Jim White gets around. When he’s not releasing his own critically acclaimed solo albums he splits time producing records for other songwriters, exhibiting his visual art in galleries and museums across the US and Europe and publishing award winning fiction.
His sixth solo studio album, the bizarrely titled Waffles, Triangles & Jesus, is a mind-bending joy ride of sonic influences featuring a bevy of his hometown Athens’ roots musicians, plus west coast indie darlings Dead Rock West, and rock and roll maverick Holly Golightly.
Prior to Waffles, Triangles & Jesus, White (born Mike Pratt) released five eclectic, totally uncategorizable albums plus another six even stranger side projects.
Numerous songs from his back catalog have appeared both in film and television, with his Primus-esque Word-Mule being featured in Breaking Bad, and more recently his cautionary rocker Crash Into The Sun appearing in Ray McKinnon’s highly praised Sundance Channel series Rectify.
UK fans may recognize White as the narrator and defacto tour guide for the award winning BBC documentary, Searching for the Wrong Eyed Jesus, a road movie set in the rural South, which the LA Times described as “Decidedly strange, delightfully demented.”
Prior to becoming a musician White led an aimless, diverse life, working countless menial labor jobs: dishwasher, landscaper, lifeguard, cook, surfboard laminator, road builder, culminating with thirteen long years driving a taxi cab in New York City.
White is presently at work completing a memoir, Incidental Contact, based on a series of uncanny coincidences that befell him during his days driving that taxi in New York City. Two chapters of Incidental Contact, The Bottom and Superwhite, have been published in the literary music journal Radio Silence, with Superwhite being awarded a Pushcart Prize.
White was a pro surfer. He served as literary commentator for the National Endowment of the Arts. He was a European fashion model. Samuel Beckett once played a practical joke on him. There’s lots more non linear information that doesn’t really fit the usual bio format. But that’s Jim—he gets around.
Grand Ole Echo
"THE STONED, STEELY SOUNDS OF '70S COUNTRY MUSIC LIVE ON IN ECHO PARK — ON SUNDAY AFTERNOONS, AT LEAST. BREEZY AND BOOZY VIBES ABOUND AT THE ECHO EVERY SUNDAY AFTERNOON FROM SPRING TO FALL AT GRAND OLE ECHO, AN OPEN-ENDED COUNTRY SHOWCASE THAT FEATURES ALL MANNER OF BUZZED OUTLAWS AND COUNTRY-FRIED SONGWRITERS BUT ZEROES IN ON THE HAZY DAYS OF WILLIE AND WAYLON AND RONSTADT. THE PARTY TAKES ADVANTAGE OF BOTH THE ECHO'S MAIN PERFORMANCE SPACE AND ITS SUNNY BACK PATIO, WHERE RAY'S BACK PATIO BBQ SERVES UP SLOW-ROASTED PORK ON A WHITE HAMBURGER BUN FOR $6 A POP. KIDS ARE WELCOME AND RUN FREE WITH JOYOUS ABANDON; HANDSOME YOUNG MEN AND WOMEN LOUNGE AROUND WITH CANS OF BUD; VINTAGE WESTERN SHIRTS AND COWBOY BOOTS HANG FOR SALE ON RACKS BY THE SIDE OF THE STAGE. IT'S THE MUSIC, THOUGH, THAT KEEPS FANS COMING BACK EVERY WEEK, WITH HOT-SHOT LOCAL ACTS SUCH AS COUNTRY-FRIED ROCKER ELIJAH OCEAN AND THE FLAWLESS BLUEGRASS HARMONIES OF DEAR LEMON TREES SHARING THE STAGE WITH TOURING AMERICANA ACTS. CAN'T-MISS SPECIAL TRIBUTES, LIKE THOSE DEDICATED TO MERLE HAGGARD AND TOWNES VAN ZANDT EARLIER THIS YEAR, BRING OUT SCORES OF L.A.'S FINEST ROOTS SINGERS AND MUSICIANS. IF YOU SQUINT HARD ENOUGH, YOU COULD MISTAKE THE WHOLE AFFAIR FOR A NASHVILLE HOUSE PARTY CIRCA 1978".- CHRIS KISSEL , LA WEEKLY
"That's just one example of the type of collaborations in store at the Grand Ole Echo, whose definition of Americana is much more wide-ranging and diverse than its Nashville namesake, booking everything from southern rock to psychedelic alt-country to bluegrass to old fashioned honkytonk." - Jonathan Bernstein, American Songwriter
The Echo Park crowd knock back longnecks and listen to bands that can include (former) local fixture, Mike Stinson,or former members of the Blasters. Members of Wilco, and The Black Crowes have been known to show up and even take the stage.” - Los Angeles Magazine
“Sunday afternoons, put a kick in God’s day with the Grand Ole Echo, a downhome celebration with three live bands plus and old-timey jam and bbq on the back patio.” - The Pasadena Weekly
Leo Rondeau deals in stories candid and honest and plainspoken. Based in Austin, Texas, his own story finds root in the Turtle Mountains of North Dakota, where Rondeau grew up surrounded by country music listeners and pickers spanning three generations. "It was always around me," he says.
This aspect of his adolescence bolstered an unwavering sense of self and place in his work that sets Rondeau apart from peer musicians. A child of the rural American west and owning family lineage within the Turtle Mountain band of the Chippewa Indian tribe, his own history and worldview are engrained in the lines of his songs. This is about a type of honesty that means more than simply telling the truth. It's a voice that either lives within you or does not.
Early on, Rondeau found and dug into such contemporary mainstream artists as Steve Earle and Dwight Yoakam, gleaning from them a penchant for up-tempo numbers geared toward the dance hall. But Leo Rondeau is a country dance band with a folk singer's heart. In the honkytonks of Austin and elsewhere you'll always find the dance floor in full swing, but you'll also find bar sitters turned on their stools watching the stage.
Rondeau is first and foremost a songwriter. As a boy, he took immediate interest in writing and has maintained a deep respect for studying one's own life through song. He calls himself a lifelong musician, and to hear him play will take the wind out of anyone who says otherwise. In his writing, Rondeau has been heavily influenced by the dolorous and at times bleak illustrations of Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers and Townes Van Zandt. His marked presence within the scenes of his stories is even reminiscent of early Tom Waits tunes in their somber appreciation of the darker realities of life.
The listener finds a departure from these influences, however, in Rondeau's trademark hopefulness. A steady appreciation of life in all its twinges and sorrows, victories and joys.
He remains a student of music for life. For Rondeau, playing is as much a necessary ritual as a creative pursuit or career. He can be found nearly every Thursday night at The White Horse when he is in Austin playing to old fans, and many other nights singing his stories in barrooms and dance halls throughout the country.
While country music is ostensibly known for wearing hearts on shirtsleeves, Rondeau is a musician for whom the man and the music are inextricable. A man singing under his breath as he walks down an empty street. A doleful sound on the wind and a pleasant harmony. To hear him say it on his album Take It and Break It: "Here's my heart. Do what you want."