Jim White: Existentialist Anti-Folk

Mar 20, 2012
Originally published on March 20, 2012 5:03 am

Gonzo folk troubadour Jim White isn't all sweetness and light on Where It Hits You. Known for his playful experimentation, White showcases his darker roots on the new album, and with good reason: The 54-year-old recently cut ties with David Byrne's Luaka Bop label, while his own marriage fell apart during the recording sessions.

White's dual natures blend seamlessly by the album's midpoint, "What Rocks Will Never Know," in which White drolly muses that "rocks will never know the joy of being consumed." As with earlier songs in White's catalog, the track blurs genre distinctions with admirable ease. The words capture the intricacies of the human condition, as filtered through White's dry sense of humor and impeccably crafted language.

This is unabashed existentialist anti-folk, full of stop-and-start melodies, hayseed whistles and woozy pedal-steel interludes. White teeters as a man on the brink throughout the five-minute track, but his wide-eyed optimism proves difficult to shake.

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