Friday, February 11, 2011

Tony Joe White

Tony Joe White has accomplished much in the years since he emerged from his home in
Louisiana’s swamp country and the hardscrabble circuit of Texas honky-tonks. His music is
part of America’s soundtrack – sparse and elegant, filled with shadows, sadness and beauty.
Nobody else writes songs like these – songs that evoke both the mysteries of the place were
he was raised and the spirits that haunt us all in our most private, lonely moments.
Nobody sings them like White either. That dark baritone, scarred and sweet, brings these
songs to life like none other. Even so, others have memorably interpreted his songs, from
Brook Benton’s unforgettable take on “Rainy Night in Georgia” in 1970 to Tina Turner’s
intensely soulful rendition of “Steamy Windows.” Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, Roy Orbison,
Dusty Springfield, Etta James – iconic artists in their own right have honored “the Swamp
Fox” by cutting his tunes. Others have joined White, with Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler,
Michael McDonald, Waylon Jennings, Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams and Shelby Lynne
among those who have paid tribute as guests on recent, theme-oriented projects such TheHeroines and Uncovered..

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