Jim White: Waffles, Triangles and Jesus

review jim white x1 cong

White’s story is an interesting one (not that he might agree): influenced in his childhood by gospel music, he has reportedly been a comedian, a fashion model, a boxer, a preacher, a professional surfer and a New York cab driver. He attended film school at New York University but then entered a “deep hole of sickness and depression and poverty.” His live shows include open discussions with the audience, storytelling from his own experiences. When he’s done touring he wants to return to academic life as a professor.

The sleeve is a poor indicator of what’s on the CD, which is well-written Americana that takes in gospel, folk and soul; Long Long Day (which we think includes a jaw harp) has a chorus that suggests white-shirted Amish singing after putting up a new house, Witness style.

Opener Drift Away starts off slowly with drone and banjo and sounds portentous, as if storms are ahead, with the banjo noodling and a militaristic snare drum. Long Long Day follows (with a riff borrowed from The Cutter), American folk/musical verses and that sing-along chorus.

Playing Guitars is a dumb but clever song: “Playing guitars, playing guitars, everyone is playing guitars,” he sings over a clip-clop country beat, adding: “and the guitars go…” to introduce each lick. It’s got the same appeal as Michelle Shocked’s Arkansas Traveller.

Elsewhere (Silver Threads) he goes more pop country.

Lyrically, apart from walking further than a country mile and having a sing-song, he seems to address life, love, missed opportunity and growing old.

Best song title: Earnest T Bass At Last Finds The Woman Of His Dreams, an upbeat pop/country duet.

There are a number of pop folk/country albums we’ve reviewed over the years that turn out to be long-lasting favourites because of the quality of the songs, and we suspect this is going to be another.

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