The name John Paul White always sounds familiar to me, but I have a hard time remembering just who he is. He was, among other things, one half of The Civil Wars, a great folk duo (who I didn’t realize had broken up, oops). He has also released a previous solo album and a new one last year.
He begins the set with “Black Leaf.” It’s just his acoustic guitar and voice. He plays some interesting chords and makes some great folk music. He hits some nice falsetto notes in the verses. And I love the way the song changes direction in the middle–a dark little turn but one that is musically great.
Joining him for the next two songs are Kelli Jones-Savoy on violin and harmony vocals and Adam Morrow second guitar. Before “Hate The Way You Love Me” he says I’m gonna switch guitars one every song so it makes me look like an accomplished guitarist. He switches to a hollow bodied electric while Adam plays acoustic.
This song sounds very different, especially when the backing vocals come in (Kelli adds a very country inflected voice..and that violin too). But the melody in the verse sounds so much like another song I just can’t figure out what. It’s a great song though and that chorus takes it in a very different direction.
Before “What’s So” he grabs another guitar and says “three songs, three guitars that’s not pretentious, is it?” Before beginning the song he thanks everyone in public radio.
[paraphrasing] I’ll do anything for Bob. He knows that. I hope he doesn’t exploit that. NPR is a big deal for a kid on the Alabama/ Tennessee line. You grow up around mainstream pop and country radio and you feel like a square peg. Thank god for public radio. Thank you for the work you do for people like me.
Now, I’ll leave you with one last one and then you have to go back to work.
For this song he grabs another acoustic guitar. This one has a pretty raw sound, and he plays a great bluesy riff. It sounds quite different from the other two and when they sing the chorus together, it’s got a great yearning quality.
When he finished, Bob walks up and thanks him and then says, “Did you say you were going to stay here and serenade us all day?”
[READ: March 1, 2017] “Thin Crust”
I enjoyed this story so much. It is my favorite story in The Walrus in a long time.
And I also loved the play in the title. When I think of thin crust I go to pizza. But there’s also the crust of the earth. And that’s what this story is about–that the crust is thinning. Maybe?
And it starts out so strangely, I honestly didn’t think I knew what was happening. A fisherman off of Los Cabos watches the horizon line as it wavers. And then forms a “frozen indigo wall stretching the length of his vision.” A cormorant dives into the water, misses its catch and the flies towards the void where “it slipped silently into nothing.”
What the hell is going on? (more…)