Waffles, Triangles & Jesus
I first encountered the offbeat southern folk artist Jim White at an in-store performance in the late ’90s. It was just him and a guitar, and he was playing selections from his soon to be released debut album, The Mysterious Tale of How I Shouted “Wrong-Eyed Jesus!”. As he ran thru songs such as “Still Waters” and the sublime and artfully lonely “A Perfect Day to Chase Tornados”, I was hooked. Over the years I’ve kept up with him on the funk-infused Drill A Hole in That Substrate and Tell Me What You See from 2004 or his swing thru bluegrass on 2015’s Take It Like a Man, and everyone has had those uniquely “Jim White” moments to cherish.
His latest, Waffles, Triangles & Jesus is more of the same, to some extent. Starting with the somber, banjo-driven “Drift Away”, White’s deadpan vocals invite you in, starting a journey. “Long Long Day” follows, with an angelic choir assisting in the tale of an odd family. “Playing Guitars”, which sounds as if White joined Southern Culture on the Skids, features Cicada Rhythm in a cute ode to, well, playing guitars.
I don’t know if it’s that I’ve gotten more adventurous in my listening over the years, or if Jim White might have dialed back the weird a bit since the ’90s, but Waffles, Triangles & Jesus doesn’t exactly hit you as that much out of the mainstream. White was “freak folk”, if ever the phrase fit early on. Not to say his latest doesn’t contain moments of “huh?”, such as “E.T. Bass At Last Finds The Woman of His Dreams”, but all in all, this is a pretty sedate offering from Jim White. It still is more intriguing than 99% of the hackneyed, corporate spew around, indeed. But this long-time listener hopes that Jim White gets weird, the next time out.