I first heard Jack Rose four or five years ago when he opened for Sunn O))) at Philadelphia's First Unitarian Church. While Sunn O))) may have had the loud guitars and the smoke machine and the creepy lights and all the heavy metal street cred in the world, Rose, a stocky, bearded Philadelphia transplant sitting up on the stage with only his acoustic guitar, was infinitely heavier.
Rose's music was a mix of country, blues, ragtime, drone, Eastern classical and folk elements, all blended and simmered in the tradition of finger-picked guitar and Rose's experimental spirit. Ben Chasny of Six Organs of Admittance said it best when he talked about Rose's 2003 album Opium Musick in an interview with Pitchfork.com: "Finally"¦ somebody has something to say on the acoustic guitar that hasn't been said before."
Rose suffered a heart attack and died this past Saturday at the age of 38.
Rest in Peace, Jack.
Rose performs a track from last year's Dr. Ragtime and his Pals at a free in-store show at Reckless Records' Wicker Park store.
Live in Berlin
Here he is in Germany in 2007, showing his Eastern influences.
With the Black Twig Pickers
Rose and the Black Twig Pickers (a group of Virginia musicians that includes Nathan Bowles, who played with Rose in the drone group Pelt in the early "˜90s) hard at work in the studio.
And live at Terrastock 7 in Louisville, Kentucky
Live at Time Tested Books, Sacramento CA in 2007. FYI: Kensington is the Philly neighborhood where Rose lived. It borders the titular neighborhood of another Rose song, "Fishtown Flower."
Live in Philadelphia
Two songs "“ "Dusty Grass" and "Levee"Â "“ from a May 2008 show at Johnny Brenda's.