White’s seventh album , Rhythm of the Rain , due out January 25, 2019, is a volume of ruminations and short stories written largely during a tour in the U.K. in 2016. There, at a distance and with a sense of helplessness, she watched America’s political system and her values attacked from within. Then the project was recorded by East Nashville sonic maestro Dave Coleman (The Coal Men) in an emotionally wrenching four days between White losing her mother and marrying her partner. Roots music is a journal of love and loss, and Rhythm of the Rain couldn’t be a more potent dispatch.
“As a songwriter, I feel obliged to tell the stories that are coming through in the air to me in my world whether it’s personal or political or both. That can be hard,” White says. “ The antenna is always on. Man, you’ve got to feel a lot. It’s a heavy load sometimes.”
She’s shared shows with the likes of Brandy Clark, Asleep at the Wheel, John Prine , and Justin Townes Earle , as well as performed for a handful of folks in unknown cafes. “There was a point in my career where I realized you have to go out and knock on doors with your songs,” she allows. “They need to be sung for people and that means a relentless tour schedule. If I were a trucker I’d be rich.”
The 12-song collection opens with a sunny snap of drums and a slurry steel-like guitar figure, in keeping with the electric punch that’s always been a key part of White’s sound. Then “ Little Cloud Over Little Rock ” zooms in on a scene in a bar in Middle America, where White lets telling