Where It Hits You
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Where It Hits You
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''Titles never come easy to me, but this one did. Long before I recorded a single note I knew what I'd call it. That name, it was just in the air. Midway through it my wife left me. Just walked out the door...into the arms of younger man. We have kids, you know? Lord, what a mess. I was...well, what's a word lower than devastated? I was sub-devastated. Many of the songs on this record I wrote for her. So what do you do? I had to finish it, but singing those songs, hearing those words over and over, it was quite a trial.''
As is often the case with cathartic upheaval, sometimes tribulation forces buried treasure to the surface. This holds true with Where It Hits You, as rich and diverse a record as Jim has ever produced. From the brooding dreamlike opener, ''Chase The Dark Away,'' to the wild eyed stomp of ''Here We Go,'' to the Beefheartesque ''Infinite Mind,'' to the Harvest-era Neil Young ringer ''My Brother's Keeper,'' Where It Hits You finds Jim in full musical stride, effortlessly blending genres and approaches in ways that sometimes boggle the mind. But as White's work has shown over the arc of his career, despite the experimental extremes he recklessly embraces, there's always a cohesive, singular identity that holds the divergent influences together.
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"Where it hits you" is just the latest installment of one man's journey from growing up in Pensacola, Florida, the unofficial capital of the Pentecostal, Jesus and drug infested "Redneck Riviera", to broken relationships, fleeting happiness, and heartache.
Jim White is informed by all things Southern Gothic, including Flannery O'Connor and Cormac McCarthy. Coincidentally or not, his own life has turned out just as strange, or stranger, than the fictional tales of the Southern Gothic artists who inspire him.
"Where it hits you" came about while White, by his own account, was going through a separation, then divorce from his wife.
He's played many of the songs on "Where it hits you" live for several years, long before he went through his separation and divorce.
Many of the songs on the rocord have been previewed live for years, and the word which immediately comes to mind in listening to the songs on "Where it Hits you" is "prescience".
On the subject of artists and prescience, after David Bowie's record "Heathen" was released in 2002, one interviewer asked him whether at least a couple of songs were written as a response to 9/11. Bowie replied that the songs in question had been chosen or written long before 9/11. Jung disciple that Mr. Bowie is, he suggested that sometimes people, and artists in particular, can be true vessels of things to come, whether in his/her personal life or on a broader scale. David Byrne has commented many times that his lyrics sometimes don't make any sense to him after he's first written them, yet then take on meaning, sometimes years in hindsight.
In White's case, "prescience" as an influencing life and creative force is nothing new, at least from reading his short stories and strange tales he likes to tell on stage. That said, none of his previous songs have been quite as blatantly prescient as the songs on this record.
Musically, the arrangements are lush and detailed and carefully thought out, courtesy of Mr. White's own producing talents as well as fellow Athens, Georgia resident and musician in his own right, John Keane, who has produced records ranging from R.E.M. to a long list of other great bands and musicians.
The setting and overall feel of the record has that same Jesus inflected Southern Gothic Appalachian country stomp which have become White's signature.