To satisfy the rock music hunger that is always present in my mind I formed The Black Tide with members Pat Quinn Quirke (guitar), Jono Warren (Drums) and Joel Cabban (Bass). In a short period of time, I couldn’t be happier with the line-up and the band is super tight, dynamic and has a great time doing it. There’s energy, stank, darkness and badass attitudes.
As Hot Blood does on Side A, Bottle literally smashes you as it starts Side B of the album. The riff doubles as the song’s hook which was a new thing for me in terms of writing. Lyrically, the line “I’ve never found God at the bottom of a bottle” describes my delicate relationship with alcohol.
As much as I love a drink, I know that I must be careful as, at times, we don’t mix well together depending on how I am at the time. Metaphorically, stating that alcohol isn’t the answer for many of the reasons, one can lean on it and knowing that through experience. This will prick the ears of 90’s rock, stoner rock and riff appreciators. A huge moment.
Sandcastle keeps the momentum coming with more of a story telling vibe. Written about losing my childhood home on the Far South Coast of NSW and all the thoughts and feelings attached to that. It has a very nice pace and flows out of bottle super well. The 90’s rock feel is strong again with some big vocals and a ripping solo from Pat. I get big Pearl Jam vibes from it.
The band version. This reveals the options I have at my disposal when I write music. I actually don’t know whether I like the Side A or B version better. Hence why they are both on the album. There’s some very tasty slide guitar going on and Sara’s backing vocals are a standout.
Easily the most energetic song of the album which has proven to be a crowd favourite at shows. Eric is my best friend so it’s only fair to write a song about him and also make it a ripper. The guitars in this one are layered perfectly with the tones and parts locked in. The hook is an ear worm which was an accident as it’s supposed to mimic a howling dog. It’s super tight but there’s a certain looseness to it which I really love. One of the best solos I have ever written on this track.
I drove to QLD for that leg of my Full Circle tour as the pandemic was heating up only to be stopped at the border and sent home. I was pretty crushed as it was a 12 hour drive which is such an effort for nothing. I was watching the news about COVID-19 in the lead up and turned it off and said, “I don’t want to know.” This became the chorus and the song developed from there. It is the most theatrical song on the album with the intro setting the tone. The closest song on the album to a genuine blues song. The solo is epic, and it’s got tudeeeee.
I wrote this when I was on a bit of a downer. As the chorus suggests, I’d lost my way and the way the song builds into rock mayhem is almost how it feels when I lose my cool and then compose myself after that. I love the tension that is created in this song, and it is a very proud writing moment. This is a band favourite to play live, and all the boys’ parts and performances are amazing. I wasn’t sure if the song would work on the album as it is quite different, but it turned out to be the perfect finisher.