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White serves up "Hoodoo"

Thursday, July 11, 2013 – Tony Joe White may be almost 70, but almost more than 50 years of playing music, he is not sloing down. White is set to release a brand new album, "Hoodoo," out on Sept. 17 via Yep-Roc.

White was born in Oak Grove, La. in 1943 and was raised on a cotton farm owned by his father. After he finished schooling, following a stint driving a truck in Georgia, he formed a series of bands and took to the road. A trip to Nashville in 1966 was marked by one lucky break after another, and his fruitful recording career began at the country-soul crucible of Monument Records.

His best known songs are Polk Salad Annie and Rainy Night in Georgia. Through the years, his songs have been recorded by everyone from Tina Turner to Elvis Presley to Ray Charles.

Culled from an initial stack of roughly 17 tunes, the 9 songs on "Hoodoo" was cut mostly live to tape with many first takes.

"There's some actual magic that came over all of us when we were doing this," White said. "I would sit down with my drummer Cadillac (Bryan Owings) and my bass player the Troll (Steve Forrest), play twenty seconds of the tune, and then say 'We're gonna hit record, and you just play what comes into your heart.' It's like everyone is getting the hoodoo sensation. Spontaneity is beautiful. And since it's our studio, there's no hurry: no one is over our shoulder saying when we gotta get in and when we gotta get out...we were the record company."

"Hoodoo" features autobiographical songs about his life growing up on farm and learning the blues (9 Foot Sack), tales of rural Mississippi (Alligator Mississippi) and a tale of his trek homeward after the Nashville flood of 2010 (The Flood).

"There's not a push nowhere," he said about any pressure. "Maybe I'll stop playing shows and making records when the songs quit coming to me. But they still come to me. You see, I don't work for a song, but once I get a hold of it I don't let go. I just keep writing, and when I do, I want to go out and play it for somebody. It's the songwriting that keeps me going."

Songs on the CD are:
1) The Gift
2) Holed Up
3) Who You Gonna Hoodoo Now?
4) 9 Foot Sack
5) Alligator, Mississippi
6) The Flood
7) Storm Comin'
8) Gypsy Epilogue
9) Sweet Tooth

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Hoodoo CD review - Hoodoo
It's the nature of the music biz that any artist that boasts only a handful of hits generally has a hard time sustaining a career for any more than a year or two, much less for four decades. So credit Tony Joe White for doing the unimaginable, maximizing the success he scored early on with songs like Polk Salad Annie, Rainy Night in Georgia and Steamy Windows, (the latter two written for Brook Benton and Tina Turner, respectively) and using them to spur a trajectory that's still going strong. »»»
The Shine CD review - The Shine
It's been just over four decades since Tony Joe White eased into the spotlight with Polk Salad Annie, a folk/blues song that established White as a swampy, gritty and slightly more dangerous version of Elvis Presley. At the same time, there was a hint of novelty in Polk Salad Annie ("Gators got your granny, chomp, chomp chomp...") that could have painted White in a corner, but he proved more versatile and durable than his big hit. And although he hasn't had a song nearly as big »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: The Jayhawks remain in top form – It's usually a good time to catch a band right after they've released one of their better albums, and "Paging Mr. Proust" is one of The Jayhawks' best. Comprised of smart songs, which consistently put lead singer Gary Louris' engaging vibrato to proper use and instrumental textures that oftentimes stretch the Minnesota act... »»»
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