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John Paul White

The Hurting Kind – 2019 (Single Lock)

Reviewed by Bill Caruthers

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CDs by John Paul White

John Paul While gives us his homage to the Countrypolitan sound of the 1960's on "The Hurting Kind." His second release on Single Lock Records, which he co-owns with Ben Tanner of the Alabama Shakes, "The Hurting Kind" evokes the presence of Roy Orbison throughout, particularly on "Heart Like a Kite," "I Wish I Could Write You A Song" and "My Dreams Have All Come True."

Eager to tap into the '60s country vibe, White doesn't actually copy the original production and style, but shows a willingness to go wherever the music took him on this effort. He also reached out to collaborate with songwriters of the period, such as Bill Anderson and Bobby Braddock.

The title cut, written from a female perspective could easily be imagined coming from Jeanne Seely in her prime. Co-written with Anderson, "I Wish I Could Write You A Song" is allowed to build and swell as it moves forward with little regard to what the hot style of the moment is. On "Heart Like A Kite," White sings of a flawed love, observing without judgment, those qualities that don't bode well for a lasting relationship. "Yesterday's Love" lopes along with the sweetness of a Jesse Winchester song.

Holding his own with powerhouse vocalist Lee Ann Womack on "This Ain't Going To End Well", co-written with Braddock, this song about a love affair destined to fail, mines territory previously prospected and nonetheless comes up with a gem of his own. Likewise, on his collaboration with Anderson and Jamey Johnson, "You Lost Me," White writes a could be classic with its "Close Up The Honky Tonks" feel.

Worth singling out here is the effort, "James," an homage to the untimely and cruel end of Glen Campbell without ever mentioning the culprit of Alzheimer's by name. Telling the story through snatches of memories that his own father had shared, White paints a poignant picture of gradual loss of self.

With his clear thought process and even clearer tenor voice, in "The Hurting Kind" White has given us a master class in what a singer-songwriter should always strive to be.