Trailer park signifying



There are moments when Mr. White’s hazy backroads vignettes play like David Lynch — as on the sly cut, “The Wound That Never Heals.” In these moments, his narratives and mixological cocktail of country, noir, rock and sound collage hit the bone. But then there’s a nearly equal number of times when he dallies overly long in either Jon Spencer faux-carpetbagger-blues territory or oft-traveled Tom Waits-ian creepy backwater, hard-livin’, narrative put-ons. This is the frustrating Jim White contradiction — partly truth and partly fiction? He’s one half naif-genuine American music storyteller and one half NPR feature story waiting to happen.

He strikes a helluvan atmosphere, mixing plunky banjo with left-field stereoscopic sound effects that are Suwanee River and rickety Iowa barn at 2 a.m. He also has an incredible knack for an infectious chorus. His voice is deceptively sweet. (And come to think of it, don’t you have to be 50 years old and a recovering alcoholic/drug addict/other story-pitch-worthy psychic casualty to tell spooky Americana tales?) Had David Lynch held off on releasing Wild at Heart for a dozen years, White might’ve bumped poor old Chris Isaak off the sound track. (White is, after all, a former European fashion model.) Anyhoo.

But for all his storytelling moves and trailer-park signifying, No Such Place is, ultimately, infectiously ephemeral. But maybe that’s just the point.

E-mail Chris Handyside at

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.