Old Man Jack “Stone Cold” (SINGLE)

Old Man Jack is back in the headlines this spring with a deliciously rock-flavored blues jam in “Stone Cold,” and if you haven’t heard their music before, this song is a terrific way of getting introduced to their sound. Perhaps their most diversely-appointed composition so far, “Stone Cold” flexes a lot of melodic muscle on top of a staggering beat capable of making a fan out of almost anyone. From their home scene to the more competitive circuits, Old Man Jack is calling attention to a new breed of underground grooves all their own here; and making their eminence as premier indie players more than known to all listening.

The guitar/vocal combo here is the driving force behind Old Man Jack, and though their shared work has always had somewhat of an eclectic feel, this track feels almost intentionally jagged. It’s important to appreciate the rough edges here, if for no other reason than to hear the intricate detail all of the dexterous movements in the rhythm are comprised of. Our singer was pulling out the stops in-studio to give us something as grand as his vision is in “Stone Cold,” and in my opinion, he did one heck of a good job with the finished product.

There’s a lot of sonic depth to the string parts in this single, but like the other elements in the mix, nothing here feels or sounds even remotely underutilized. Old Man Jack’s music has been consistently distinguishable from that of their American contemporaries on the strength of its elaborate foundations, and in this sense, “Stone Cold” is on par with everything they’ve ever recorded.

BANDCAMP: https://omjhardrock.bandcamp.com/track/stone-cold

What sets this apart as one of their best songs so far has more to do with execution than it does production or preparation, and in this regard, I think they’re sparking a brighter flame than they have in prior sessions together.

A slowed-down version of “Stone Cold” could potentially appeal to fans of mainstream blues as much as this one does conventional blues audiences, but this isn’t to say I don’t think the standard cut of the song is highly accessible. Contrarily, and as I suggested at the start of this article, I think this is the perfect song to get people into the music of Old Man Jack. It’s a strong showcase of who they are, and more importantly, what they can do when there’s nothing to come between the conceptual artistry and the audience this band seeks to share it with.

The future is looking brighter than ever for Old Man Jack in “Stone Cold,” and if you haven’t already, you should hear what all of this single’s hype has been about for yourself. Blues is an ever-evolving genre, and the culture of musicians who have breathed life into its best harmonies for over a century is growing exponentially right now. Old Man Jack is at the forefront of their nation’s scene, and if that wasn’t obvious to critics before now, I think it will be after “Stone Cold” finds a home on blues radio everywhere in 2024.

Mark Druery