It seems like relocating Third Man records from Detroit to Nashville has done something to Jack White. The grittiness of Detroit informed every part of the White Stripes sound. This one, on the other hand, from his debut solo record Blunderbuss coming out in April (amazing that such a prolific artist doesn’t yet have a proper solo record), is all Nashville cool. In “Nashville Cats” The Lovin’ Spoonful they sum up the sound pretty well. “Nashville cats play clean as country water…play wild as mountain dew”. Gone are the buzzsaw solos and vocal-chord-shredding howls. Instead, Jack strums an acoustic guitar, accompanied only by a backup vocalist, a wurlitzer organ, and a bass clarinet (!). noticeably absent is a drummer – possibly done on purpose to separate the sound on the new record from his most famous band. The song is a slow burn soul number built around a tongue-twister chorus. It just simmers, never boiling over into one of Jack’s signature freak-outs. The threat of something wild happening never dissipates though, the tension built from being right on the edge keeps this song exciting throughout its short run time. The lyrics are great, each new line in the verse a dark murder-ballad or blues inspired gem, darkly comic and visceral.
Unfortunately, there are no Canadian dates yet, but I’m excited to see what sort of band Jack puts together to tour this and the rest of the record.