Jim White Trio/ Nev Clay @ Cluny2 – Sun 12th June 2022
Born in California and raised in Pensacola USA, Jim White’s musical journey was turned 360 degrees around by being discovered by David Byrne of Talking Heads a few decades ago. As Jim humorously stated, – it was such a wonderful experience that I was totally unprepared for really, as all my songs at the time, sounded just like speeded up Talking Heads tunes with different words. That & his late 90’s documentary “The Wrong Eyed Jesus” firmly put Jim White’s name out on the left field/ alt country roots rock scene. Some even called him the father of Americana music. At the first leg of his long awaited UK tour @ Cluny2, Jim appeared as a trio promoting “Misfits Jubilee” his new record. Coming a full circle the band rocked out, in a very alt country way to ease into their two hour set. However the up to the minute tune “Divided States of America ” highlighting the weirdness of Trumps America & White’s stellar lyrics ” our core of decency gone/see how the neighbours look kind of wrong” really set the benchmark. Jim used all kinds of elements of rock n roll, pop, gospel country and even surf music in his tunes & as he entertained & also opened up about mental health issues and the isolation of the Covid lockdowns. Jim has a lot to say, but its always from the heart & totally inspirational. Another stand out & indeed a sing-along track was “Life’s A Stolen Picture” ” with the words “ I shook hands with Sasquatch and looked me straight in the eye – oh ha ha ooh ha ha “, a serious subject that had audience singing with the chorus. Jim’s only cover was a repayment to Talking Heads & a stunning & quite crazy version of their “Once In A Lifetime” He encored with three dark & brooding solo tunes putting the icing on a long & life affirming show. Geert Hellings on guitar and Nicholas Rombouts on bass supported Jim.
Nev Clay lit up the early Sunday night crowd with his lovely bittersweet songs and anecdotes. Nev settled the crowd right down with his easy going ways & stories. Playing unusually in the normal guitar tuning, songs like “Unreachable” never sounded so good. So too his tales about being visited by the artist Paula Rego in a London hospital (who sadly died this week) or simply having a herbal cigarette, or even waking up to watch “Walking with dinosaurs” on TV and thinking he was hallucinating! Two top class, quirky singer songwriters and tall story tellers – what more do you need on a Sunday night in Newcastle.