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Drill a Hole In That Substrate and Tell Me What You See

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Editors’ Notes

 “It’s an allegory of the physics of my life,” Jim White says, explaining the album's title which came to him while passing a construction site one day. “The construction site is my mind, and the substrate I’ve been drilling holes in is the tangled maze of impressions that Jesus, poverty, and the loneliness of being raised an outsider in the South have conspired to lay beneath my feet.” And with that rather poetic introduction to this collection of richly literary songs (Faulkner, McCarthy and O’Connor have always haunted his works with their American-gothic overtones), you have some insight to the slightly spooky nature of White’s musings. He pens a moving love song to his young daughter in “Bluebird”, but the salvation found there is also serving to help him bury a past he’d rather forget. “Combing My Hair in a Brand New Style” is a clever account of shedding one’s skin and starting over, and the heartfelt “Land Called Home” might be sung by someone who feels he has, indeed, found a home – or at least a place in the world. It’s been a long time coming for White (this is album #3), but the musical world now seems to agree that someone important has arrived on the scene. The Barenaked Ladies, M. Ward, Bill Frisell, Ralph Carney, and Aimee Mann (who helped make “Static on the Radio” a minor hit) grace the credits, and help color in the spaces drawn by White’s sure hand. Joe Henry adds a late-night jazzy feel to a handful of tracks as producer.

Customer Reviews

I owe this to the artist

Don't usually do reviews, but this album entirely works for me. Bought if from iTunes over a year ago and just saw the album art go by on my screensaver and thought "I could use SOME MORE Jim White". Anyway saw this album and had to comment. I had a few favorite songs right off the bat but it bears a listen all the way through much the way you do to Pink Floyds "Dark Side of the Moon". Preferably laying down or going for a drive (or both). The song Land Called Home kind of crept up on me after a month or so. Listen in the dark and you can easily picture this as a movie soundtrack. I would almost be afraid to ask Mr. White if if there is a personal story to this particular song. Anyway, enough rambling. This is a nice piece of work, the whole is better than the sum of the parts. Buy it. Be Satisfied.

Listen.

This is album is perfection. It speaks with such simple grace about love, loss and redemption in a way that I have not heard before. You have to listen closely to every word Jim White utters as he drops his wisdom in very quiet ways. I don’t think I’ve heard a more beautiful song than “Buzzards of Love”, though the heartfelt sentiment of “Bluebird” makes it a close second. I bought this album two years ago and it still amazes me.

Strikes a Chord

I can't put my finger on exactly what it is about Jim White that moves me so. Something about a damaged man seeking salvation, perhaps. At any rate, though the tone might be somber, I find this album incredibly uplifting.

Drill a Hole In That Substrate and Tell Me What You See, Jim White
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Customer Ratings