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on 30 December 2000
Jim White looks like he's just walked out of the "Grapes of Wrath" depression era 30s, via 50s "Gunsmoke" (to grab that hat) and ended up stranded in a desolate highway truck stop with only a burger & coke for company - Such is the imagery that pervade this album.
His C.V (if we can beleive it) only add to the mystic. With stints as a grave digger, preacher, truck driver he's had the sort of life affirming experiences that recall the lives of Jack Keroac or Woody Guthrie. It should come as no surprise that this, his debut album, is an ecletic mix.
Bracketed within the new AMERICANA/ALT COUNTRY movement White has no qualms utilizing many forms of music to create his narrative led slices of twisted rustic life. WRONG EYED JESUS, as the title suggests, is a rich tapesty woven with intense imagery; and like a David Lynch film much of the narrative is both bizarre and surreal. Welcome to a world of murdering preachers, suicide and incest, ghosts and angels.
White wroughts these vignettes in the Southern tradition utilising banjo and pedal steel, harmonica and accordion to create a home-spun yet refreshing musical tableau.
Who can resist "Stabbed In The Heart" a tale of a spurned lover dying alone in the woods or the epic "A Perfect Day To Chase Tornados" with its crazed Holyman.
White is also not afraid to experiment as the frenetic "Wordmule" shows which he aptly dubs "hick-hop", or the energetic foot stomper "When Jesus Gets A Brand New Name" with his marvelous down-in-the-boots vocal growl.
But the greatest moments are the quietest. "Still Waters" is a haunting lullaby, whilst "Heaven Of My Heart" is a breezy affirmation of love. However, the greatest moment has to the beautiful lament of "Sleepy Town" which begins with a mere mumur "I whisper beautiful secrets into the drain pipes at night for the old folks that are sleeping..." and builds and builds until its soaring yet plaintive conclusion.
For a genre that is fast becoming over crowded this is one of the few originals.
JS, Kings Langley
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on 17 April 2006
After a lot of years searching for the perfect sound, the one that captured in every facet my own very personalised image of America, I came across Jim White's debut album, 'Wrong Eyed Jesus' and I knew that I had found it. The album resonates with more than just the sound of the south but with echoes of its soul as well. Tales of love and lost love, abandonment, searching and redemption flow seamlessly through each track, the lyrics dripping with a home spun religious revivalism that wouldn't fail to grip a die hard atheist. That Jim White knows of what he speaks you never doubt, an act of faith at one with the tales of the same contained within.

The album fits perfectly into the 'Southern Gothic' niche, although is far more tuneful and melodic than most in that area. From the opening track Jim White reveals a delicacy of touch that makes the album a pleasure to listen to, and draws out the macabre darkness inherent in his lyrics to full effect because of this. While parallels can be drawn to writers like Harry Crews and artists like Tom Waits, White presents a far more palatable approach to tales of woe, softening the savage in favour of well drawn metaphors.

Despite its primary interest in the darker side of life, 'Wrong Eyed Jesus' mixes both pessimism and optimism in equal measure, 'Heaven of My Heart' and 'Angel-Land' never failing to raise a smile. All in all Jim White's debut offering is an album of slowly revealing mysterys, that captures the imagination as well as the soul, and takes the listener on a journey through 11 carefully crafted landscapes to a landscape all too familiar in its strangeness.
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on 16 February 2006
Like others stumbled onto the end of the TV program on one of the BBC cable channels and was won over to the charms of Jim White. Can be an uncomfortable listen at first as you're not quite sure whether or not he's out there with the loonies or if this is a mickey-take. Several listens in and there is no doubt in my mind.
If you like Americana and, especially, Jim Jarmusch films my guess is that you'll like this too. Some songs are twee & clunky but "a perfect day to chase tornados" is an instant classic. Have been experimenting with new American music for a while now (Willard Grant, Josh Ritter, Grant Lee Phillips) but I think I've found what I was looking for in Jim White.
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on 10 March 2006
This album is a real treat from start to finish. The opening track, Book of Angels, is suitably atmospheric, with an instant feeling that the production value is higher than that of other albums in a similar vein (I’m thinking of Sufjan Stevens, ‘Seven Swans and the like).

Burn the River Dry has a fantastic tempo, with a stabby drum part which seems to always lag behind some lovely finger work on the guitar.
The haphazard nature of the rhythm, which works to lovely effect, is exemplified in track 3, Still Waters. Jim White’s voice accompanies itself with in a whispered tone, which adds to a real feeling of eeriness, as does Jim White’s vocal work at the lowest end of his vocal limit in the chorus.
When Jesus Gets a Brand New Name smacks of Tom Waits, with similar bizarre lyrical material and instrument use (such as the organ for the chirping crickets, which is quite inspired). Random, but as a fan of Tom Waits I find it a welcome addition.
Sleepy Town reminds me of getting in to Flagstaff, Arizona, just as the sun was rising, which means this song is doing something right. Jim White adopts a strangely childlike lyrical perspective and voice for this song, which makes the whole song feel innocent and summery (especially when he talks about pouring whiskey into the honeycomb and watching the bees fly away, which I think is a great image). Aided by lovely female vocals, as with many of the songs.
A Perfect Day to Chase Tornados, switches on the button marked ‘atmosphere’ once again. Dark and emotive, it’s a compelling little song which makes good use of the murder and religion theme which is so often used in this kind of folk Americana.
Perhaps the rockiest of the songs, Wordmule seems a little out of place for me. Somewhat plodding, it never goes anywhere particularly interesting.
One of my favorites, Stabbed in the Heart is brooding and musically interesting. The semi-spoken words work to create the atmosphere, along with the ghostly female backing. Very impressive.
Angel-Land is a quant little duet with Victoria Williams. Pleasant enough, in an gospel-esque Americana sort of way.
Heaven of My Heart is a rhythmic, upbeat song. If you need cheering up…
The cello opening to Road That Leads to Heaven gets me worked before Jim White even starts his beautiful vocal work. The new song of choice to put on if I was sitting looking at the stars with a girl, or in the more likely event I need to inject a bit of emotion into an otherwise sterile life! The cello, on its return in the song, does what cellos do best – pack your emotions up into a ball and slide it up your spine. A great end to a fantastic album.
Short of perfect for the one song I feel that stopped this album being a nice rounded 10 tracks of American folk gold. Still, it compares with Sufjan Stevens’ ‘Seven Swans’, and is better than ‘Illinois’. If you like the sound of this, the Handsome Family are up the same dirt track so check them out as well.
The album that defined the last month or so for me - hope you enjoy!
Moses Stevens
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on 10 March 2006
This album is a real treat from start to finish. The opening track, Book of Angels, is suitably atmospheric, with an instant feeling that the production value is higher than that of other albums in a similar vein (I’m thinking of Sufjan Stevens, ‘Seven Swans and the like).
Burn the River Dry has a fantastic tempo, with a stabby drum part which seems to always lag behind some lovely finger work on the guitar, which makes for a lazy, relaxed sound.
The haphazard nature of the rhythm, which works to lovely effect, is exemplified in track 3, Still Waters. Jim White’s voice accompanies itself with in a whispered tone, which adds to a real feeling of eeriness, as does Jim White’s vocal work in the lower end of the spectrum in the chorus.
When Jesus Gets a Brand New Name smacks of Tom Waits, with similar bizarre lyrical material and instrument use (such as the organ for the chirping crickets, which is quite inspired). Random, but as a fan of Tom Waits I find it a welcome addition.
Sleepy Town reminds me of getting in to Flagstaff, Arizona, just as the sun was rising, which means this song is doing something right. Jim White adopts a strangely childlike lyrical perspective and voice for this song, which makes the whole song feel innocent and summery (especially when he talks about pouring whiskey into the honeycomb and watching the bees fly away, which I think is a great image). Aided in parts by lovely female vocals, as with many of the songs.
A Perfect Day to Chase Tornados, switches on the button marked ‘atmosphere’ once again. Dark and emotive, it’s a compelling little song which makes good use of the murder and religion theme which is so often used in this kind of music.
Perhaps the rockiest of the songs, Wordmule seems a little out of place for me. Somewhat plodding, it never goes anywhere particularly interesting.
One of my favorites, Stabbed in the Heart is brooding and musically interesting. The semi-spoken words work to create the atmosphere, along with the ghostly female backing. Very impressive.
Angel-Land is a quant little duet with Victoria Williams. Pleasant enough, in an gospel-esque Americana sort of way.
Heaven of My Heart is a rhythmic, upbeat song. If you need cheering up…
The cello opening to Road That Leads to Heaven gets me worked before Jim White even starts his beautiful vocal work. The new song of choice to put on if I was sitting looking at the stars with a girl, or in the more likely event I need to inject a bit of emotion into an otherwise sterile life! The cello, on its return in the song, does what cellos do best – pack your emotions up into a ball and slide them up your spine. A great end to a fantastic album.
Short of perfect for the one song I feel that stopped this album being a nice rounded 10 tracks of American folk gold. Still, it compares with Sufjan Stevens’ ‘Seven Swans’, and is better than ‘Illinois’. If you like the sound of this, the Handsome Family are up the same dirt track so check them out as well.
The album that defined the last month or so for me - hope you enjoy!
Moses Stevens
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on 24 February 2015
I thought this album must be Jim's best -until I heard the others. They are all superb - though this one has the incredible 'World Mule' on it - which matches Beefhearts 'Big Eyed Beans from Venus' for sheer craziness.
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on 14 January 2001
Still Waters, Sleepy-Town, A Perfect Day To Chase Tornados and Stabbed In The Heart are 4 of THE best songs EVER recorded. I often skip both When Jesus Gets A Brand New Name and Wordmule - All other tracks, though are top draw.
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on 27 November 2014
Jim White does it for me,a little off centre,but right on the spot.Great lyrics and tunes,keeps me laughing when times are tough and the whole world is "wrong". Love this album.
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on 5 September 2015
if you are in the right mood it can be magnificent
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on 12 November 2016
magic
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