Drummer Jack O’Dell rekindled an old flame. He’s going to Melbourne to be with her.


Jack O’Dell, the slinkiest drummer in town, is packing up his drumsticks. By the stop of the thirty day period, he’ll be in a new dwelling, 10,000 miles from Washington.

“I’ve received 3,000 records I have to ship to Australia,” Jack reported the other evening in between sets with the Thrillbillys at Hank Dietle’s. There’s also a drum set, some guitars, some hand resources and numerous other items 1 tends to accumulate in 59 years on this world, while Jack insists he’s pruned his possessions significantly for the go.

I’ve savored watching Jack play, the two with the Thrillbillys — a flexible roots rock foursome — and in the Rhodes Tavern Troubadours, the group he co-established in 2001. With a name that calls to head a 6-foot-4 sprite — Jack of the Dell — he’s the king of the tasteful groove, with sly flourishes and nary a beat out of location. He’s a great singer much too.

What would inspire Jack to go to the literal other facet of the world? A Melbourne singer-songwriter named Suzannah Espie, who Jack achieved 22 a long time back in Texas.

“It is a lovely, romantic issue,” Jack told me. “Everybody loves to listen to this old-fashioned adore tale, where by someone will take a chance, can make a commitment and purchases in.”

Jack was born in San Francisco and expended his early yrs in Berkeley. When he was 10, his professor father received a occupation at Tulane and the relatives moved to New Orleans.

“That was rather the culture shock,” stated Jack. “I experienced to get a haircut seriously quick.”

His father, David, was a James Joyce scholar and beginner drummer. He confirmed Jack all around a drum kit and steeped him in jazz and blues. Getting all-around the audio of New Orleans was like “filling a reservoir,” Jack stated. “This appears corny, but it is correct: I would ride my bicycle about the Tulane campus and stumble upon Professor Longhair carrying out a totally free present at the quad.”

Immediately after his mothers and fathers divorced and he moved with his mother, Janis, back to San Francisco, Jack obtained into punk rock. When they moved to Maryland, he played with Baltimore punk band Null Established.

Ultimately, Jack started playing with bands that needed he dip into that rootsy reservoir. In 1994, he joined As well A lot Entertaining, giving the bottom end with bassist Johnny Castle as they backed Monthly bill Kirchen, the fleet-fingered guitarist from Commander Cody.

“It was wonderful,” Jack said of his time in Also Substantially Entertaining. “You’d under no circumstances practical experience one thing like this currently. In the early ’90s, each Tuesday Kirchen was at Whitey’s, each individual Wednesday at Tornado Alley, each individual Thursday at the Sunset Grille. And each and every Friday we had been at BWI traveling to where ever. Then on Monday we’d fly again. We did that for yrs.”

It was at one particular of individuals street reveals that he fulfilled Suzannah, whose place vocal group, Git, was touring the States and opened a couple displays for Kirchen.

“There was type of this sparky matter between us. But absolutely nothing was heading to happen, actually,” Jack stated.

Jack had just gotten married, and Suzannah was in a marriage with the man who would shortly turn into her partner.

Still, Jack claimed, “Apparently, neither one of us forgot it.”

When the pandemic strike and gigs dried up — along with the carpentry that was his day position — Jack started out submitting video clips of himself undertaking at residence. Suzannah saw people, favored them, commented on them, messaged Jack. An on-line courtship began concerning the two now-single buddies.

“One matter led to a different, and it became authentic,” Jack mentioned.

In January, Suzannah flew right here to see Jack for the to start with time in 20 years. In April, Jack put in a thirty day period in Melbourne. In June, he declared the information of the major go on Fb.

In a weird way, covid came at a superior time for Jack O’Dell.

“As awesome as that seems, it gave me a likelihood to just be at household and experience myself, to sit there with a guitar and produce a song, to notify the entire world how you experience, to be authentic,” he mentioned. “I’ve needed to be a songwriter for a extended time. I hardly ever definitely gave myself the time or the license to be resourceful. Covid did.”

Jack’s previous displays with the Rhodes Tavern Troubadours are July 13 and 14 at VFW Submit 350 in Takoma Park. His farewell to the Thrillbillys is July 23 at JV’s in Falls Church.

And two days soon after he touches down in Australia, Jack has a gig.

“I’ll be a zombie from jet lag,” he said, “but it’s straight country so I must be fine.”

Update: This column was adjusted to eliminate personal spouse and children data.