I slip on the CD to get in the mood to write a setup for the interview, and am blown away anew by Joy's sound. That hussy just sings her ass off. Sometimes when you're friendly with a given artist, some of their greatness will wear off, or you'll become numb to it. But when this particular Arkansas redhead throws her head back and opens her mouth, you get it, all right. She hits you with that molasses slow vibrato and pulls you right in.
Joy Lynn White's a classic character, mouth like a sailor and just as salty as you please. But you never have to wonder where you stand with her, because she already told you. She is a lover of all animals, but when it comes to human beings she does not suffer fools gladly. As a friend, she's loyal, and outspoken in your behalf.
Some of her close relationships come to great fruition on this record, One More Time. Duane Jarvis and Joy go way back, and their co-writes here, "Girls With Apartments in Nashville" and "Love Sometimes," ring deep and true, also because Duane is playing some badass guitar. Another partner of Joy's, the great Amy Rigby, shares the title tune, and the sirens regularly back each other up on record to great effect.
The artist dips into the songbook of the Mighty King of Love, Phil Lee, for the disarming jewel, "Just Some Girl." But it might all come to much less without the enlightened sound that producer Kyle Lehning brings to this record, because it's what sets it apart from the rest of the pack. The producer is also the label, in this case, because they decided not to leave it to others to get it where it's going. And it's currently #6 on the Americana chart, which has gotten more crowded with household names than one might think. Check it out at www.americanaradio.org/ama/
Joy caused a stir and got off to a good start in Nashville when she first appeared in the early 90s, or just before. She recorded two acclaimed albums for Columbia, and 1997's One of the Lucky Few on Pete Anderson's Little Dog Records went to #1 on the Americana Chart. But that didn't get capitalized on with tour support at the time, and became a sore subject in years to come. More significantly, a tragic death in the family ground things to a halt on the career front in the new millennium for some time. It was ironic that the team she put together to produce her SONY records (Blake Chancey and Paul Worley) later used two songs off those records to help launch The Dixie Chicks, "Cold Day in July" and "Tonight the Heartache's On Me," the latter a hit single.
The artist nonetheless appeared on many records that established the Americana and Roots Music standard. She is regularly honored by peers like Lucinda Williams, Buddy Miller, Iris DeMent, Kim Richey and many others, and asked to tour or record with them. She also played the lead role of Mother Maybelle Carter in a lauded and long-running theater production called Keep On the Sunny Side: the Songs and Story of the Carter Family.
So it's exciting to see Joy Lynn White out with a new record, and steadily climbing the charts again. She is one of the greatest Country singers out there, and a real original. She came by our studio a couple of weeks ago for a fun conversation, and we share it with you here.
Be sure to check out the clips afterward on the Listen page, and buy a copy of One More Time. continue to interview