High Five

Trixie Whitley on ‘Fourth Corner’

Trixie Whitley’s first high-profile gig was in the heady company of her collaborators in Black Dub. Super-producer Daniel Lanois (U2, Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan) handpicked Whitley to be the group’s main voice on its entrancing self-titled 2010 release. Whitley, daughter of the late singer-songwriter Chris, is now out touring for her full-length debut album, “Fourth Corner,” which shows off her stunningly soulful vocals and multi-instrumental prowess. In honor of its title we asked Whitley to share five elements that were the cornerstones of the songwriting on “Fourth Corner.”

1. Rhythm “I did a lot of writing with this very old analog drum machine. It’s the same one that Shuggie Otis and Sly Stone used in the late ’60s and early ’70s. I’m highly influenced by a lot of instrumental African music, so these analog drum machines have a blend of these really organic sounds which have much sexier grooves than modern drum machines.”

2. Melody/Harmony “That’s one major element that I learned so much from on the Black Dub musical journey because choral singing and harmony singing was a new thing to me.”


3. Arrangements “It’s such a big part of it; how something stands without any band backup and how it can be transformed in the studio. I still feel like I have so much learning to do.”

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4. Lyrics “I’m not interested in writing music the way it’s ‘supposed to be done.’ I like the idea of being abstract, but in the choruses having a message that is very direct.”

5. Authenticity “In the studio and live there are moments of self-consciousness and then there are moments of pure magic of being in the moment and I’ve really tried to convey that every time.”

Sarah Rodman

Trixie Whitley plays the Red Room at Cafe 939 on Saturday at 8 p.m. 617-747-6038,