Tony Joe White

Yep Roc Records 2013

Review by David Bowling

Tony Joe White will always be remembered for his big 1969 hit, “Polk Salad Annie,” and as the author of Brook Benton’s last significant hit, ‘Rainy Night In Georgia. Over four decades have passed since the release of his signature tune and Tony Joe has kept active in the studio and on the road. Now, he has just issued his 33rd album, Hoodoo.

After over four decades in the music industry, Tony Joe White is who he is. He produces a laid back brand of swamp rock blues. His voice has taken on a nice patina and he has continued to improve as a guitar player. His songwriting continues to be some of the most personal and introspective in the music industry.

The album has an autobiographical element to it. “9 Foot Sack” looks back to his formative years growing up in Mississippi and learning to play the blues. “Alligator, Mississippi” presents the dangers of life in rural Mississippi. The Flood” brings his life full circle as it describes his journey home after the 2010 Nashville flood.

He kept it simple in the recording studio as just about all the performances were recorded live, including the vocals. It creates a very personal touch as you feel he is sitting in your living room performing just for you. He also continues to be a minimalist as no note or word is waited.

White settled into his career long ago and does not leave his comfort zone with his new release. It probably will not bring him the mainline success that has eluded him for the past 45 years or so but it is a pleasant journey from an artist who has survived a half-century of living and performing.

Rating: ***1/2

Article first published as www.cashboxmagazine.com on Cashbox Magazine