Jim White plays for the adventurous
Los Angeles, Cal.
By Dan MacIntosh
LOS ANGELES, CA - At one point, Jim White sang a song called "Ghost-Town Of My Brain" from his new "No Such Place" album, and there's no denying that White's quirky gray matter is a haven for ghosts of many different varieties. During his hour set in front of a packed club, White conjured up ghosts ranging from scorned lovers to religious nut cases, yet he was somehow still a delightfully entertaining host.
White hit the stage with his four-piece band sans the cowboy hat he's most often pictured wearing in publicity photos. With his stringy brown hair, he didn't look too much unlike many of the beach bums that populate Southern California's coastline.
But when he sang his moody and literate story-songs, he sounded much closer to Flannary O'Conner with a guitar, than anything out of Brian Wilson's suntanned imagination.
Some of these songs were downright silly, such as the semi-sacrilegious "God Was Drunk When He Made Me," also from the new album. But more often than not, White was dead serious.
The best example of White's somber side is "The Wound That Never Heals," which chronicles one woman's life of crime where she feels compelled to kill the men in her life. She's described as a cold-blooded and numb killer, made that way - presumably - by the mistreatment she'd received from men throughout her whole life.
In presenting these character studies, White rarely takes sides. Instead, like any good novelist, he's just trying to shed a little light upon the human condition.
To support these off-center stories, White's band included plenty of pedal steel guitar, acoustic bass, electric guitar and drums. White even picked up an instrument that looked just like an electric guitar, but sounded exactly like a banjo.
White is probably too weird to ever make it in mainstream country, yet he's too Southern to expect to rule alternative rock. But for the adventurous minded, this man is one hell of a twisted museum piece.