Tony Joe White
Munich Records MRCD323
The legendary Louisiana ’Swamp Fox’ releases an intimate laid back collection of original songs in his unmistakable style
Tony Joe White will need little introduction to any followers of country music, whatever the style, or to music lovers generally. A writer who penned the classics Polk Salad Annie for Elvis Presley and Rainy Night In Georgia for just about any singer of note in the 1970’s is rightfully respected throughout the music business. This was demonstrated by the high profile contributors to his acclaimed 2009 release UNCOVERED which included such luminaries as Eric Clapton, JJ Cale and Waylon Jennings in attendance.
THE SHINE is a much more relaxed and personal affair. Featuring mainly Tony Joe’s own excellent guitar picking and tasteful harmonica throughout, backed by some restrained playing from George Hawkins on bass, Jack Bruno with a simple but effective backbeat on drums and understated keyboards from Tyson Rogers and Cello by John Catchings. Above all it is that hypnotic voice that draws you into this collection. White has that world weary ache in his vocals reminiscent of JJ Cale, John Prine and Joe Ely. He has been there, done that, seen and heard it all, now it is his job to tell you about it.
As always the strength of a storyteller is the quality of the stories he has to tell. THE SHINE has stories in spades. ‘it’s all about the song, keeping it simple. Got to have passion. Got to have soul.’ is the stand out line in Tell Me Why and that sentiment runs through every song on the album. White composed the tracks over the last few months, some with his wife Leann. While each song tells its own story the album as a whole combines to put the listener in a place and time back when everything was simple. Standing out is the atmospheric Painting On The Mountain, with some superb acoustic guitar picking, about a newly bought guitar and how he wondered if there ‘was a song in it..’ as he watched the sun draw pictures on the mountain. Roll Train Roll is played solo by White and a better laid back country blues would be hard to find as Tony Joe ‘parties down on Beale Street, to The Memphis Blues’ a place he has been all his life!
released Sept 2010
originally posted in Maverick Magazine