Tony Joe White
Sunday 24 March 2013
With a career now spanning close to six decades, the unmistakable voice of Tony Joe White,the part-Cherokee and self-styled 'Swamp Fox, comes straight out of the Louisiana bayou via the Southern honky tonk. Composer of songs performed by such icons as Elvis Presley, Etta James, Tom Jones, Tina Turner, Roy Orbison and Dusty Springfield, his own recording career now runs some twenty albums deep, including collaborations with some of rock 'n' roll and country music's biggest names. His breakthrough single, 1969's 'Polk Salad Annie', which introduced the world to his patented brand of 'swampy country soul' and became a world-wide hit. He is perhaps best known for penning the timeless standard 'Rainy Night In Georgia', but his lesser known songs are equally as affecting and worthy of attention.
This century has seen a critical re-evaluation of White's work, accompanied by his acclaimed album of duets with country superstars (Heroines) including Emmy Lou Harris, Lucinda Williams and Shelby Lynne. His most recent album, 2010's The Shine has no super-star guests, only White on harmonica, guitar and vocals, bassist George Hawkins, drummer “Swamp Man” Jack Bruno, Tyson Rogers on keyboards and John Catchings on cello. Of the songs themselves, White says they just 'hit me every day and every night' and compelled him back to the studio once more.
Joining Tony Joe White is acclaimed singer-songwriter and novelist Simone Felice (the 'e' in Simone is silent). Formerly the drummer of 'Catskill Mountain troubadours' The Felice Brothers, Simone's relative youth belies a long and prolific career and more brushes with mortality than are recommended. His latest self-titled album features members of Mumford and Sons and various Felices and is an attempt by him to get back to a "place of wonder and purity".