By Sandy Cohen
Third Man Records
(AP) Jack White’s first solo CD reflects the musical efforts that preceded it. There’s the snarly electric guitar he introduced with the White Stripes; the country sound he cultivated in Nashville with Loretta Lynn; and the rock energy he whipped up with The Raconteurs and Dead Weather.
“Blunderbuss” shows how far White has come since The White Stripes first sizzled ears in 1999. The sound here is richer and more layered, with piano or keyboard on every track, and even some fiddles and clarinet. White harmonizes with himself and stretches his voice to ever higher octaves, at times evoking Robert Plant. He explores various genres and stylings but sticks to familiar themes of betrayal, love and loneliness. “Love Interruption,” though musically gentle, stabs with its lyrics: “I want love to grab my fingers gently, slam them in a doorway and put my face into the ground.”
White’s not all blue. The bouncy “Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy” features happy piano and mandolin, while “On and On and On” is an ethereal musing on life’s direction.
“Blunderbuss” isn’t hard rock, but the blues-infused evolution of its author.