Half Swiss, half Barbadian William White arrived in the German part of Switzerland 20 years ago to study at university. But thanks to the mix of Bob Marley, Dionne Warwick, Nashville and country ballads that formed his musical DNA, engineering got the elbow for song-writing and playing his guitar in bars and bands instead. Celebrating ten years as a solo Swiss recording artist, William White spoils us with his 4th studio album, “Open Country”, a double CD featuring ten new studio tracks recorded in Jamaica last year, plus a live album recorded at Das Welt Winterthur in 2012.
A star-studded production
Compared to his previous albums constructed in solo mode, this is a star-studded production featuring the imput of Devon Bradshaw (former Burning Spear bassist) and Ian Coleman (Ziggy Marley guitarist), not to mention the distinctive legendary voices of Bushman and Toots & The Maytals. It’s a colourful and varied collaboration which hints appropriately at the title. “Open Country”: an invitation for White’s work to be interpreted and moulded by others, paying homage to his Caribbean roots and above all tipping his hat in the direction of free spiritedness, the love of nature, the wild and the organic backyard setting of the simple life.
The sound is refreshingly pure and authentic
Hugely radio-friendly, there are welcome country, folk and pop nuances that are woven throughout the reggae textures. The occasional syrupy moments (the new single ‘For Your Love’) are well contrasted with forceful, emotionally charged protest songs where White’s vocal ability is always convincing and sensitive (as in ‘Power Reggae’ or in the Marley cover of ‘Caution’). In keeping with all good reggae albums, the production is unfussy and organic, the sound is refreshingly pure and authentic. An album that exudes sunny joyfulness and the clear euphoria of mixed cultures. Listen barefoot, preferably with the sun on your back whilst planting something fabulous in your garden, (“Money for the strong man and the earth for the wise”). The album is out on 7th March 2014, launched live at Les Docks (Lausanne). A tour throughout Switzerland till April follows.
Forthcoming William White gigs:
7/03/14: Les Docks, Lausanne
8/03/14: Chollerhalle, Zug
13/03/14: Rete 3, Studio 2, Lugano
14/03/14: Rössli, Stäfa
15/03/14: Casino Theater, Winterthur
28/03/14: Hotel Murten, Murten
29/03/14: TonArt Festival, Altdorf
03/04/14: Kofmehl, Solothurn
04/04/14: Schüür, Luzern
05/04/14: Eintracht, Kirchberg
25/04/14: Nordportal, Baden
26/04/14: Mühle Hunziken, Bern