One Track Mind: Jack White, “High Ball Stepper” from Lazaretto (2014)

A gloriously off-kilter instrumental blues from Jack White, “High Ball Stepper” advances the rootsy weirdness that made 2012’s Blunderbuss such a fizzy wonder. It will catch a groove, then devolve into a wide-open space of ruminative piano, then evolve again into a blister of smeared guitar sound.

Is there such a thing as prog blues? If so, then “High Ball Stepper” — the lead track from White’s forthcoming second solo effort Lazaretto, due June 10, 2014 via Third Man Records — is it. Think Hendrix sitting in with Crimson.

So, time for deep dive, right? White’s ready to oblige, with a limited vinyl edition of Lazaretto that will be issued as part of the Vault’s No. 20 package, along with special art, postcard and fold-out poster, and a seven-inch blues single featuring two demos of tracks from the new project, “Entitlement” and “Alone in my Home.” There is also a hard-cover 40-page companion book to be had, featuring with lyrics, notations, more photos and art from Lazaretto.

The former White Stripes co-founder is also set to make a series of North American stops this summer, on a tour that includes Bonnaroo, among others. White’s celebrated solo debut Blunderbuss topped the Billboard charts two years ago.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has explored music for USA Today, 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 nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso