See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

Wednesday, February 28, 2001

Trailer park signifying

Posted By on Wed, Feb 28, 2001 at 12:00 AM

There are moments when Mr. White’s hazy backroads vignettes play like David Lynch — as on the sly cut, “The Wound That Never Heals.” In these moments, his narratives and mixological cocktail of country, noir, rock and sound collage hit the bone. But then there’s a nearly equal number of times when he dallies overly long in either Jon Spencer faux-carpetbagger-blues territory or oft-traveled Tom Waits-ian creepy backwater, hard-livin’, narrative put-ons. This is the frustrating Jim White contradiction — partly truth and partly fiction? He’s one half naif-genuine American music storyteller and one half NPR feature story waiting to happen.

He strikes a helluvan atmosphere, mixing plunky banjo with left-field stereoscopic sound effects that are Suwanee River and rickety Iowa barn at 2 a.m. He also has an incredible knack for an infectious chorus. His voice is deceptively sweet. (And come to think of it, don’t you have to be 50 years old and a recovering alcoholic/drug addict/other story-pitch-worthy psychic casualty to tell spooky Americana tales?) Had David Lynch held off on releasing Wild at Heart for a dozen years, White might’ve bumped poor old Chris Isaak off the sound track. (White is, after all, a former European fashion model.) Anyhoo.

But for all his storytelling moves and trailer-park signifying, No Such Place is, ultimately, infectiously ephemeral. But maybe that’s just the point.

E-mail Chris Handyside at letters@metrotimes.com.

Tags:

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at letters@metrotimes.com.

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

More by Chris Handyside

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit