Jim White released his debut album (Wrong-Eyed Jesus) in 1997 and, two decades on, it's perhaps surprising to note that this is only his sixth LP.
His relatively unprolific output can be explained by the fact that he has many other fish to fry. For instance, when not making his own records he produces those of others, writes fiction and creates visual art.
You also get the impression that White waits until the muse is right and has a natural resistance to merely going through the motions.
He provides an insight to the song writing process by describing the "collision of intuitive elements" that lies behind the track Far Beyond The Spoken Word.
The consequences of these 'collisions' are varied. While he most frequently uses the motifs of straight Americana he often strays into other territory.
The songs range from simple banjo ballads like Drift Away to the more expansive Silver Threads which deals with the thorny topic of coming to terms with aging and the realization that "no fire lasts forever". The song reflects philosophically on how broken hearts get mended, even though this often ends up being a patch job.
Long Long Day is a busier and more upbeat version of a song which first appeared on his 2007 album Transnormal Skiperoo.
White is fond of shaggy dog stories and honing in on the quirkiness of everyday life. Since he has also spoken of exploring the "serious psychological baggage I acquired as a child", some of these have a serious undercurrent beneath the apparently light surface.
The story teller in him is exemplified in Reason To Cry which begins: "While walking to church one Sunday morning......." and tells of his envy of devotional church goers although he's quick to add that he has no great desire to join these worshippers.
There are plenty of things to enjoy but several fillers and missed shots too. The hokey and jokey country & western of Playing Guitars and Earnest T.Bass At Last Finds The Woman Of His Dreams are both tracks with a limited novelty value and are likely to be skipped after a few hearings.
By now, followers of White will know that his records will contain quirky material like this but fortunately there's always enough to compensate and, true to form, the good stuff outweighs the mediocre.
Jim White's website