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Issue 57 - Man in search of the wrong-eyed Jesus

Whisky Magazine Issue 57
July 2006


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Man in search of the wrong-eyed Jesus

Jim White goes to some pretty out there places,both in his mind and in the American Deep South. Lew Guthrie III walks the line between good and evil

American troubadour Jim White isn't so much a new country singer as its beat poet. His landscape is the great American south, the forgotten parts of America made up of one pump gas station and two store towns. Places where white picket fence churches stand guard over an impoverished people who survive on the breadline clinging to pick and mix employment and petty crime to survive.

Jim White feels at home here and when he travels his concerts are laden with anecdotes that are wry, humorous and underpinned with pride. His language can be as harsh as the places and people he is describing, but he is nonjudgmental and his work provides a graphic snapshot of a culture that is surviving through defiance and sheer guts.

Jim White doesn't sing about whiskey but his music is soaked in bourbon. His Leonard Cohen-like halfspoken languid vocal style and his earthy, ethereal and off-kilter music is tailormade for sipping a quality bourbon to.

White made his name with the truly weird but quite wonderful Wrong Eyed Jesus, an album that comes accompanied by an essay on the sleeve of how a teenage Jim White was given a lift by a predatory homosexual. Trapped in his car all White could think about was a statue of Jesus he had seen at the local church, with entirely inappropriate eyes.

So he started screaming ‘wrong-eyed Jesus' at his assailant until the stoned driver could stand it no more and threw the hysterical child from his car.

Strange stuff but a suitable metaphor for the many co...

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