Posts Tagged ‘Jack White’

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On June 15th, 2000, The White Stripes performed at Jay’s Upstairs in Missoula, MT, just five days before the release of De Stijl, the band’s second album. Today, June 20th, 2020, “De Stijl” celebrates its 20th birthday, and though The White Stripes are no longer together, the band has released footage of “Death Letter” from that Jay’s Upstairs concert, which will also appear in the Third Man Records Vault Package #44.

The 2000 Son House cover came before frontman Jack White would add a Big Muff to his pedalboard, and well ahead of its emergence as a fan-favorite live track, way back in the days of $1.25 pints of Pabst and Hi8 camcorders. This rendition of “Death Letter” featured Jack’s high-pitched vocals, percussive guitar picking, and Meg White‘s steady drumming, typical of the band’s minimalist garage rock and blues sound at the time. While not as extensive as later versions, which usually include an improvised intro and some segues, Jack took the solo to familiar places thanks to his trusty DigiTech Whammy pedal and high-gain tone.

Though the band had only been together for a couple of years at this point, Jack and Meg’s chemistry is palpable. A simple glance or an audible “Hey!” from Jack signals the changes, which sees Meg follow in lockstep. The crowd seems entranced throughout the grainy video too, and while there are not many people at the tiny venue, it certainly foreshadows the arenas that followed in later years.

In celebration of the 20th Anniversary of De Stijl, watch The White Stripes (Jack White & Meg White) perform “Death Letter” live at Jay’s Upstairs in Missoula, MT from June 15th, 2000! This performance took place during the peak of De Stijl touring, and was taken directly from the original tapes deep within the Third Man Records archives for the 20th anniversary of De Stijl Third Man Vault Package.

De Stijl, dutch for “the style”, is the second album released by The White Stripes on June 20th, 2000. Head to the Third Man Records website for more information on future vault releases.

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The Raconteurs have announced a forthcoming documentary and live album to both titled, “Live At Electric Lady”, with both projects scheduled to arrive this Friday, May 29th.

Live At Electric Lady will document The Raconteurs’ clandestine performance at the iconic New York recording studio in support of the band’s most recent album, 2019’s Help Us Stranger. The EP will be released exclusively to Spotify, and will feature like takes on a catalogue-spanning selection of songs, including a cover of Richard Hell & The Voidoids“Blank Generation”. The documentary, directed by filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, will include video of the live performance, along with interviews with the band and behind-the-scenes footage.

A Facebook post announcing Live At Electric Lady arrived with a one-minute video trailer and a pre-save link for the “special enhanced album.” The trailer offered snippets of artist interviews and the live performance as well as a cameo from Jarmusch, who noted that the Electric Lady is “Kind of a magical, mythical place.”

“Everyone who’s a musician on stage is doing something that they love and they’re trying to share it with someone else,” added frontman Jack White in the trailer. “Some people fall in the trap of it being about authenticity, but I don’t think it’s about that. I think it’s about the attitude of what you did was the best part. Not whether you got all the notes right, but your point of what you were trying to accomplish was evidence to us in the crowd.”

In September 2019, The Raconteurs visited legendary New York City recording studio Electric Lady Studios to record a live EP and interview with Jim Jarmusch in honor of the studios’ 50th Anniversary – exclusively for Spotify. ‘The Raconteurs: Live at Electric Lady’ is a documentary and concert film showcasing the day, including their explosive 7-song live performance

Watch the Live at Electric Lady trailer.

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Margo Price has released a new live album, “Perfectly Imperfect at The Ryman”, which documents her sold-out three-night run at the iconic Nashville, TN venue in 2018. The album comes after Price announced back in March she would delay the May 8th release of her new Sturgill Simpson produced studio album, “That’s How Rumors Get Started”, due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

“I am so excited that we are releasing it today,” said Price in a press release. “The recordings are rough and the performances are raw, but there was a magic there and the band was on fire. We played unreleased songs, alternative album versions and had lots of special guests. I hope it moves you.”

The 11-track album features collaborations with Emmylou Harris on Margo’s original, “Wild Women”, Sturgill Simpson on a rendition of Rodney Crowell‘s “Ain’t Livin Long Like This”, and Jack White on a duet of the rare White Stripes track, “Honey We Can’t Afford to Look This Cheap”. Additionally, Perfectly Imperfect at The Ryman also features a “funk version” of Price’s Midwest Farmer’s Daughter track, “Weekender”, and a take on the title track of her 2017 LP, All American Made.

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“Perfectly Imperfect at The Ryman” is available now via Bandcamp. Preview the album below, scroll down for the full tracklist and credits, and purchase it for $10, All proceeds will benefit the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.

Raconteurs FAME

The Raconteurs perform “Now That You’re Gone” from their latest album “Help Us Stranger” and a cover of “I’m Your Puppet” at the historic FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL.

“I’m Your Puppet” was written by Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, both members of the acclaimed Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section group of session players — also called The Swampers — that originated at FAME. The song was a hit in 1966 for James & Bobby Purify. The Raconteurs – Jack White, Brendan Benson, Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler – included “Now That You’re Gone” on their recently released studio album.

The White Stripes' 1999 debut

Jack White will mark the 20th anniversary of The White Stripes’ self-titled debut with a new companion vinyl release.

The White Stripes XX (as its called) contains previously-unheard outtakes from the album’s recording sessions, a live recording of a September 1999 performance in Raleigh, NC, a DVD containing performance footage of two Michigan shows that year, a 24-page archival booklet featuring never-before-seen photos, lyrics, flyers, and other insights, all housed in a hard-cover hinged case.

The cache of unreleased material includes an acoustic demo of “Dead Leaves”, alternate takes of “Jimmy the Exploder”, “I Fought Piranhas”, and “Wasting My Time”, and cover of Burt Bacharach’s “Little Red Book” (listen to a sample here). Burt Bacharach and Hal David may have written “Little Red Book” for the film What’s New Pussycat?, but Love’s version (their 1965 debut single) was clearly the inspiration for The White Stripes’ cover, which will be on the 20th Anniversary Box set for their debut album. Jack and Meg play this like they wrote it.

Other rarities include versions of “Screwdriver”, “Sugar Never Tasted So Good”, and “”Why Can’t You Be Nicer to Me?”. All of these tracks were newly mixed by White in celebration of the album’s 20th anniversary.

The White Stripes XX is available through Third Man Records’ Vault subscription program. You can get more info and sign up here.

In related news, Jack White is presently touring the country with his other acclaimed rock band, The Raconteurs.

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The White Stripes played their final concert at the Snowden Grove Amphitheater in Southaven, Mississippi 12 years ago. Now, their full recorded performance is accessible for the first time ever, The White Stripes: Live in Mississippi is available to stream and download via Nugs.net, and it features the band’s 20-song set from July 31st, 2007, along with a four-song encore. Tracks include “Icky Thump,” “In the Cold, Cold Night,” “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground,” and more.

The White Stripes’ archivist and Third Man Records co-founder Ben Blackwell posted a statement on Nugs.net recalling the group’s final performance, and the moment he realized it would be their last. Find Blackwell’s full post along with the White Stripes’ hand-written setlist from the show here.

“I can’t even tell you how much it means for me to be here tonight…so I’m not even gonna bother”

Jack White, July 31st, 2007

Not long after I walked offstage as the hired-gun drummer for opening act Dan Sartain, an assortment of crew and musicians and friends gathered together and took part in a celebratory, raise-the-glass toast, all led by Jack White to mark the end of the run of nine shows in the previous ten days.

As the crowd thinned, Meg White and I were the last ones left standing there. Apropos of nothing, cups in hand, not even in a conversation at that point, Meg said to me, “I think this is the last White Stripes show.” Confused, I responded “Well, yeah, last show of this leg of the tour.” She replied “No…I think this is the last White Stripes show ever” and slowly walked away. I was dumbfounded. I had no idea what she was talking about. I had no idea what she meant.  I had no idea what to do. I looked around to see if anyone else heard what Meg had said, but I was all alone.

Within minutes, the band was onstage. The White Stripes had never played Mississippi prior to this performance and it’s clear the deep musical heritage of the state loomed large in Jack’s mind as he attacked the performance setlist-free.

“Stop Breaking Down” was an unexpected opening song. Despite being released in 1999, it had only opened a set once before, just three weeks earlier. The inspiration behind that first opening performance was the band headlining the Ottawa Bluesfest, being met with newspaper headlines that asked “Are the White Stripes bluesy enough to headline Bluesfest?” Seems as Jack’s intention of starting both these shows with the Robert Johnson classic was to leave no doubt to a skeptical homegrown audience of armchair connoisseurs or a lazy Canadian newspaper editor that the band was well-within their powers conveying the blues to the masses.  All that was only further buoyed by Jack later throwing in an unexpected tease of another Robert Johnson song “Phonograph Blues” to assuredly placate the ghosts of the Mississippi Delta.

Inspired, one-of-a-kind takes on both “As Ugly As I Seem” and “Astro” now jump out to me as beautifuleach song’s last hurrah from the band that birthed them. Exploratory adventures the both of them, proving that no piece was ever finished or finalized or etched into stone. Rather, they were all living, creative works, changing and adapting over the years and begging to be recorded and shared and analyzed by all of you reading this right now.

Jack began the encore by himself, pouring every last drop of feeling and emotive vocal quiver into a solo offering of “300 MPH Torrential Outpour Blues” that was achingly bare. The raw force behind it feels beyond naked…as if Jack had pulled back his own skin to reveal his truest, innermost thoughts, particularly when he changed the lyrics on the fly and sang…

“See there’s three women in my mind that know they have the answer, but they’re not letting go…

What else is new? I’m the only one that seems to care where I should go”

After re-listening to this show for the first time in ages, I feel like only now have I fully absorbed the enormity of that line. Frankly, it just hit me like a freight train to the chest. I was caught entirely off-guard. I couldn’t help but be moved to tears.

Moments like that make me feel this show is the audio manifestation of opposing, equally-powered forces clawing for control of my brain in an id-versus-ego battle of monumental proportions. On one end I’m mourning, absolutely fucking hurt that this huge presence in my life, my occasional reason for being, my family both by blood and by choice…just ceased to be. And yet at the other end, I am so goddamned lucky that the White Stripes ever existed at all…that people even paid attention, that the band was able to make a lucrative career out of their passion, out of art and that I had a side-stage seat to the entirety of their existence.

After the completion of a bombastic, career-defining version of “Death Letter”, Jack poignantly says “Son House, thank you for finally letting me come home.” House was a passive participant in this matter, having died in the band’s hometown of Detroit in 1988. But Jack’s comment has seemingly little to do with any physical structure…what he is saying is that Son House (and to a larger extent, blues music in general) provided both he and Meg with an avenue to pursue their artistic vision. In this sense, home is not spoken in the predominant, noun usage of the word to describe where one lives, but rather in a more colloquial, adverbial sense meaning ‘deep, to the heart.’

In short, the blues is home. The blues provides comfort, the blues provides center, the blues provides foundation.  It provides a manner to express one’s feelings, both a connection to the past and a path through the future.

Ending the set with Leadbelly’s “Boll Weevil” and the singalong chorus repeating “he’s looking for a home” only further drives this point, well…home. The White Stripes were only able to become THE WHITE STRIPES because of the blues. Able to find their voices, to spread the word in a way that was seeming antithetical to two white kids born in Detroit in the 1970’s.  Blues was the language, not chosen, but seemingly divined, to best communicate themselves, to express, to converse, to paint this masterpiece. Upon the completion of the set, with a backdrop of Who-like synth arpeggiations singing out into the night, Jack sincerely says the following…

“I can’t believe how long it has taken us to get here. Thanks for waiting. Thanks for coming. Thanks for buying our records. Thanks for buying a ticket. We love you very much. Thank you. God bless you Son House. God bless you Robert Johnson. Thank you so much.”

I can think of no better epilogue for Jack to punctuate the White Stripes last-ever live performance. Each thought a simple sentence that, upon closer inspection, opens up to a wider meaning…not just spoken to these folks in suburban Memphis on a Tuesday night. Rather, they speak to all their fans across the world. About the journey. About patience. About action. About appreciation. About presence. About gratitude. And ultimately, about the blues. Which is, arguably, all it was ever about.

In the intervening twelve years I’ve had countless conversations with Meg White. And I have never once, not for a moment, even considered asking her what was going through her head that night in Mississippi. To me, she has found her home and that is all that matters.

What would YOU do if half of your favorite band told you (and ONLY you) it would be their last show immediately prior to taking the stage?

The White Stripes recently also announced a 20th anniversary box set reissue of their self-titled debut.

Jack White’s been so commonly associated with rock ‘n’ roll over the years that it’s been easy to overlook the fact that he often works similar to how dance producers do. For starters, there’s nothing more explicitly tied to how dance music operates than running your own label to put out releases from yourself and others — and more broadly, since emerging at the turn of the century with his and Meg White’s beloved, now defunct White Stripes, White’s dipped in and out of various projects that more or less function as monikers under which he explores certain sounds.

White unearths or returns to these projects when the mood suits him, and they often bear their own distinct sonic identity. Besides the White Stripes’ arty blues-punk, he’s unleashed jet-black scuzziness with the Kills’ Alison Mosshart as the Dead Weather, embraced an anything-goes mentality with the music released under his own name, and tilted towards country-rock windmills with power-pop whiz Brendan Benson and members of defunct Detroit garage-rock act the Greenhornes as the Raconteurs.

White’s choosing to unearth this month a new Raconteurs’ album the bands third, “Help Us Stranger”. It’s the first album from the group in 11 years and barring the fact that it’s been nigh impossible to predict the machinations behind White’s own creative internal clock, the timing for him to return to more straightforward rock territory is impeccable.

White has effectively split the difference between his last solo album Boarding House Reach’s adventurousness and the band’s past trad-classic rock trappings, the results coming across as appealingly low-stakes. After a series of solo albums that, even at their strongest moments, possessed a nervy atmosphere not unlike grinding one’s teeth, Help Us Stranger is comparatively loose and limber, making for the most collection of songs White’s released in years.

Credit is due to Benson, who  as with 2006’s Broken Boy Soldiers and the 2008 quick-turnaround Consolers of the Lonely shares writing credits with White on almost every Help Me Stranger track. Just like Consolers, the sole song he doesn’t is a cover; this time around it’s a rollicking take on psych-pop shaman Donovan’s “Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness).” But That’s pretty much the only element that Help Me Stranger shares with Consolers; while the latter sagged from an overlong run time, the Raconteurs’ latest is a comparatively lean and mean 41 minutes, with brisk arrangements and more than a few grin-inducing breakdowns such as the double-time frenzy that closes out the boys-in-the-band opener “Bored And Razed.”

There’s a distinctly stoned silliness to parts of Help Me Stranger, none more evident than on the “Misty Mountain Hop”-ping “Only Child,” in which White sings about a “prodigal son” who’s “come back home again to get his laundry done.” Otherwise, the playfulness streaked across this album is mostly of the musical variety, like the multi-tracked vocals dotting the verse structure on “Don’t Bother Me” or the Tell-tale Heart-esque pulse that courses through “Now That You’re Gone.” There are guitar solos packed into nearly every empty corner of this thing, and plenty of the aggressively hammered piano lines that were so prevalent on Boarding House Reach, the latter playing much more enjoyably to the ears than on that record.

Suffice to say, if none of these sonic elements or the idea of four guys bashing out melodic rock music that nonetheless treads familiar ground — sound appealing to you, then you’re probably better off listening to nearly anything else. But the lack of formal innovation on Help Me Stranger packs its own odd appeal, especially when the old tricks are so capably performed. “Live A Lie” is straight-ahead Motor City garage rock that, ironically, bears some resemblance to once-White nemesis the Von Bondies’ “C’mon C’mon”; the guitar riff that kicks open on “Somedays (I Don’t Feel Like Trying)” recalls Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Happy Gilmore-closing “Tuesday’s Gone,” its midsection breaking into a gooey Beatles-esque breakdown.

Such callbacks to classic rock’s, er, classics inevitably bring to mind Greta Van Fleet, that shaggy-haired band of industry-beloved youngsters who’ve gained equal parts fame and critical consternation for joylessly regurgitating the entire Led Zeppelin catalog But there’s nothing that White and Benson have cooked up on Help Me Stranger that sounds like genre-reliant clock-punching; instead, they make playing around in the classic-rock sandbox sound like so much fun that you have to wonder why it took them eleven years to get back in the habit together. Hopefully, next time around they’ll make a point of getting together again sooner.

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Released June 21st, 2019 ,
2019, 2019 Third Man Records, LLC

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Jack White and Brendan Benson of the Raconteurs admitted they couldn’t pinpoint when the band got back together – but recalled that their first show in eight years had been a “rough” affair that nevertheless left them feeling “exhilarated.”

White, Benson, Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler hit the stage together bck in April to mark the the 10th anniversary of White’s label Third Man Records. They later confirmed a North American tour to promote their new album, “Help Us Stranger”, which is released on June 21st.

The reunion appears to have been fueled by White’s creation of the song “Shine the Light on Me,” which he felt didn’t work with any other project he had and sounded like a Racounteurs track. “Just the mention of it – The Raconteurs – jolted me a bit,” Benson said in a new interview. “And then a couple years passed.”

White remembered taking “baby steps” towards any kind of reunion, and also that a full album had never been part of the plan. “The first step for any act in that position would be to have some kind of meeting with a manager and plan out your whole year, like, ‘Hey, we’re going to make an album and tour and start booking festival dates,’ and you haven’t even recorded a song yet,” he reported. “You could very easily fall into those traps in the music business if you’re not careful. So we just got together a couple times and said, ‘Let’s see what happens.’ … but the songs came out really fast and that was a great sign.”

With the new LP in the can, the band regrouped for the Third Man show. “It was a little rough,” Benson said, noting that it was also the first time he’d performed sober in the group. “But it felt good. It was just one of those moments where afterward, we were all very exhilarated and stoked about the future.” That led to more shows and then the North American tour. “We don’t sit around and discuss a plan; we just roll with it,” he added. “We just do what we do – for better or for worse.”

their forthcoming album “HELP US STRANGER” – out June 21st.

Jack White and Brendan Benson’s group The Raconteurs are hitting the road for the first time in years, and are dropping their first album in over a decade “Help Us Stranger” this coming June. The Grammy-winning Nashville based powerhouse teased fans in December with two tracks from the record, and have now they have unveiled a third cut ‘Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness)‘, a punchy reimagining of Scottish psychedelic folk singer Donovan‘s 1965 song. The Raconteurs‘ rendition inserts a heavy dose of garage punk heft into the tune, while retaining the stripped back original’s lusty soul. enjoy their cover of ‘Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness)’ version below…

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released April 10th, 2019
2019, 2019 Third Man Records, LLC

The Raconteurs have announced a new album, “Help Us Stranger”, It’s their first new album in 11 years, since their 2008-released second album, Consolers of the Lonely. “Help Us Stranger” is due out June 21st via Third Man Recordings. No new music accompanies the album announcement, but it includes the remixed and remastered versions of two songs the band shared back in December: “Sunday Driver” and “Now That You’re Gone”.

The band features Jack White, Brendan Benson, Jack Lawrence, and Patrick Keeler. The Raconteurs formed in 2005 and released their debut album, Broken Boy Soldiers, in 2006. Lawrence and Keeler were also in The Greenhornes and Lawrence has also played with White in The Dead Weather. Benson is known as a solo artist and of course so is White, who released a new solo album, Boarding House Reach, in 2018 via Third Man and Columbia. The band is known as The Saboteurs in Australia, due to another band down under named The Raconteurs.

Jack White and Brendan Benson wrote all the tracks, except for “Hey Gyp (Dig the Slowness),” which is a Donovan cover. The Raconteurs produced the album, which was recorded at Third Man Studio in Nashville, TN, and engineered by Joshua V. Smith. Vance Powell and The Raconteurs mixed the album at Blackbird Studios in Nashville. The album also features keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist Dean Fertita (The Dead Weather, Queens of the Stone Age), as well as Lillie Mae Rische and her sister Scarlett Rische.

A special Third Man Vault edition of the album will include the album on 180-gram marble vinyl and a 7-inch featuring early demo recordings of “Help Me Stranger” and “Somedays (I Don’t Feel Like Trying),” as well as a Raconteurs bandana designed by Keeler and an exclusive Raconteurs slip mat.

The Raconteurs Announce First New Album in 11 Years, “Help Us Stranger” Due Out June 21 via Third Man Reordings.