Jack Barksdale, the 12-year-old powerhouse blues-Americana singer-songwriter, is back with his new single “Man in the Shadows” and a music video to boot. The song, Barksdale says, is about the internal conflicts people have within themselves.
“Some of these are more serious than others,” Barksdale says. “I wanted to record this song and film the music video because internal struggle is something we all deal with — our own version of a ‘Man in the Shadows.’ If you’re going through something, no matter how big or small, you should never be ashamed to talk to someone.”
Talking to a fellow musician, Barksdale was challenged to write a song in two weeks and perform it at his next show. And the young musician is not one to turn down a challenge. He went home that day and came up with the line ‘man in the shadows.’
“Originally, it wasn’t really about anything,” Barksdale says of the song. “I was just kind of writing it as part of that challenge, but as I kept writing it, it kind of became a song about that little person inside your head — that little part of you that you keep quiet from everybody."
Two weeks later, Barksdale was onstage at the Bugle Boy in La Grange, Texas, debuting his new tune. Not long after that, he had a show at a studio in Opelika, Alabama.
“While we were staying there, Jack’s like ‘Well, I’ve got this song, so I’ll just record it,’” Brent, Jack’s dad, says.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Jack recorded the guitar, vocals and piano and had his sister Gracie hop in the vocal booth to lay down some harmonies. He sent the tracks to producer Taylor Tatsch to add the drum tracks and produce the final version of the song. “Man in the Shadows” was then mastered by Todd Pipes.
The Barksdales then spent half a day at Haltom Theater in Haltom City to record the music video for “Man in the Shadows.” The video features footage of Jack performing the song on guitar and piano on top of eerie shots of the man in the shadows running around a dimly lit Haltom Theater.
The track and music video follow the release of Jack’s first album Jack Barksdale – Live From Niles City released in June.
Watch "Man in the Shadows" below: