Americana icon Jim White has a handful of first-rate albums to his credit and Georgia collective The Packway Handle Band looked to tap into his expertise when they approached White about producing an album for them. White took things a step further by presenting the band with a stash of bluegrass tunes and they decided to collaborate on the project.
“(White) directed the concept,” Packway fiddle player Andrew Heaton explains. “He went through our songs, and with some needed frankness, told us which ones he thought would and would not work. And after he provided us with 20 (songs) of his, we told him which ones we were going to do. So he had the majority of the say on our numbers and we had the majority of the say on his.”
Things come together swimmingly on an 11-track release that alternates between songs written by White and The Packway Handle Band, with rollicking keeper “Corn Pone Refugee” the lone co-write. There isn’t a misfire to be found on “Take It Like a Man,” but pay extra attention to standouts “Smack Dab in a Big Tornado,” “Jim 3:16,” “Gravity Won’t Fail,” “Paranormal Girlfriend,” “Blood on the Fiddle, Blood on the Bow” and “Sinner!” Enjoy, y’all. (Jeffrey Sisk)