Drill A Hole In That Substrate And Tell Me What You See
Call it folk music from another planet, or perhaps redneck noir, but as inexact as those phrases are, they are as good as any for describing the music of Jim White. Eerie, fog-drenched and low-key, chock full of religious questioning and secular madness, White’s third album continues his odyssey into the underside of America. This time he’s assisted by a cast that includes Aimee Mann, Bill Frisell and Barenaked Ladies (on the energetic — well, for White, anyway — “Alabama Chrome”). The nearest musical comparison would be a southern Willard Grant Conspiracy, but White wraps his music in even more layers than do WGC. Layers that fall away on repeated listening, only to expose mysteries anew. Bizarre wordplay is the norm — take “If Jesus Drove a Motor Home”, for example — but he’s never odd just for the sake of being different. He strikes you as different because he simply looks at, and reacts to, the world in a unique and engaging manner, unlike any other performer today. Jim White will never embrace the mainstream, nor will it embrace him. Which all in all, is a good thing. He is rock and roll’s Hazel Motes, and Drill a Hole his street corner. Testify.
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