Tony Joe White – Hoodoo (2013)

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Tony Joe White boasts a uniformly comfortable approach, established with 1968’s “Poke Salad Annie” and repeated since with all the regularity of shotgun rows of Southern-grown cash crops.

Hoodoo, in fact, opens with a swampy groove on “The Gift” that could have come out of the same sessions, so closely does it hew to White’s signature sound. Yet this new project, due September 17, 2013 from Yep Roc, doesn’t creak under the weight of that history. Instead, White simply retrofits it for a new day, blending in contemporary images — “The Flood,” for instance, focuses on the waters that washed into Nashville in 2010 — to go with his ageless whomper-stomper blues.

“9 Foot Sack” takes us back to the scrubby bottoms that spawned Annie too, but in a new world where farmers can barely eke out an existence. “Holed Up” finds White’s protagonist cornered in his own little trailer, too broke to do anything more than sit and wonder of his misfortune.

All of these cuts were done live, as White tells it, along side a drummer he calls Cadillac and a bass player nicknamed Troll. (That’s Bryan Owings and Steve Forrest, respectively.) They just plugged in, and played as the ghosts of future songs gathered all around. In other words, is sounds as old school as it actually was.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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