Jim White – Southern singer, songwriter, philosopher, storyteller, poet

Jim White is a hard man to pin down. He’s a self-taught guitarist and singer who has seen a lot of life. He grew up in Pensacola, Florida and has been a fashion model, professional surfer, boxer, preacher, a comedian and more.

His music runs the gamut – alt-country, indie pop, experimental music of various kinds. His music is by turns deep, catchy, dark, beautiful, sad, and funny. Above all, he’s a brilliant lyricist and storyteller. It might be that wide range of styles that keeps him from mass market success (or even, apparently “mass indie” success). He’s too quirky and experimental for the country crowd, and has too much twang in his voice for the indie crowd. It could also be the fact that he’s not extremely prolific and doesn’t tour heavily. I have read that he is considering a career as a writer – not surprising given the brilliant short story he wrote for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus booklet. I would certainly love to see what kind of books he might write.

I almost get the feeling he doesn’t care about being a huge success. His observations about the South, and about human nature in general are so perceptive, he’s almost more of a philosopher than a musician.

He was a bit of a slow-grower for me, a common hallmark of the artists I love most deeply. I first discovered him through a used comp CD with “10 Miles to Go on a 9 Mile Road” on it. I liked it well enough to buy the album, No Such Place. I played it a few times and liked it OK, but nothing really jumped out at me. It didn’t really go into heavy rotation.

Then one day I put the CD on, just on a whim, and realized the songs were brilliant. Why didn’t I notice before? Then I bought his debut album, The Mysterious Tale of How I Shouted Wrong-Eyed Jesus! and put that on and the music hit me like a bolt of lightning. This was something unusual and very special. I have since bought every album and eagerly await anything else he might put out. I wish there were more!

Favorite songs come from all his albums (not necessarily in order except for the top 2):

1. “A Perfect Day to Chase Tornados” The Mysterious Tale of How I Shouted Wrong-Eyed Jesus!
2. “Still Waters” The Mysterious Tale of How I Shouted Wrong-Eyed Jesus!
3. “Borrowed Wings” Drill a Hole in That Substrate and Tell Me What You See
4. “Bluebird” Drill a Hole in That Substrate and Tell Me What You See
5. “Diamonds to Coal” Transnormal Skiperoo
6. “Pieces of Heaven” Transnormal Skiperoo
7. “Crash Into the Sun” Transnormal Skiperoo
8. “Plywood Superman” Transnormal Skiperoo
9. “Christmas Day” No Such Place
10. “Handcuffed to a Fence in Mississippi” No Such Place

By the way, there’s another indie musician out there by the name of Jim White, drummer for an ensemble called The Dirty Three. Don’t get them confused.

Visit his website, which contains links to his merchandise, a forum for fans, lists of his favorite artists, movie directors and authors, some of his thoughts on life and more. The man is a really deep thinker.

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13 Comments

Filed under alt-country, blues, experimental, folk, indie, indie pop, indie rock, music, one you might've missed, Uncategorized, video

13 responses to “Jim White – Southern singer, songwriter, philosopher, storyteller, poet

  1. woodjean

    I love Jim White’s music. What twang?

  2. That was for the Yankees. Folks like us with accents like ours might have a harder time hearin’ that there twang.

  3. Dikobraz

    Thanks for the write up. I also love Jim White and wish more people knew about him. I read a book called “Amplified” that had a story by him in it. Worth checking out.

  4. Glad you liked it. I will definitely look that up. According to Jim, who sent me an e-mail yesterday (how cool is that?), he has a book of short stories and three albums on the way.

  5. I love Jim White!! And one of my favorite documentaries is “Wrong Eyed Jesus”… it’s so haunting…. Great post!!

  6. The Jim White documentary ‘Searching for the wrong eyed Jesus’ (at least thats what its called in the UK) is a fantastic piece of TV. Its use of music and the way they are shot is fantastic. I bought ‘Transnormal Skipperoo’ off the back of this.

  7. Pingback: The Wrong Eyed Rooster « Secondhand Surfer Blog

  8. Ah Ha-I see what’s going on. Yes I am a fan. Great blog!

  9. Ian

    i was fortunate enough to speak with Jim following his concert at the Lowry Manchester England earlier this year ( which was brilliant) and felt exhilarated in his company. I messed up taking a photo on my phone and had to wait until he had finished his “fan meet” and ask him for another. He was so kind and interested and stood and talked to my daughter and i for quite a while. He even took the phone off me and took a photo of all of us himself. He is so polite and gentlemanly and was a joy to be with. His music has never failed to amaze me due to sharing his insights of human nature and i regularly watch the “Searching for the wrong eyed Jesus” We as a family (Wife Daughter and I) are all great fans. Here’s hoping he tours the UK again next year. Thank you Jim for your art

    • Thanks for commenting. I have yet to meet Jim or hear him play in person (he came to SXSW in Austin and I found out late and missed it). I can’t wait to do so. He’s one of my musical heroes. Friend him on Facebook. He’s very friendly, as you’ve noted.

  10. Pingback: Guest Blogger William Benton on playing SXSW: Not confusing 'the industry' with the art - Insider Louisville

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