A Bittersweet Homecoming for Jason White
Jason White is returning home. The road from Nashville back to Cleveland will now and forever be bittersweet for the former University School graduate who followed the path of hope and dreams as a singer/songwriter. In a span of a year, White lost both his father Keith in March of 2012 and mother Leatrice just this past February. Although it’s always an event when Jason comes home to do a show, his recent gig at the intimate Nighttown was a little bit special.
For those not familiar with Jason White, ask the usual suspects of the local music scene about his former local band The Janglers. You will indeed get a smile and eyes popping wide open from those who will reminisce attending the old haunts where rock ‘n roll flowed out the doors into the night air from 1986 through 1993. Their original tunes had dashes of The Band, The Allman Brothers, and New Orleans swamp boogie incorporated with the pop hooks and choruses of White’s lyrics.
White and fellow Jangler band mate Jack Silverman, who still plays with Jason on occasion when not working his day job as Managing Editor of Nashville Scene, headed south to Music City. A collection of songs became Shades of Gray released in 2001 that catapulted White into notoriety with a song titled “Red Ragtop” which eventually was recorded into a big hit by Tim McGraw. Other songs from the debut including “At The Alibi” and “Ghost of Thoreau” continue to get radio airplay and have become concert staples.
White’s follow-up effort Tonight’s Top Story continued to infuse an Elvis Costello/Marshall Crenshaw wit with his storytelling lyrics melded into a toe-tapping pop song. From the sophomore release, “Slow News Day”, “Young American Dreamer”, “Fat City Saturday Night”, “Trust Fund Junkie”, and “Woman of the World” sound as fresh today as they did in 2004. Six long years passed for Jason White, including going through a divorce, until his third and last record The Longing recorded in 2010.
Taking a different course, White set out to make a record for the ladies after joking constantly with his producer/bassist Viktor Krauss that the last two efforts were “guy rock”. A softer, gentler White continued to paint a picture on songs like “For The Freeway Home”, “Waitress”, and “The Power of Denial”.
When not spending time on his own projects, Jason White uses his music to make the world a better place than when he arrived. He has been involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, having his “Little Pieces of Plastic” chosen as one of the ninety-nine songs appearing on the Occupy This Album released in 2012. White has toured with a group of musicians representing Freedom Sings, a non-profit featuring music that has been banned, censored or has sounded a call for social change. Locally, Jason has performed benefits for the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to preserving land in northern Ohio.
White has just completed a two CD compilation packed with 19 selections called Portraits that includes a new song “Ordinary Day” and the Occupy Wall Street track. For those of you not familiar with this talented singer/songwriter, I recommend you look for his new record and keep Jason on your radar in case he happens to play near by. Then, you’ll finally discover what the locals in Cleveland and Nashville have embraced … a talented showman and writer.