After years performing in different bands — most notably as one half of the garage-blues duo The White Stripes, then in power-pop supergroup The Raconteurs and as a swamp goth in The Dead Weather — a solo release from Jack White was a long time coming. While not straying far from the sound of his other projects, noisy interpretations of blues with an energy that draws from both punk rock and gospel, 2012's Blunderbuss shows White at his most earnest and vulnerable. On "Love Interruption" he sings "I want love to roll me over slowly/ Stick a knife inside me, and twist it all around." His cover of Little Willie John's "I'm Shakin'" is a barnburner fueled by claps and an army of powerful female backup vocalists.
White first came to prominence with the enigmatic White Stripes with maybe sister, maybe ex-wife Meg White (it's his ex wife; Jack White took her surname), whose sparse, endearingly untrained drumming complemented Jack's noisy guitar work. After releasing six albums, the duo officially broke up in 2011, although they hadn't been playing together much during that time. White kept himself busy with side projects The Raconteurs, alongside Brendan Benson, Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler, and The Dead Weather, a haunting blues outfit lead by witchy Kills singer Alison Mosshart.
His first solo release coincides with an increased interest in White, who has become famous for his eccentricities and obsession with aesthetics. The Detroit native lives in Nashville, where he established the home base for his Third Man Records. The headquarters of the label, which releases albums primarily on vinyl and functions as a record store, performance venue and recording space, reveals White's control over his image and his meticulously dressed employees and yellow-and-black color scheme (the same way the White Stripes embraced red and black).
His attention to detail also crosses over to performance — touring for Blunderbuss, White alternates between all-female and all-male backing bands. Other interesting nuggets about his strange personal life have emerged, like the "divorce party" he threw when his marriage to model/singer Karen Elson ended. But behind the weirdness and aesthetic choices, White shows consistency in talent, in all iterations and color schemes. — LAUREN LABORDE