Jandek Announces Live Dates

The most mysterious man in music chooses Northern Ireland for first ever tour

Jandek has released more than 50 albums and amassed a worldwide cult following, all the while refusing to make even the slightest concession towards the mainstream. Interviews, photographs, tours, singles - the Texan enigma has never done any of them.

Indeed, his dedication in releasing his work is only matched by his determination to reject all of the accepted rules for actually maintaining a career as a musician.

Paying for and distributing all of his releases out of his own pocket on his Houston-based record label Corwood Industries, since 1978 Jandek has plied a once heard never forgotten kind of stark, desiccated blues with lyrics so bleak it makes Leonard Cohen look like The Saturdays (song titles include They Told Me I Was A Fool, Janitor’s Dead and There’s No Door).

His entire catalogue consists of full-length albums – no singles on any format – and he only started producing CDs in the mid-90s. Don’t even bother looking for him on iTunes.

Jandek, real name Sterling Smith, first performed live in 2004, at the Instal festival in Glasgow. Since then he’s performed the occasional sporadic gig, but it is only now, more than three decades into his career, that he is going on his first tour – and, on the singer's request, he's chosen as the venue Northern Ireland.

The four date tour kicks off in a most unlikely of places, Larne, before going on to Bangor and Belfast, finally coming to a halt in Derry on July 22. The jaunt is being organised in conjunction with two local independent record labels, Five Minute Association and Dead Slack String Recordings.

As the owner of Dead Slack String, James Rider, explains, for him the tour represents ‘an unmissable opportunity to showcase one the world’s finest outsider folk artists in venues he would never be expected to play.

'News of the tour has already come out on the internet, and looking at the reaction of people on messageboards across the world finding out that Jandek is playing in Larne, for example, is pretty special,' Rider continues.

'These are venues and towns that often get missed on musicians’ usual routes, so it’s good to be able to bring someone as unusual as Jandek to Northern Ireland. Basically, we’re trying to take an offbeat musician off the beaten track.

'He's a really engaging, passionate and individual performer who makes the perfect antidote to a world of production-line performers and identikit musicians. This is the first time he’s played in Northern Ireland, it’s the first time he’s ever done a full tour anywhere, and there’s a good chance he may never tour again, so it genuinely is a once in a lifetime opportunity.'

Jandek plays The Olderfleet Bar, Larne (July 19, £7); The Black Boat, Bangor (July 20, £5); The Black Box, Belfast (July 21, £10); and Sandinos, Derry (July 22, £7).

Tickets for Belfast are available from the venue and at HMV in Belfast’s Donegall Arcade. Full tour tickets (£25) are available from Five Minute Association at five.minute.association@hotmail.com. All other dates are pay at the door.