Houlihan’s vivid and stark storytelling is carried by weary yet warm vocals as his schizophrenic character ruminates over a lost lover. Each of the 13 songs on Jack Rabbit Jones portrays a conversation between the two personalities,Jack Rabbit Jones and his evil alter ego King Amish. The album is meant to be “projected into your mind’s eye, and viewed as a theatrical experience,” the Jack Rabbit press release notes.
“I initially had a grand scheme to release a small comic with it and do an elaborate stage production early on, but as I got deeper into the writing process it became clear that the songs would be cohesive enough to allow the listener enough room to imagine their own interpretation,” said Houlihan. “The songs evolved into a dialogue between two people, one of which has a split personality like a Jekyll/Hyde character, and this creates a messed-up love triangle.”
The album opens with Houlihan’s acoustic gallop on “Mosquito Coast,” where he wraps a well-worn couplet in the chorus: “Tell my body not to leave my soul, I’ll grow up but I’ll never grow old/I’m so tired doin’ what I’m told, breakin’ my back for another man’s gold.” Houlihan certainly channels Orbison on standout cuts “Black Butte” and “Burial Waltz.” In “Jealous Vow,” Houlihan’s conflicted character vows, “I will have my vengeance on your soul” and is “tortured by rushing winds” on “Pity Creek Ravine,” though on “Emerson” he confidently declares that “love can heal our scars.” And it’s no coincidence that some of the most beautiful moments occur when Houlihan and Callery are entwined around the mic, particularly on “Little Bird” and “You’ve Disappeared” (she will join HTH for the entire performance on Friday). Their rendition of “Ease Your Troubled Mind” at the Theatre 82 show held the room in total silence. This song is absolutely gorgeous.
“Will is a gifted songwriter and an amazing soul,” commended Callery. “I can’t wait for everyone to hear his music.”