Jim White is most frequently considered a storyteller first and a musician second. You might compare him to Laurie Anderson and others of that ilk. His songwriting has also been compared to David Byrne, Jim Croce and Bob Dylan. I've been a fan of Jim's stories-set-to-music since his first album (and subsequent film) SEARCHING FOR THE WRONG-EYED JESUS. I was thrilled to see he had recently, independently, releases a new recording Titled MISFITS JUBILEE (released in 2020). While I find all his songs/stories interesting I wanted to share three of them. First up is the last song on the album. The Divided States Of America; a critical view of all things american including politics, social behavioral structures. Jim grew up in Pensacola, Florida which is frequently his muse. Florida is known as a hotbed of weird contradictions which I believe gives him authoritative credence to his criticism. I've also included his brief statement from the YouTube video description. The chorus which goes "no one is at home anymore in America, in America, in the divided states of America" is somewhat ambiguous. I want to suggest that the words "no one is at home..." not to be taken literally, but instead, understood in terms of comfort. No one is comfortable in America anymore. I certainly feel this conflict - I feel out of place and uncomfortable with life as it is. And I love how this track ends quoting George Washington (a founding father), Emma Lazarus and Jesus Christ. Things that used to be cornerstones of American thought and now, like Jim, I wonder "what happened to that America". An open question that I wonder if it has not been swallowed up in commercialism - after all the last lines are "I'd like an order of fries and a Big Mac... uhh no man fries and a Big Mac what's wrong with you man..." The second song is Smart-Ass Reply (# 5 on the album). This song I can also relate to. Love the punk chorus, "I'd sell my soul for a smart... a smart-ass reply..." While I usually am not in want for smart-ass replies (as my co-workers would tell you - in fact they've given me a nickname because of smart-ass replies - they call me "the comedian" LOL). But blogging doesn't really lend itself to smart-ass replies because they are often instantaneous. And yet there are times I fall short and would definitely sell my soul for a smart-ass reply. So there. Put that in your pipe and smoke it! Highway Of Lost Hats. This final track is also catchy and looks at a guy who's picked up a girl that is taking him for a ride as he says in the chorus, "Going nowhere fast, speeding down the highway of lost hats." Of course the ride ends tragically as he gets pulled over by the cops which in itself is a critique of policing in America. Highway of lost hats is a poetic phrase and the song can be a parable of how Americans have been misled/gotten side-tracked and ended up "going nowhere fast, speeding down the highway of lost hats". Hat are of course a protective head covering. What happens when we lose that protection? How many have lost their heads without a protective covering to sane thought and wisdom?
If you like Misfits Jubilee be sure to search out the following
SEARCHING FOR THE WRONG-EYED JESUS
NO SUCH PLACE
DRILL A HOLE IN THE SUBSTRATE AND TELL ME WHAT YOU SEE
3 MORE HAIKU Framing seasons three Winter starts and ends the year Annual bookends *** A breath of warm air She comes around the mountain Chase Winter away *** She pushes forth life Her pungent verdant bower Earth's labour's give birth