More Than A Muzzle And A Gun… Jack White’s Blunderbuss Fires And Hits Me

Safari has been acting up on me for the last few days… Just really slow to load pages and when I switch to Firefox there is nary a problem… Just sayin’.

What does that have to do with the price of rice?  I don’t think it has anything to do with that.  I think that is all about weather and workers and a particular harvest… and… what?  Wow, sometimes the brain just goes off into weird places… Allow me to reign it back in…

I am playing a little catch up and still exploring the new Norah Jones, Fiona Apple and Dr. John, so that may give you an idea of what is coming.  Gear up!

I am a little behind on this one, too… but I think things and albums took a back seat for a while to the “For The Sake Of The Song” inspiration.  It’s all good.

So Wikipedia gives us this:  “Jack White (né Gillis), often credited as Jack White III, is an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, multi-instrumentalist and occasional actor. He was best known as the guitarist, pianist and lead vocalist of The White Stripes until they split in February 2011, as well as a member of The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather.”

There are certain musicians who create something… a sound, a feel, a whatever it is, that grabs hold and resonates, especially with other musicians… Jack White is one such artist.  Dan Auerbach from Black Keys also comes to mind.  They are all over the place, and this is evident in how many “other” projects they begin to work on, other than their own… though those projects become their own pretty quickly.

The new Dr. John record is amazing, but a lot of folks are criticizing it for being more of a Black Keys sound than Dr. John.  We’ll talk about that later this week… Today is about…

Jack White – Blunderbuss

I love this record, but what is odd to me is that my favorite songs are a bit deeper in… My real love starts with the fourth and fifth tracks, “Love Interruption” and the gorgeous “Blunderbuss” respectively.  The latter reminds me a lot of a country-tinged Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant sung ballad.

You might also want to check out this cool NPR Video on the making of the record.

The White Stripes thrust White into a crazy world of success and also put him on the level of some legendary artists.  For evidence simply look at the amazing documentary It Might Get Loud.  I am still up in the air on this rapid ascension… maybe I do not understand the intricacies of music.  I certainly need to learn more and it certainly seems the film is looking at things from a generational point of view… but I always get nervous when the crown and scepter are pulled out too quickly.  With that said, I am a fan of all of Jack’s incarnations… and this, his first solo project, is no exception.

AllMusic says this of the record:

“Jack White leaves such an indelible stamp on any project he touches that a solo album from him almost seems unnecessary: nobody has ever told him what to do. He’s a rock & roll auteur, bending other artists to fit his will, leading bands even when he’s purportedly no more than a drummer, always enjoying dictating the fashion by placing restrictions on himself. And so it is on Blunderbuss, his first official solo album, arriving five years after the White Stripes’ last but seeming much sooner given White’s constant flurry of activity with the Raconteurs, Dead Weather, Third Man Records, and countless productions. Here, he’s once again placed restrictions on himself but they’re not quite as clearly defined as they’ve been in the past, as when he’s gotten great dividends by working with a limited palette. All the restrictions are entirely of a comforting variety: he’s abandoned the primitivism of the White Stripes, something that came easily with Meg White bashing away on the drums, and has chosen a quieter, polished route, rotating in different musicians for different tracks. Jack still pulls out some standards from his bag of tricks — clenched blues explosions, squealing guitars, and a cool breeze of electric piano — but musicians matter and this bunch of pro players tightens and softens his attack (sometimes to its detriment, as on a clumsy cabaret version of Little Willie John’s “I’m Shakin'”). When Blunderbuss gets furious, it’s hard not to miss the chaos Meg brought to the Stripes — with her at the drums, “Sixteen Saltines” would fly off the rails — but it’s a mistake to think of this album as a professionally produced White Stripes record as it relies as heavily on ideas White explored on his handful of old-timey acoustic cuts and the ’70s guitar rock of the Raconteurs. If it resembles any Stripes album it’s Get Behind Me Satan, the dark, odd 2005 set written in the wake of a breakup and filled with songs of paranoia and recrimination. This too is a divorce album with every song concerning love gone wrong, yet it’s easy to ignore all the pain roiling underneath because Blunderbuss plays so sweetly, its melodies easing into memory and its surface warm and pleasant. Contradictions are nothing new for Jack White but he’s never been as emotionally direct as he is here, nor has he been as musically evasive, and that dichotomy makes Blunderbuss a record that only seems richer with increased exposure.”

For me his music requires multiple listens… I am still trying to grasp and understand a lot of it, going back to The White Stripes… Figure out what he is doing… what rules he is breaking or creating… and what other musicians are locking into… but that is also what makes it that much more interesting and sustaining.  It does not fit neatly into a shoebox or record rack.  It challenges… and while sometimes the brain does not want to be challenged, it is what will ultimately move us forward.


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Filed under Life... Plain and Not So Simple, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me

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