Cookies help us deliver this site and services. By using this site and our services, you agree to our use of cookies.
Got it

Jason White

Nashville, TN

Biography

“If you want to know what gets me through my day . . .” With that opening line, Jason White invites us in and sets the confidential tone of his latest release The Longing. What gets White, and by extension, the characters that inhabit his rich song vignettes, through their days, is a desire for something beyond the current limits of their lives. They hunger after what’s beautiful, what’s real, and often, what’s nameless and unattainable. They dream of new beginnings. They struggle for answe...

“If you want to know what gets me through my day . . .” With that opening line, Jason White invites us in and sets the confidential tone of his latest release The Longing. What gets White, and by extension, the characters that inhabit his rich song vignettes, through their days, is a desire for something beyond the current limits of their lives. They hunger after what’s beautiful, what’s real, and often, what’s nameless and unattainable. They dream of new beginnings. They struggle for answers. They reach for love and fall short, but never quite give up. “Sometimes, even when things are going well in our lives, there’s that nagging feeling that there must be something more,” says White. “There’s always that little voice in your head that says, ‘What if . . . ?’” Three years ago, White’s own what if’s about love, relationships and his career set his creative compass spinning, and he started writing songs for The Longing. There was also the notion to make a record, as White says with a chuckle, “for the ladies.” “My first two records were pretty heavy on the ‘guy rock,’” he says. “A lot of snarling, sarcastic, semi-ironic music. My producer Viktor Krauss and I used to joke about how I should make an album for the ladies. It was kind of a running joke, but I started to take it seriously, because I noticed that the girls I was dating didn’t seem all that interested in my records. They were into gentler stuff like Death Cab For Cutie and Josh Rouse. So I set out to make a record that was more for a female audience.” At first, it was a difficult adjustment for White. “I’ve never felt comfortable with love songs and straight-up sincerity,” he admits. “Everything tends to be tongue in cheek with me. But I really tried to knuckle down and write those kind of songs. Luckily, the timing was perfect, because I went through the end of a heartbreaking relationship and then fell in love with the woman who’s now my wife, and she became the muse.” The result is a stunning ten-song cycle that explores the longings and vagaries of the human heart. It begins with the gospel-tinged “For The Freeway Home” and the jaunty, loping title track, continues through the cinematic “Waitress” and Tin Pan Alley-like valentine “Perfect Stranger,” then winds down with the French-flavored “Belle Histoire d’Amour” and the breezy but black humor of “California.” With White’s strong acoustic guitar work and honey-on-sandpaper voice front and center, the collection offers up a melodic warmth that recalls 70s-era FM radio titans Elton John, Bread and The Eagles, while still sounding contemporary and completely fresh. And there’s an edge to the softness, a confidence and authority that comes from White’s years of hard-won experience as both an artist and an award-winning songwriter. Born and raised in Cleveland, Jason White started playing guitar when he was seven. By the time he was in junior high, he was writing songs and gigging out with bands. His musical apprenticeship was as colorful as it was dramatic. Cross country touring in a van, an appearance on Star Search, the loss of a musical collaborator to suicide, a record deal turned sour, crooked management, and even a stint living Thoreau-style in a woodsy cabin. Along the way, he released two critically acclaimed albums, Shades of Gray and Tonight’s Top Story. The first yielded a song that would change his life. In 2003, when a Nashville song plugger heard “Red Ragtop” on a local radio station, he brought it to Tim McGraw, who took it to #2 on the country charts. A moving tale of young love, its mention of abortion got it banned on several major stations and stirred up controversy in the national press. All of which helped White’s stock as a songwriter rise on Music Row. While he remains proud of his chart-topper, and still enjoys the challenge of custom-tailoring songs for the country market, years in the Nashville trenches left a void in White’s creative life. “I sort of lost track of my original mission,” he says. “Any music that I’ve ever had any success with has been stuff that I wrote by myself late at night, with nothing in mind except that it was an idea that I really liked and wanted to pursue. Sometimes I forget that, and I get caught up in trying to please publishers and trying to guess what will be a hit. There was a longing to be an artist again, and to be representing myself with something that I could really get behind.” Facilitating White’s leap back into the artist’s chair on The Longing is producer Roger Moutenot (Yo La Tengo, Freedy Johnston), who brings sonic clarity and a relaxed groove to the record, wrapping the songs in often unexpected textures like vibes, ukulele and synthesizer. White explains, “Roger said, ‘Your other records are great, but they sound like you’re part of a rock band.’ So he came up with the idea of cutting the songs without a rhythm section – just live with me playing guitar and singing. Then the rhythm section played to those takes. That was the brilliant stroke that gives the record its sound. I feel like the songs breathe a lot more than stuff I’ve done in the past.” Moutenot’s studio was perfect for conjuring up the album’s late night atmosphere. White says, “It’s very vibey. We mostly played in the control room, at such low volumes that we didn’t even use headphones. The lights were dim, and we tracked in the early evening. It definitely had the feel of something stone-y and Neil Young-y, almost like everybody had just smoked a bunch of hashish right before we started recording. We didn’t, but it had that feel.” When Better Angels Music chief Rob Rappaport heard White play a concert in Nashville, he jumped onstage after the last song and started asking questions. Two weeks later, the pair inked a publishing deal; and when Rappaport heard the rough mixes of The Longing, a record contract soon followed. Rappaport stepped in as executive producer to put the finishing touches on the record. As White recalls, “Rob breathed new energy into the project and applied some tasteful spit and polish. As a producer, he knows how to discretely add an air of grandeur to an arrangement without it sounding overproduced.” With top Nashville cats like keyboardist John Deaderick, drummer Paul Deakin, cellist David Henry and bassist Viktor Krauss adding tasteful accompaniment throughout, The Longing shimmers with a sound that is intimate and inviting. As White prepares to hit the road in support of the album, he is cautiously optimistic about connecting with an audience in an overcrowded marketplace. “These days, everybody is so inundated with entertainment information, but most of it feels to me like its mass-produced. Even if you dig through the layers and there’s a real artist in there somewhere, it’s hard to tell. You hear vocals that have been Pro Tooled to death, songs that sound like they come from a machine. So what I hope is that people can listen to this record and hear that it’s homespun. That the songs were written very carefully and come from a sincere place, and the process was very organic and genuine.”

show more...

Songs (11)

© Amazing Media Group 2007-2024
About | Cookies & Privacy