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Jim White - Transnormal Skiperoo
(Luaka Bop)
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Dec. 11, 2007
Jim White

Review by Tony Bonyata

Despite the insipid title, singer/songwriter Jim White's fourth full-length album, Transnormal Skiperoo, is a smart collection of modern Americana folk songs that traverses the many highways, byways and underbelly of the South where he grew up. In his defense, White claims that he invented the title to describe a new feeling of jubilation he just started experiencing after years of feeling lost, alone and cursed. "Now, when everything around me begins to shine," White confessed, "when I find myself dancing around in my back yard for no particular reason other than it feels good to be alive, when I get this deep sense of gratitude that I don't need drugs or God or doomed romance to fuel myself through the gauntlet of a normal day, I call that feeling Transnormal Skiperoo." And as silly as the title might sound, we've got to cut him a little slack for not only his positive outlook and attitude, but also for a creating a record that could, arguably, be the strongest of his career.

Raised in Pensacola, FL and having dabbled in occupations and recreations as widespread as fashion model, photographer, filmmaker, pro-surfer, New York taxi driver and drifter, White infuses much of his varied past into his music - if only indirectly. While much of the haunting compositions on Transnormal Skiperoo would point more towards his days as a drifter, there are a number of songs that reflect his newfound joy. The sweet acoustic opener "A Town Called Amen" deals with White's acceptance of growing old and settling in, while "Pieces of Heaven" is more of a love letter to his two daughters.

Of course there are still numbers that are plagued by many of White's old demons, such as the Southern Gothic ballad "Jailbird," which he originally wrote at a time when he used to run from his problems, as well as the sprightly alt-country pop of "Blindly We Go, " where he raises doubts about religious zealots claiming to have spoken with God, and his spit-shined, country-honk homage to misfits "Turquoise House." And while "Crash Into The Sun" may be politically-charged lyrically, musically it's an upbeat anthem that incorporates horns along with an enthusiastic R&B swagger.

They say that pain and suffering often results in the best work from artists, but Jim White has just proven that joy, happiness and gratitude can also reaped similar results.

Watch Jim White's - Transnormal Skiperoo short documentary

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