PROLIFIC: A characterization marked by abundant inventiveness or productivity. That’s the definition, the real application of the word is simpler to define by name. Jack White is prolific, in fact, he’s beyond prolific.
Not only is the Detroit native considered one of the most admired guitarists of the early 21st century, the talented and inventive singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer was responsible for restoring the popularity of the format of punk-blues as the front-man of the duo The White Stripes.
The duo had a full-bodied sound that was raw and explosive. White created the White Stripes with his then wife drummer Meg White (a powerhouse musician in her own right) who he also used to say was his sister trying to cheekily to stir the public interest. Jack and Meg divorced in 2000.
White’s nasal voice and loose, fiery delivery were trademarks of the White Stripes’ initial work, but as the duo’s popularity grew, the group had a color-coded image with red, white and black expanded upon a minimalist sound to incorporate metal, backwoods country, pop and early rock and roll.
They released six studio albums including: their self-titled debut, The White Stripes, De Stijl, White Blood Cells (“Fell In Love With A Girl”), Elephant (“Seven Nation Army” – characterized by an iconic riff which is considered one of their most recognizable and successful song of their catalog), Get Behind Me Satan and Icky Thump.
Their songs are typically dark, brooding, quirky, weird, smart and idiosyncratic lyrically exploring relationships and more.
Lesser known songs that made a strong impact critically include: “Black Math,” “Ball and Biscuit,” “Little Acorns,” “There’s No Home For You Here,” “You Got Her In Your Pocket,” “My Doorbell,” and “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground.”
The duo also released two live albums albums, one extended play (EP), one concert film, one tour documentary, 26 singles and 14 music videos. Their last three albums each won the GRAMMY Award for Best Alternative Music Album.
Like all things in life, all things come to an end. The duo officially disbanded as a band in 2011 after a long hiatus from performing and recording.
Like John and Yoko, the White’s also have their own ballad. Ask any of their fans and they’ll tell you whenever they think about the White’s, they think “We’re Going To Be Friends.
To know how Jack became the industry juggernaut he’s become, we have to take a troll down memory lane.
White’s Memory Lane includes a range of other projects. First, following the release of Elephant in 2003, White took a break from the group to produce Loretta Lynn’s Van Lear Rose. He then went on to work with The Raconteurs and Dead Weather in each he was a band member and produced each act.
“I want to be part of the resurgence of things that are tangible, beautiful and soulful, rather than just give in to the digital age. But when I talk to people about this they just say, ‘Yeah, I know what you mean,’ and stare at their mobiles.”
Alt rock, garage, blues and indie music influenced the band. The Raconteurs included Brendon Benson (vocals and guitars), Jack Lawrence (bass and guitars) and Patrick Keeler (drums).
The Nashville based band was formed in 2005 and released three albums: Broken Boy Soliders, Consolers Of the Lonely and Help Us Strangers. In December 2006, the band’s debut album, Broken Boy Soldiers, was awarded the title Album of the Year by Britain’s Mojo Magazine.
The Raconteurs were nominated for two awards at the 49th Grammy’s: one for Best Rock Album for Broken Boy Soldiers, and another for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for “Steady, As She Goes.” Sadly, they didn’t win in either category. The band has played a number of music festivals worldwide, headlining many.
The Dead Weather is another super-group from Nashville, they formed in 2009.The band features Alison Mosshart (from the Kills and Discount), Jack White, Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age), and Jack Lawrence The Raconteurs, The Greenhornes and City & Color). The band released three studio albums: Horehound, Sea Of Cowards and Dodge and Burn. The band also released one live album: Live At Third Man Records West.
Third Man Records is an independent record label founded by White. The label’s name incorporates several elements of personal significance to White. His fondness for the number three is well Documented. White’s old upholstering company was named Third Man Upholstery, and was also revolved around the colors of yellow and black.
All six studio albums of The White Stripes appear with the Third Man logo. All three Raconteurs albums also carry the label’s logo. For The Raconteurs’ tour of the United Kingdom in October 2006, 1,000 live albums were pressed and sold for each show, all of which display a Third Man logo.
Roughly a year after The White Stripes dissolved, White released his debut, a self-produced solo album, Blunderbuss, which debuted number one on the Billboard 200 chart, and in support of the album White played at select festivals during the summer of 2012.
As for the album, it went on to be nominated for several GRAMMY nods, including Album of the Year, Best Rock Album, and Best Rock Song for “Freedom at 21”.
Blunderbuss was lauded a very personal record that is purposeful and sincere filled with songs about fear and loss following not only the end of White Stripes but his second marriage to model/singer Karen Elson (who happens to sing backing vocals in the album) populated with bouncy instrumentation arrangements but crunchy guitar riffs covering his crushed feelings.
Lazaretto was released in 2014, it was White’s second solo album. It was inspired by plays and poetry he had written as a teen. The first single off the album was “High Ball Stepper.” The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart and 89 in a personal triumph for White… he broke the record for the largest sales week for a vinyl album since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991. The album was widely praised among critics, and was nominated for three Grammy’s
Lazeretto was praised the “densest, fullest, craziest and most indulgent White has sounded.” The album was also described as “lyrically and musically challenging and filled with many fresh avenues of exploration, even as it nods to key tones and from the history of pre-rap American music.”
For his next effort, the story is White worked in isolation and without a cell phone; he rented an apartment in Nashville, recorded quietly so no one would know what he was working on, and slept on an army cot. He drew inspiration from rap artists of the 80’s and 90’s and chose his backing musicians from talent that played supporting hip-hop artists live. In 2017, he released a four-minute video titled “Servings and Portions from my Boarding House Reach,” which featured short sound bites of new music interspersed with White Noise.
In 2018, White released two songs titled “Connected by Love” and “Respect Commander,” both taken from his third solo album, Boarding House Reach, which was released in 2018. Like its two preceding albums, it landed at number one on the Billboard 200 chart.
Later in 2018 White released Jack White: Kneeling At The Anthem D.C., his first concert film as a solo artist. Another interesting project was his guitar work on the song “I Don’t Love You Anymore” off of Tyler, The Creator’s album IGOR. This was released on May 17, 2019. Critics gave Boarding House Reach fairly positive reviews. It was marked by an unorthodox production and style which was departure from White’s studio albums. The scope of the ambition, experimentalism and artistic approach was praised though the album seemed to its detractors in some aspects inconsistent for the vary qualities it was praised for on the other hand.
Despite the global pandemic, White’s work has made it through the world of Covid-19. He played at Arroyo Secco last year and had plans to tour again. Sadly, we know what happened. The new album Boarding House Reach is doing very well, and his die-hard fans love “Corporation.”
The 12-time GRAMMY® Award-winner’s music appears to be just as vibrant and electric as ever.
2020 will be over soon. 2021 looks like it’ll be a better year in more ways than one. It”l also be a great year to take in Jack White.