Pale skin, raccoon eyes – does Jack White ever sleep? One of rock’s hardest working musicians and most fascinating personalities (among other things, John Gillis did take Meg White’s – his ex-wife and the other half of the White Stripes – surname), the seemingly insatiable Jack White creates multiple projects as vehicles for his prodigious musical output.
His most famous and longest-lasting effort thus far has been with the now disbanded White Stripes, the duo that he formed with his drummer (now ex-) wife Meg White. His easily identifiable vocals (however Meg White did vocal duty on the superb ‘In The Cold, Cold Night’ on Elephant) and distinct guitaring style combined with Meg’s no-fuss, straight yet often explosive drumming took the band’s blend of blues, garage rock, punk and American folk to critical and commercial success. Even while he was busy with the White Stripes, The Raconteurs was formed with his friends Brendan Benson on vocals, guitar and keyboards, Jack Lawrence on bass and drummer Patrick Keeler resulting in 2 albums as of this writing. I find The Raconteurs musically more, ummm, fun than the darker sounds of the Stripes and of his third major band, the Dead Weather. White teamed up with Alison Mosshart, vocalist of The Kills which toured with The Raconteurs, guitarist Dean Fertita of the Queens of the Stone Age and bassist Jack Lawrence while he himself took to the drums – with which he had started his musical trip as a child – to form the Dead Weather. A dense, much harder sound marks the music of the Dead Weather on their 2 excellent albums. Interspersed with these efforts were movie appearances, production of country legend Loretta Lynn’s much acclaimed comeback, Van Lear Rose, a highlight on a cover tribute to U2 (Ahk-toong Bay-bi, a cover of 12 songs from U2’s album, Achtung Baby by artists as diverse as Damian Rice, Patti Smith, Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails and White himself, among others), a Bond movie theme song with Alicia Keys.
And now finally, he will debut a solo album ‘Blunderbuss’ on April 24. A solo effort seems a little strange from White given how he’s always collaborated with other musicians and yet, it’s in keeping with his constant search for ways of expressing his music.
The accompanying audio file contains samples from ‘Seven Nation Army’ by the White Stripes, ‘These Stones Will Shout’ by The Raconteurs and the Dead Weather’s ‘Blue Blood Blues’.