Promoting quality music in Knoxville … by any means necessary.
Fans of Knoxville music, as you know, we are fans of Mr. Jack White. Big fans. Ever since we saw him live at Bonnaroo, we have been convinced that he may be the most talented innovator in music today. He’s big-time, and everywhere. We even dedicated an entire Free Music Friday to him last April. So it should come as no surprise that we should highlight his brand new album, Blunderbuss, here at your favorite little music blog on steroids – knoxmusictoday.com. Here are a few songs and a few notes about the new album:
On “Blunderbuss,” the Detroit-born, Nashville-based White focuses on the pre-computer, post-hippie era of music, circa 1970-75, a style mastered by the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Mott the Hoople, the Who and, most obviously, the Faces, all of whom started off in the world of aggressive British Invasion rock but stretched out with bigger, heavier sounds as they matured.
Just as in the late 1960s when a new generation of axmen stepped in to carry the mantle of early blues guitarists Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson, White’s obsession with the music and its history is in service of this tradition.
White, along with the Black Keys, has filled a power vacuum that was created when baby boomer blues rockers retired (Jimmy Page), went soft (Rod Stewart), took to the state fair circuit (ZZ Top) or became parodies of themselves (Eric Clapton).
Having recently divorced his wife of six years, it’s tempting to interpret Jack White’s debut solo album as his very own version of Dylan’s breakup classic, Blood on the Tracks. After all, with its bruised, scabrous lyrics – full of nosebleeds, burst lips, missing limbs and pummelled digits – and preoccupation with love gone not so much bad as cataclysmic, it sounds as though the erstwhile White Stripe has been eviscerated by his loss.
But it’s important to remember that, not only was the split apparently amicable (his ex sings back-up on three songs here), but that White has never been a confessional songwriter in the conventional sense. Despite his deep devotion to the blues – that most ‘authentic’ of musical genres – he’s a conceptual art-rocker at heart, inhabiting his own unique crossroads between theatrical artifice and bloody-minded sincerity.
There’s a sense throughout Blunderbuss – trust him to choose such an archaic weapon – that White is positively revelling in the role of the wronged lover. So you never get the sense that he’s being entirely serious; he’s too eccentric and machismo-camp to suggest otherwise. It’s what defines him as an artist and it’s why he may be the only great rock superstar of recent years.
And you know we like videos with fights, car chases and explosions –