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Chicago folk songwriter Kara Jackson for Dublin debut

Chicago folk songwriter Kara Jackson for Dublin debut

Kara Jackson By Lawrence Agyei

As featured in last week’s album roundup, Why Does the Earth Give Us People to Love?, the debut album from Illinois poet and singer-songwriter Kara Jackson has been getting good notice with Pitchfork giving it a Best New Music tag saying she “takes folk music and bends it to her will, exploring agony and adoration in equal measure.”

On cursory listens, the album reminds me of the widescreen expanse of Joanna Newsom’s work, except made with guitars and folk music rather than harp.

The album is out now on September Recordings and Jackson has announced so EU / UK dates including a Dublin debut.

Singular Artists present that show at The Workman’s Cellar, Sunday 10th September 2023. Tickets €16.35 plus fees on sale Friday 21st April at 10am.

Kara Jackson formerly served as the U.S. National Youth Poet Laureate from 2019 to 2020.

Kara Jackson Tour dates

3 Sept – End of the Road Festival – Salisbury, UK

6 Sept – St. Pancras Old Church – London, UK

10 Sept – The Workman’s Cellar – Dublin, IR

14 Sept – Blagards Apotek – Copenhagen, DK

15/16 Sept – by:Larm – Oslo, NO

Check out some songs from the record, which is available on Bandcamp.

‘Dickhead Blues’ was my way in:


Connect with Kara JacksonInstagram | Twitter | YouTube | Spotify

Kara Jackson bio

 Why Does the Earth Give Us People to Love, solidifies a signature style for Kara: asking open ended questions; the meandering process of trying to answer them leaves us pause for thought. Specifically, Kara’s debut album is a sonic invitation to process our grief. The title is a question the author is always answering. How do we give ourselves permission to yearn for the people we miss? How do we find the courage to let go of what begs to be released? How do we have the audacity to love in spite of everything invented to deter us from it?

Kara wrote and recorded the original demos in her childhood bedroom during the early days of the pandemic, drafting lyrics in bed and singing into a mic propped up on her dresser. From there she brought in Nnamdi, Kaina and Sen Morimoto to re-record the demos and help shape the production. It feels fitting that this collection of songs about love and relationships were created with a tight-knit group of musician friends in a time of such uncertainty and loss.

As a songwriter, Kara fuses her poetic sensibilities with the rich musical heritage of her family’s Southern roots. Her voice is a river of molasses tumbling over gently plucked guitar. Sparse acoustic moments and soaring string sections create space for Kara to use the full architecture of her voice, with clear high notes and devastating low tones. The album’s tracks are not beholden to traditional song structure. Instead, language leads the way. The thick lyricism is intentional, as Kara says, “There’s so many words on this project, it’s important for me that people know I can write things, maybe in ways they aren’t used to seeing.”

See Also

Wielding her voice like a honey-coated blade, Kara Jackson crafts a blend of emotional folk music and poetic alt-country. With the radical honesty of Nina Simone, the intricate lyricism of Fiona Apple and Joanna Newsom, and the straightforward, no-frills delivery of artists like Kimya Dawson, Kara’s writing blurs the line between poetry and song, demanding an attentive ear and a repeat listen.

Raised by country folk and Black feminist poets like Gwendolyn Brooks and Lucille Clifton, Kara’s songs have the softness and warmth of a southern drawl, while still being sharp enough to cut deep. Born and raised in Oak Park, IL, a community 10 miles west of Chicago, with a Southern sensibility imbued by their parent’s background, her innate talent was unlocked early on honing her skills for music and writing from a very young age. At five years old she began piano lessons; she later taught themself guitar and eventually her  passion for poetry took full force during high school. It was then that she began to be appreciated as the Black Queer  polymath that she is, earning the prestigious and coveted honour of  being 2019’s National Youth Poet Laureate and releasing her debut EP A Song for Every Chamber of the Heart in the same year. 

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