Gardner goes by “Common Jack” as folk artist


Photo courtesy of Anthony Mulcahy.

John Gardner, better known under his stage name “Common Jack”, holds a folk concert for a crowd.

John Gardner is a folksy song artist who lives in Queens, New York City. Gardner graduated from HHS in 2008, then proceeded to Ithaca’s College of Theatre Arts in upstate New York. Presently, Gardner works for a songwriting company that writes custom songs. Gardner has one main goal in his music career in order for him to achieve personal success.

“Before I am unable to continue with my music career, I would like to have my music and the band able to support me financially,” Gardner said.

Gardner is more formally known by his stage name ‘Common Jack.’

“My parents almost named me Jack, and ever since the day my parents told me this, the name Jack always stood out to me… I also am not the biggest fan of the name John, so being called Common Jack has been more of a frequent name,” Gardner said.

Gardner has faced many high notes and dry spells throughout his career.

“Most people think that being a musician is easy and you can just make whatever music you want to whenever you want, but coming up with creative songs is one of the hardest things to do… [Additionally], doing what I do is a day to day job, so when work dries up there’s not much I can do,” Gardner said.

Gardner’s favorite memory at his job was a National Broadway tour of the “Once” show.

“This show in particular was special to me because I love playing the guitar, and while offstage not performing directly for the audience, you would sit backstage and play the background music that took place during the show… The experience of being with strangers and becoming close with them and putting on a show for other strangers is a feeling like no other,” Gardner said.

Musical talent runs in the family for Gardner whose mother was an opera singer.

“Listening to my mom sing as a child was one of the main things that inspired me to become a musician,” Gardner said.

After much experience in the music industry Gardner has one thing to say to the students of Harrisonburg High School who wish to become song artists.

“Work as hard as you can, then when you think you’ve reached your limit and you can’t work any harder, find a way to work harder,” Gardner said. “[In music], you will at some point in your career have to realize that you will never be the most talented, but you can be the hardest worker.”