Like J.J. Cale, White’s songs are generally more recognized in their cover version skins. “Rainy Night in Georgia” has practically become a standard through myriad interpretations by other artists. Hank Williams Jr. took it to the upper reaches of the country charts.
“I discovered Tony Joe White through Rory Gallagher’s cover of ‘As the Crow Flies,’” says Sardinas—whose own version appears on Big Motor [Favored Nations, 2008]. “He’s a great songwriter, and a great bluesman.”
White’s own most successful single was “Polk Salad Annie.” It came out in 1969—the same year as Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Born on the Bayou.” The swamp sound was suddenly big, and comparisons were easily drawn. The fact is that Tony Joe White was actually born in Goodwill, Louisiana, whereas CCR tunesmith John Fogerty had amazingly never visited the state when he came up with the mythological setting he first depicted on Bayou Country.
White is a living legend that is still going strong at the age of 64. He’s released a slew of recordings since the turn of the millennium, including Uncovered [Swamp, 2006], which cracked the Top 5 on Billboard’s Blues Albums chart, and featured contributions by Clapton, Knopfler, and Waylon Jennings. Visit to www.myspace.com/tonyjoewhite to hear tracks from his new CD Deep Cuts [Swamp, 2008]. White recasts a batch of his own classics in modern/retro fashion, and the guitar is low-down nasty.
Any guitar player who digs salty stories spun with undeniable authenticity over the vibey sounds of an old tube combo should make the effort to witness Tony Joe White in person on June 12 at the Café Du Nord. Bring your bad self out to the old speakeasy and pay the Southern bluesman some respect.
Guitar Player Presents
Tony Joe White
Plus Jesse Denatale
Thursday, June 12 at the Café Du Nord
2170 Market Street, San Francisco, CA
8:00pm doors, 9:00pm show
Free Guitar Player magz and D’Addario strings
GP editors will be present
For a chance to win a pair of tickets to the show, click HERE and put Tony Joe White in the subject of your email. Winner must provide own transportation to the Café Du Nord and have his or her own accommodations in the Bay Area on June 12.