JACKSON, Wyo. — If you’re hungry for locally-grown organic tunes, check out Snacks—the debut solo release from Jack Tolan, guitarist-vocalist of Sneaky Pete & the Secret Weapons. The four-track EP reflects the acoustic guitar-driven songs Tolan has been writing for years as a soloist, kept minimalistic with few overdubs.
“Maybe these Snacks will entice people for a full meal down the road, a full length album,” Tolan mused. “The sessions were spaced out over the last year with big gaps in between. The coolest part about [the gaps] is that it gives your ears time a lot of time to get away from the songs and listen with fresh ears. I definitely prefer to crank it out but that gave me a chance to really sing the songs and get the vocal takes I want.”
Tolan lends acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, lead vocals to the release with Kia Mosenthal adding harmony vocals on two tracks as well as album artwork. A Professional Development grant from the Wyoming Arts Council aided with funding the project, which was engineered and mixed by Joe Rudd.
From the liner notes: “Snacks is the first batch of original music I’ve released under my own name. These songs are dear to me. They chronicle experiences in my life that have stuck with me most vividly. ‘Within the View’ was written by my older sister Liz and I’m so very excited it is featured on this EP.”
Lyric snapshot from “Within the View:” “If the greatest fulfillment in life is to see the sky/oh where, oh where do I put my feet/One love, one light, one heart between these eyes, oneness within the view.”
The other three songs are penned by Tolan and include “Jony’s Cooking Show,” “Closer to the Center of Things,” and “Stair 9.” Tolan had been performing this material for quite some time outside of recording and touring with Sneaky Pete and as a member of folk-based project, Birds of Play. He noted the male-female vocal sound of Mandolin Orange, the intricate fingerpicking style of Tallest Man on Earth, and the percussive right hand playing of Rodrigo y Gabriela and flamenco music as inspirations. Having the extra time to focus on solo material triggered a newfound mentality as a solo artist.
“It fed into the motivation for me to be really self-sufficient as a musician,” Tolan explained. “If there are times when [my bands] literally can’t play together, that kind of rattled me a bit, feeling very vulnerable in this line of work. Knowing I can do a lot, just me, was motivation to finish the EP and see it through.”
Snacks is available for streaming on all platforms, and for digital download at JackTolan.Bandcamp.com.