Tony Joe White is Outlaw Magazine’s Artist of the Month for June 2016. His new album, Rain Crow, dropped on May 26th and it holds up strong to his body of work that includes over forty releases (nineteen studio albums) since his debut in 1969 with Black and White on Monument Records. TJW has had songs recorded by Elvis, Waylon Jennings, Tina Turner, Tom Jones and many others.
The new album, Rain Crow, teases, taunts and hypnotizes. It makes your bones rattle and raises your pumping heart to full volume. You wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume TJW has magic powers. His music is unlike that of anyone else, with a deep vocal roll and swampy-blues grooves that have remained strong and consistent, yet fresh, throughout his entire career.
From living in the swamp land with “Hoochie Woman” to trouble from “The Bad Wind”, Rain Crow moves along from the moody questions and declarations of a wise and weary traveler, to a master storyteller who gives the impression he could kick anyone’s ass without hardly moving a muscle. Maybe blinking a guitar lick or two is all it would take and he’d have the job done. “The Opening of the Box” is some serious voodoo guitar slinging in itself. Haunting harp swells, seductive, pulsating rhythms and that deep, deep voice carry the listeners of Rain Crow through a storm and back again. After all these years, TJW remains one of the greatest artists of our time.
- Hoochie Woman
- The Bad Wind
- Rain Crow
- The Opening of the Box
- Right Back in the Fire
- The Middle of Nowhere
- Conjure Child
- Where Do They Go
- Tell Me A Swamp Story
One night back in 2006 (I think), I went to see TJW at The Basement in Nashville. He came in with an entourage of three men, his hat pulled down over his face and his cowboy boots thumped the floor with purpose. They all marched up to the stage, one of the men took out his guitar. TJW grabbed it and sat down in a chair as the drummer took his seat right behind him. The other two guys disappeared. Just the two of them on stage, TJW and the drummer, but it felt like a whole band when they played together. Halfway into his first song, I swear I thought my clothes were going to vibrate right off of me. I’ve never felt anything like that in my life, at any show. Not when I’ve played music or when I’ve listened to countless others. The kick drum pounded underneath him, his electric guitar was swamping and searing licks on a a hell-bent mission, his voice pounded into my chest. Maybe 60 people there, it was the best concert I’ve ever seen in my life. Tony Joe White isn’t one in a million, he’s one of a kind.
It’s hard to pick my favorite TJW album, although it may just be Heroines. He recorded an album that featured duets with his favorite female artists including Emmylou Harris, Jessi Colter, Shelby Lynne and Michelle White. Then there’s the live albums. Also, The Shine, Uncovered.… the list goes on and on. .
Take a journey with me and see what I’m talking about.
~ Brigitte London