Great things are often achieved by accident, or while trying to achieve something else. Such is the case with Jack White’s first solo album, “Blunderbuss.”
White and Wu-Tang Clan rapper RZA were supposed to record together at White’s house in Nashville, Tenn. When RZA never showed up, White decided to record some things on his own.
The album is darker than much of what White has released in the past with his varying assortment of bands, but not heavier. The overwhelming rawness of the White Stripes has been replaced by something more delicate, yet no less powerful.
There are pianos playing dark seemingly underwater notes and bouncy silent film era melodies while White sings lyrics like, “When she’s gone I sit and drink her perfume, and I’m sure she’s drinking too.” Organs, upright bass, and maracas linger behind the back up vocals of Ruby Amanfu, a Nashville, Tenn. soul singer one could easily confuse with Dolly Parton on a first listen.
Many have speculated on the events in White’s personal life leading up to the release of this album and if they might be directly referenced on “Blunderbuss.” His recent divorce from supermodel wife Karen Elson, the splitting of the White Stripes.
Whether the words he’s singing are personal or not, they paint an accurate representation of the deterioration of love and things that have been loved.
White also has a new color of choice. Blue. Vintage Cadillac blue. The album art, the guitars, the amps, the cords, the wardrobe, the lighting – everything. Blue. Perhaps he needed a release from the binding red and white palette he was dedicated to for so long. Maybe he wanted a corresponding color for the general tone of his album. Maybe there was a sale.
In addition to the color, White’s touring band is also new; two new bands, in fact. One all-female and one all-male band travel with White and neither know which band will play shows until the day of the performance.
“I decide at breakfast,” White recently told Stephen Colbert, on an episode of “The Colbert Report.”
The bands aren’t allowed to hear each other play, either – a decision made by White to encourage each band to evolve separately. If you’re planning on seeing one of his performances, you really won’t know who’s playing until the curtain comes up.
Set lists for the shows don’t exist. There is no preconceived discussion of the songs that will be played until they are already being played. No googling what you’re in for this time.
Friday, 9:30-11p.m., Hangout Main Stage