BY MICHAEL TOLAND
Singer/songwriter Jim White made his reputation on being the Americana scene’s crazy cousin, the quirky guy in the corner who sees his chosen style as a jumping off point into previously unknown territory. So it’s a bit of a surprise to hear White, along with the Packway Handle Band, playing more or less straight bluegrass on Take It Like a Man.
Of course, this being White, the “more or less” is pretty important – dig the melodica running through “Smack Dab in a Big Tornado,” the train whistle in “Sorrows Shine,” the subject of “Paranormal Girlfriend” and the batshit insanity that is “Wordmule Revisited.” White plays it straight as well, though, from the wry humor of the honkytonker “Jim 3:16” (“a bar’s just a church where they serve beer”) to the dark folk of “Sorrows Shine” and the spitfire energy of “Blood On the Fiddle, Blood On the Bow.”
Being almost (there’s that qualifier again) conventional, Take It Like a Man may not hit the same highs for fans as White’s more seminal work, but it’s a solid set of songs given engaging performances.
DOWNLOAD: “Blood On the Fiddle, Blood On the Bow,” “Sorrows Shine,” “Wordmule Revisited”