Grammy Award winner John Paul White is premiering the lead track from his forthcoming solo album The Hurting Kind (out April 12 via Single Lock Records), “The Good Old Days,” via American Songwriter. Listen to the track here and share it here.
“This song came out of nowhere. The title of the song was born of a conversation with my wife, Jenny,” explains White. “We were reminiscing about harder times in the past, moments where we struggled to get by. I said derisively, ‘Ah, the good old days.’ And we both thought, why do people say that? The last thing I’d want to do is go back and relive it. These are the good days. The best, I’d like to believe, are yet to come.”
White goes on, “I knew immediately there was a song there begging to be written. We’re surrounded in our state by folks that wish things would go back to ‘the way it used to be.’ Like, what era? The Cold War? Pre-Civil rights? Pre-women being able to vote? In my opinion, more people have equal footing now than they ever did, and we have a LONG way to go. So wishing to go back in time is something I’m not interested in at all. I’d rather focus on doing what I can to make the future an even better existence for as many people possible, regardless of race, sex, creed or religion.
“So as much as I wasn’t actively looking to write a song like this, it had to be written. Far be it for me to second-guess the Muse when she comes along.”
White is also set to kick off the east coast leg of his U.S. tour on April 12 with a record release show in his hometown of Florence, AL, making stops at New York’s famed Bowery Ballroom, Washington, DC’s Union Stage, Boston’s Once and more. While recently testing out the new material on the road for the first time, White’s live performance received extensive critical acclaim with Glide Magazine noting that “the 90-minute set left the audience shouting for more” and Americana Highways raving that “this is going to be one of those reviews that I won’t be able to capture and convey just how good it was…it truly was a special evening, one that bordered on magical.” See below for a list of dates; additional North American performances to come. Purchase tickets here, and The Hurting Kind is available for pre-order here.
The Hurting Kind is already receiving extensive critical acclaim in anticipation of its release:
“[‘The Long Way Home’] is a magnificent tearjerker…White introduced the song with a boast any artistically inclined parent will understand: ‘I want to do a song for you now that I’m really happy to say makes my kids cry.’ But ‘The Long Way Home’ taps into greater universal truths than that, capturing the way even our most ambitious pursuits can feel like a mere stepping stone to the comfort of the everyday.”—NPR Music
“[‘My Dreams Have All Come True’ is] a lushly arranged waltz…the tremolo guitar and sweeping strings pack plenty of punch, but it’s White’s top-shelf voice—particularly his high nbotes during the chorus—that delivers the knockout blow.”—Rolling Stone
“‘The Long Way Home’ finds White doing what he’s always done best: make roots music that draws a line between melody and melancholy.—Rolling Stone Country
“The triumphant lead single called ‘The Long Way Home’ honors the classic country icons that came before White as he chronicles a journey back to a loved one.”—Paste
“[‘The Long Way Home’] finds White…bolstered by acoustic guitar and a rich, epic vocal line.”—The Boot
Leading up to the sessions for The Hurting Kind, White was inspired by artists like Jim Reeves, Patsy Cline, Roy Orbison, Chet Atkins and Bill Porter. Drawing on these timeless influences, White sought out classic writers like Whisperin’ Bill Anderson and Bobby Braddock to collaborate with. “Coming out of each and every one of these situations, I got a resounding thumbs-up that I was on that right track,” says White of the collaborations. “I didn’t need anybody else’s approval after that.”
The Hurting Kind was recorded at Sun Drop Sound, White’s new home studio that he converted from an old, turn-of-the-century home in the historic district of Florence, AL, and at legendary FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL. The record was co-produced with Ben Tanner (Alabama Shakes) and features additional contributions from a core group of musicians including Jon Radford (Leigh Nash, Odessa) and Reed Watson on drums, Pat Bergeson (Chet Atkins, Emmylou Harris) on electric guitar, Jon Estes (Robyn Hitchcock, Kesha) and David Hood (Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section) on bass and Lillie Mae (Jack White) on fiddle, plus guest vocals from Lee Ann Womack and background vocals from Erin Rae and The Secret Sisters.
With The Hurting Kind, White draws on the lush, orchestrated music made in Nashville in the early 1960s, writing about overwhelming love, unraveling relationships and the fading memory of a loved one.
“I approached this album differently on the songwriting side before I ever got into the studio,” says White. “I really wanted there to be a torch song quality to it, the classic timeless quality. To not be afraid of the big note, and not be afraid of the drama.”
White grew up in tiny Loretto, Tennessee, and now lives in Florence, Alabama, not far from Muscle Shoals. He has cultivated his career in Nashville for two decades, first as a songwriter for a major publisher, then as half of The Civil Wars—a groundbreaking duo that won four Grammy Awards before disbanding in 2012. White’s collaborations include contributions to recordings by Rodney Crowell, Hiss Golden Messenger, Rosanne Cash, Jason Isbell, Candi Staton and Emmylou Harris, and production work with Lera Lynn, Lindi Ortega, Dylan LeBlanc, Penny & Sparrow and Donnie Fritts’ Oh My Goodness, which also marked White’s debut as a producer. White is also a partner in Single Lock Records, an independent record label based in Florence, Alabama.
In 2016, White released Beulah to widespread critical acclaim with Rolling Stone praising, “the strength of White’s songwriting lies in the masterful balance he strikes between character and confession.” The Hurting Kind is White’s third solo album.
JOHN PAUL WHITE—THE HURTING KIND
1. The Good Old Days
2. I Wish I Could Write You a Song
3. Heart Like a Kite
4. Yesterday’s Love
5. The Long Way Home
6. The Hurting Kind
7. This Isn’t Gonna End Well (featuring Lee Ann Womack)
8. You Lost Me
10. My Dreams Have All Come True
JOHN PAUL WHITE LIVE
April 12 Florence, AL Shoals Community Theatre
April 14 Tallahassee, FL Word of South Festival
April 17 Chattanooga, TN Songbirds North
April 18 Athens, GA The Foundry
April 19 Charleston, SC Charleston Music Hall
April 28 Huntsville, AL Panoply Arts Festival
May 3 Asheville, NC Ambrose West
May 4 Durham, NC Motorco
May 5 Norfolk, VA Goode Theatre
May 6 Richmond, VA The Camel
May 8 Washington, DC Union Stage
May 9 Annapolis, MD Ram’s Head
May 10 Ardmore, PA Ardmore Music Hall
May 11 New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
May 13 Boston, MA Once
May 15 Pittsburgh, PA Thunderbird Music Hall
May 16 Louisville, KY Headliners Music Hall
May 17 Atlanta, GA Terminal West
May 18 Birmingham, AL Lyric Theatre
May 25 Martinsville, OH Nowhere Else Festival
June 1 Nashville, TN Grand Ole Opry