On the Detour
After the release his 2nd solo album,' On the Detour' Paul White, Australian singer, songwriter, guitarist has notched up no less than five major songwriting awards. His most recent being 1st place in the acoustic section of the 2005 Australian Songwriters Association for the title track 'On the Detour'. It has been 10 years since Paul released his award winning debut album, 'Good Company'. In that time he has recorded 2 CDs with Pink and White Bridge, winning much critical acclaim and supporting the likes of Joshua Kaddison, Chris Isaak and Billy Joel. After three 1st Prize winning entries for the WARMIA Song Contests from the 'Good Company' album, 'On the Detour' again looks set to catch the attention of the discerning adult contemporary market. All with the solid backbeat of Paul's acoustic guitar, these songs generate a rich harmonic groove with the Blues being a strong but not necessarily dominant influence. There are three instrumentals, two beautifully crafted tunes for two guitars in 'Little Wonder' and 'Cryptic Theme' and a deliberate step back in time to 'Deja Vu'. The general mood of the album is typified by 'Go Easy', a lazy cruisy number, it's sweetness touched with enough angst to keep the listener more than interested. 'Womanhood' is a flirtation with a Latin groove, while the light hearted Blues comes into being with 'Come Morning', 'You Tonight', and 'Still Like Summertime Blues', then 'Cloudstreet' will come along and knock you over with it's simply eerie harmonic power. All up this album reflects a freedom of writing and a deliberate attempt to record easy to listen to acoustic music from one of Australia's best kept songwriting secrets, Paul White. Please enjoy. Reviews Groove Magazine 'The Long and Winding Ode' by Sylvester Fox page 31 Vol 1 Paul White, winner of many songwriting awards over the years for his numerous cassette and CD releases delivers his best yet. When he writes about the true passions in his life Mr White truly shines. 'Little Wonder' is a beautiful lilting acoustic guitar instrumental, opening the album with such breathtaking textures that one hopes that track 2 will not destroy the vibe. Luckily 'Cloudstreet' matches that intensity with a 'moaning, stirring feeling' and a set of lyrics and vocal harmonies to die for. 'Womanhood', his ode to his loved one continues the belief systems of sweetness and light and features some tasty Santana-esque guitar. The title track 'On the Detour' makes use of an infectious bassline and sparse percussion to dramatic ends. 'Go Easy' is pure California with country harmonica and electric slide and it's message to just relax. Two other instrumentals 'Deja Vu' and 'Cryptic Theme' reinforce the heartfelt nature of this album. It's only when Paul stoops to conquer with sarcasm and vitriol in ' You Tonight' and Still Like the Summertime Blues' that things come unstuck. Hope this collection of songs sees the light of a national distributors day soon. Nova Magazine WA Edition November 2003 Vol 10 No 9 Review by Phil Bennett Best known for his work with Pink and White Bridge, local veteran Paul White's new solo release has turned out just fine. A lovely album of simple uncluttered songs, performed with commitment and prowess, it is marked by soulful vocals and a strong ear for laying down a song. Very much a homegrown product, the feel is always human and White seems totally at ease grafting together the layers of musical overdubs and vocal harmonies. His vocal directness which has more than a touch of the country blues shouter in it meshes particularly well with his bluesy jazz inflected guitar runs, especially on the groove driven numbers, like 'You Tonight' and 'Still like the Summertime Blues'. On the title track, the guitar textures take on a different role, creating a desolate highway of sound for the words to amble over, while 'Come Morning' adds a dash of CSN&Y harmonies to a toe tapping acoustic blues fell courtesy of Anthony Bridge and Craig Pinkney. The sleeve credits indicate that White plays all the instruments on most tracks - drums, bass guitars, organ, mouth organ - which in itself, is no mean feat, but the classy understated manner in which they're played is really quite extraordinary. Particularly on the three marvellous instrumentals, 'Little Wonder', 'Deja Vu' and 'Cryptic Theme'. The fact that Paul White is a local W.A boy is an added bonus because listeners also have the opportunity to catch him performing the songs live. Nice one. CD REVIEW PAUL WHITE: On The Detour Independent Release It's amazing how much great talent we have here at the ASA. Paul White is a case in point. Paul won the ASA 2005 "Acoustic/ Folk" category with his hauntingly beautiful composition, "On The Detour", but as good as this song is, it is only a small part of his much larger body of work, including his latest album of the same name, "On The Detour". Paul has been on the music scene for quite a few years now, but "On The Detour" is only his second solo album. His debut album "Good Company" was released way back in 1990. His intervening CD releases have been in partnership with fellow acoustic guitarists Craig Pinkney and Anthony Bridge, as part of the acoustic trio "Pink and White Bridge" (PWB), and separately as part of a four piece combo known as "The Bait". Paul wrote all of the songs on his latest album and plays most of the instruments as well. Craig Pinkney takes care of harmonica and high-harmony backing vocals, PWB takes care of the instruments on 'Come Morning', and The Bait takes care of the instruments on 'Backdoor Refugee'. Apart from that, it's all Paul. Paul is an acoustic guitar specialist, and has learned his craft well over the years. All of the guitar work on the album is inventive, expressive and well executed. . The album could best be described as a mixture of acoustic country, folk, rhythm and blues. The common theme on each track is the acoustic guitar, and the diversity of styles ranges from the acoustic fingerpicking on the instrumental tracks, to the blues of "Come Morning", and on to the Latin rhythm of "Womanhood", and a lot in between. Paul's vocals are just about right for this kind of music too: strong but controlled, a little raw and bluesy, a bit raspy on occasions, but overall a good complement to the style of music that he is singing and playing. Paul sings within his means and benefits from some good harmonic backing from Craig Pinkney. The overall feel of the album is light, but there are some serious songs on offer as well. In this regard, the serious moods conveyed by "Cloudstreet", "Backdoor Refugee" and "On the Detour" classify Paul very much as a thinking man's (or thinking woman's) songwriter. Let's have a look at some of the more notable tracks. Unfortunately, there is not enough space to cover them all. The album features three instrumental tracks. "Little Wonder" and "Cryptic Theme" are smooth and relaxing, with Paul's assured finger-picking laying down the beautifully interwoven melodies and rhythm. The third instrumental, "Déjà vu" has a darker mood and a more complex structure. "Go Easy" is pure California in style, and wouldn't be out of place on an Eagles album. It is light, tuneful and easy listening, and features some stylish harmonica playing by Craig Pinkney. "Still Like The Summertime Blues" is a tongue-in-cheek look at the "hardships" faced by the average Australian every summer. Problems such as blisters, the heat, the mozzies, the flies, and the not-so-special after-Christmas specials, are all fine fodder for this song. Whilst the song is written in a blues style, it really has little to do with the blues, and is more a gentle nudge at prosperous Australia, where one man's blues is another man's leisure, and where even the smallest hardship can seem an unnecessary intrusion into an otherwise blissful existence. "Cloudstreet" is one of the more serious songs, and is based upon the characters and central themes of the 1991 novel of the same name by fellow West Australian, Tim Winton. In the novel, "Cloudstreet" is a broken-down house on the wrong side of the tracks, in which two quite incompatible families, each fleeing separate tragedies, are forced to live together through circumstances. It is a powerful novel of fate, acceptance and belonging. Paul tells his story of "Cloudstreet" this way: "Tim Winton's book 'Cloudstreet" affected me in such a way that it took months to get the story out of my head. As I do with songwriting, I found myself fitting words to a melody and sequence on the guitar from thoughts that I was preoccupied with at the time. So I wrote about characters from the book. I had to check myself while doing it. I'd never gone down that road before and I wondered how original it was, but it occurred to me that the written word can be translated and understood in many and varied ways." "Tim Winton is very good at painting a picture that the reader can colour in", says Paul, "and in that way I have no qualms about the originality of my interpretation. I bought the book again recently with the intent to read it again with a few years of life having transpired and perhaps a different palette for colour choice." Another of the more serious songs, "Backdoor Refugee" is a poignant song about a young refugee girl, on the run from the Taliban in her home country, who is held in detention in Australia while seeking permanent refuge. Paul wrote this song with the intent of focusing public opinion on the plight of children in detention in Australia, and building up public pressure on politicians to have the system changed. This was the anthem that was meant to bring us all out onto the streets, chanting our way to the halls of Canberra, to make the politicians change their minds about the mandatory detention of children. Unfortunately, the message got lost on us somewhere, no doubt while we were all preoccupied at Harvey Norman buying our big screen TVs. Sadly, not enough people listened and fewer seemed to care. The subsequent release of children from detention came about through pressure from the Government's own backbenchers, not from the much hoped-for popular uprising. Still, the song marks a notable return to the use of protest themes in popular music, and the use of songs as political weapons for change, which has largely been absent in mainstream music for a generation or more. And finally, there is the title track, the haunting highway of sound that is "On The Detour". This song, in my view, is the stand-out track on the album. The themes of the song are "escapism versus reality", and that we, like Mary in the song, are all on the ferris wheel of life that keeps going around and around. As Paul explains it, "I've often been captivated by the phrase 'you can run but you cannot hide' and I guess "On The Detour" explores this theme a little. It runs true to life in that I did travel Australia and work the pubs as "time out" to life in general, after losing a very good and gifted friend to cancer. "Mary" is fictitious, although I've known many Marys in the workplace, and the symbolism with the Ferris Wheel is quite deliberate." Paul has done a solid, workmanlike job on this album, and it's a wonder that he is not better known in mainstream music than he is. Perhaps we could put that down to the teen-centric nature of the music industry at the moment, and the focus on the never-ending cycle of disposable "stars-for-a-day". However, there are still a few gems out there waiting to be discovered, and Paul White is one of them. Copies of the CD can be obtained from Paul at PO Box 237 Floreat Forum WA 6014 for A$20.00, including postage. Alan Gilmour September 2005.