Third Man & Jack White

I do my best not to fan-girl. I really do. But occasionally it happens. So if you hate that sort of thing, please turn away now.

Every now and then, I find an artist (or in this case, a whole label) that their sound and aesthetic fit me in that point in my life so perfectly that I gobble up everything they offer shamelessly.

And right now, that thing is Jack White and his label Third Man Records.

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I fell for Jack White’s music when I got turned onto The White Stripes. (My favorite songs by them will always be “Hello Operator,” and “I Fought Piranhas.”) I loved their stripped-down, gut-busting sound. They were fearless, and they had their shit together. You could tell they were more than a band. They were a business. A look. A feel. And I could respect that.

After Jack and Meg called it quits, I latched onto The Raconteurs. “Broken Boy Soldiers” was played on repeat while I was in high school. (In retrospect, I was a lot cooler than I realized.)

In 2008 they released their second album, Consolers of the Lonely, and while I missed it that year, I’ve been picking up on it in the last few (thanks in part to Spotify/Pandora) and the sound is so solid that it doesn’t age.

As of right now, the title track and The Switch and the Spur are my favorites. I’m a sucker for horn sections and sweeping instrumental riffs, and “The Switch and the Spur” fills that addiction for me.

As mentioned, Pandora and Spotify were playing a lot of Jack White’s music, and whenever I’d hear it, I had the same, “Who is that,” feeling. As soon as I saw the name, I knew this was something I needed to dig into deeper.

So when Jack released Blunderbuss, you can bet I was all over it. The blue and black artwork really lent a wash to his sound that made it unforgettable.

Freedom at 21” was my biggest takeaway from the album, and I’m not going to lie: it’s in part to the music video. Hype Williams directed it, and the imagery doesn’t let go. At 1:36 in the video, White does some unusual hand motions that add a sparkle of character, where he is otherwise rather enigmatic.

Thanks to my addiction to Blunderbuss, when I visited Nashville, I was OBSESSED with the idea of visiting Third Man.

For my first go-round, embarrassingly, I only bought some shirts.

After leaving, though, and the release of Lazaretto, I made lists. And I went back prepared.

The night before Brandon and I’s wedding, the Third Man Records truck was outside of Shake It Records on Hamilton Avenue. Turns out, Olivia Jean was playing an in-store due to the release of her record, Bathtub Love Killings.

Cassie and I abruptly pulled a giant u-turn and ran back to the truck. I snatched up Lazaretto on vinyl (Cassie bought it for me – she’s a hell of a sugar mama), and three days later, Brandon and I trucked it to Nashville, where I dropped a pretty penny and bought Bathtub Love Killings, The Ghost Who Walks, The Black Belles and a few 7″ vinyls (including Elvira!!)

Let’s just say that when it comes to Third Man’s sound there’s a common thread. While White does a great job of distinguishing artists and drawing new attention to long-forgotten influences, there’s a timbre that ties them all together. Most of the artists sound like they could’ve been big 20-50 years ago. There’s blues/roots, garage rock, surf rock and folk. Everyone has an air of “cool.” This is definitely a label that seems to be a club.

The reason I so eagerly grabbed Olivia Jean’s album is quite simple: it’s amazing. “Reminisce” is a good indicator of if it’s your type of sound. As for Karen Elson, “The Ghost Who Walks,” is mesmerizing, haunting and kinda gothic. And I love it.

As I’m sure you’ve heard if you’ve done any research into the Third Man into the storefront, it’s pretty fucking whimsical – it’s packed with character. The walls are yellow and black and there’s everything from taxidermy to instant recordings and analog listening booths. It was recently expanded, so it’s no longer the size of a shoebox, and I’m pretty excited to see it again.

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I won’t be dumb enough to liken Jack White to “Willy Wonka,” as others have (cough cough). But I will say that his aesthetic is like his fingerprint, and at this point in my life, it’s something I’m drawn to. I love the effort he puts into every piece of music and project he touches. Even if I don’t connect with him as an individual, I can deeply appreciate what he’s given me as an artist.

His appreciation for detail, and the desire to make music an experience is something that I think it’s time for again. The art of music has come back around.

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The Wedding War

Brandon and I agonized over the music selections for our wedding for MONTHS. We got married in October, so we knew that would have some effect on the music, as it was a large influence on the decorations. But the playlist was seriously the hardest part of the entire planning process. We have very different musical tastes, and the things he found exciting and humorous, I found tacky. The things I found kitschy and fun, he found annoying. A war was waged.

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FINALLY – we sucked it up and made a pretty interesting playlist. For which the DJ promptly ignored in lieu of playing SHITTY country music. We’ve since decided that if that’s the worst thing that happened on our wedding day, we’re pretty damned lucky. But you can’t blame a couple for trying. So, here, in all of it’s glory, is our INTENDED wedding playlist. (Grenades and gatling guns aside.)

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1. Left Hand Free – Alt J
2. XO – Beyonce
3. Around My Head – Cage the Elephant (The part where lead singer Matt says, “Can ya dig it” is my friend Jesse’s favorite lyric to emphasize when scream-singing along.)
4. Stay Alive – Jose Gonzalez (This was our reception entrance song.) This song was also featured in the movie, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” which Brandon and I found enchanting. We always think of Ben Stiller longboarding through Iceland when we hear this.
5. Black or White – Michael Jackson
6. Santa Monica  – Everclear
7. Stand By Me – Ben E. King (Mother/groom dance.)
8. Fell In Love With A Girl – The White Stripes (We liken aspects of our relationship to the one in Silver Linings Playbook. We already loved The White Stripes, but now this song took on a different meaning.)
9. Midnight Rider – The Allman Brothers Band (I do my best to not think of the time this song was featured in The Devils Rejects. *shudder)
10. Love Potion No. 9 – The Clovers
11. Cupid – Sam Cooke
12. Crossroads – Cream (My dad was obsessed with this song when I was growing up. It played on the stereo quite a bit.)
13. Blueberry Hill – Fats Domino
14. L.A. Woman – The Doors (Mr. Mojo Risin’ is my favorite part to chant over and over. My dad used to chant it as he worked in his garage.)
15. Cool Kids – Echosmith (I heard this song for the first time while I was in Drifters in Nashville visiting Jesse a few years ago. I brought it back home with me.)
16. Danger! High Voltage – Electric Six
17. Don’t Stop – Fleetwood Mac
18. All These Things That I’ve Done – The Killers (Cassie and I belt this song together. She was my Maid of Honor, so this was dedicated to her.)
19. Anna Sun – Walk The Moon (Brandon and I have fantasies of being able to do the dance in this video. It still hasn’t happened.)
20. Heavy Bells – J Roddy Walston And The Business
21. The Passenger – Iggy Pop
22. Dancing On My Own – Robyn (I used to work at Torrid, and this song played all the time. I learned to love it through osmosis.)
23. Jumpin’ Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones (The phrase, “I was born in a crossfire hurricane,” was sang a lot as I was a kid.)
24. Sloppy Seconds – Watsky (The opening line made me leery, but Watsky is such a talent that we couldn’t skip him.)
25. Wagon Wheel – Old Crow Medicine Show
26. My Generation – The Who
27. Werewolves of London – Warren Zevon
28. Always Alright – Alabama Shakes (Recessional song.)
29. The Man In Me – Bob Dylan (The Big Lebowski, anyone?)
30. Runaway Baby – Bruno Mars
31. Where the Wind Blows – Coco O.
32. A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got) – Fergie, Q-Tip, GoonRock
33. Mae – The Gaslight Anthem (Processional song.)
34. You Are My Sunshine – Johnny Cash (Father/bride dance.) (I bawled like a baby when I listened to this, and I knew my dad and I had to dance to it.)
35. The Ghost Who Walks – Karen Elson (Jack White’s ex-wife is quite the talent. Another Third Man Records find.)
36. West Coast – Lana Del Rey
37. Call It What You Will – Larry and His Flask
38. I Am Not Willing – Moby Grape
39. I Love You More Than Words Can Say – Otis Redding (First dance song.)
40. Booty Swing – Parov Stelar
41. Rye Whiskey – Punch Brothers
42. Let Go – RAC, Kele, MNDR (Jarrett, who was my Man of Honor, introduced us to this song, and we couldn’t forget it.)
43. In the Jailhouse Now – The Soggy Bottom Boys (When we’re alone, Brandon sings this song. He does quite a good job.)
44. Atlantic City – The Band
45. Down in Mexico – The Coasters (Death Proof solidified this song for us.)
46. Nothing But a Heartache – The Flirtations
47. Bang Bang – will.i.am
48. Hello Operator – The White Stripes
49. When She Begins – Social Distortion
50. Ohio – The Black Keys
51. Just Got Paid – ZZ Top
52. All About That Bass – Meghan Trainor
53. Would You Fight For My Love? – Jack White
54. Fire – Jimi Hendrix
55. Gold and Warm – Bad Veins
56. On My Mind – New Found Glory
57. Harry Potter Soundtrack (Seating music before ceremony.) (We got more compliments on this choice than anything else on this playlist.Everyone LOVED hearing this when they entered the venue.)