There are certain descriptors in the music writer’s lexicon that are so overused they have largely lost all meaning. In the case of Jim White, however, blowing the dust off these words – eccentric, reclusive, singular – aren’t a luxury but a necessity. His latest album, Wonders Never Cease, sees White expertly stumbling and fumbling down a variety of musical roads, his explorations seemingly guided as much by whim as by determination. Equal parts carnival barker, preacher and world-weary storyteller, White can offer a sound best described as an off kilter step-child of Dixieland then unflinchingly move into steel guitar coloured Americana. All serve to support sometimes incisive, sometimes obtuse, always engaging lyrics. White sits well among ’80s college rock icons – the weirdness of Violent Femmes, the gruffness of Paul Westerberg – as much as he does alongside freakout circuses like Frank Zappa and Tom Waits, if he’s forced to sit anywhere at all. In performance, White arrives with the promise of all this wondrousness and curiosity pent up in songs that ask for a suspension of disbelief.
Biography by Derek McEwen