He has been a White Stripe, a Raconteur, and a Dead Weather-man and now he is finally, simply, Jack White. Of course, all of those groups serve as a preamble to “Blunderbuss,” out today, each informing the 13 reeling and rocking tracks.
An analog man in a digital world, White supplies a “trip through the past” quality to “Blunderbuss” — as there has been with most of his output.
But, with the help of an able cadre of fiddlers, drummers, mandolin and pedal steel players, and even a clarinetist, White continues to prove he is an ardent and gifted history student who is mindful of melody and craft regardless of the production trappings.
Whether it’s the slashing chords of the urgent garage rocker “Sixteen Saltines” or the old-timey saloon piano of “Hypocritical Kiss” or the loose-limbed boogie of the Little Willie John cover “I’m Shakin’ ” — in which he comically intones that he is “noi-vous” in the face of a crush — White is true to his inspirations.
The album is also brimming with fabulously skewed turns of phrase that make sense from different angles, as White’s protagonists wrestle with what it means to be alternately besotted and gutted.
When a lover tells of being unable to “live without you” on “Missing Pieces,” it turns out to be a literal proposition as a swampy organ provides a soundtrack to the disappearance of self in the face of loss. And White achieves both grandiosity and intimacy on the gorgeously woozy waltz-time title track. (Out Tuesday)