US-based singer/songwriter John Paul White makes a welcome return to the North East of England as he prepares to release his third album The Hurting Kind on April 12th.
John Paul White is no stranger to the Sage Gateshead, having performed here with both his previous outfit The Civil Wars and also the Transatlantic Sessions.
Despite their great success, The Civil Wars parted way back in 2014, and since that time the Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter has been actively pursuing his solo career. Tonight’s packed out show in Hall 2 at the Sage Gateshead is JPW’s first solo appearance in the region.
Stood alone centre stage and armed only with his trusty acoustic guitar, White introduces the Tyneside faithful to his distinctive brand of melancholic Americana as he kicks off the show with his romantically tinged new track “I Wish I Could Write You A Song”.
White pens his lyrics from the heart, and songs such as “The Long Way Home” being the perfect example of this. The track itself grapples with JPW’s love/hate relationship with being a musician, as of course life on the road keeps him away from his family. White quips that the song itself is enough to make his kids cry.
JPW recollects growing up watching Glen Campbell on television as a child, and even recounts that the first song his mother remembers him singing was “Rhinestone Cowboy”. Subsequently, following Campbell’s diagnosis with Alzheimer’s White was inspired to write about the subject in his song “James”. Rather than putting Campbell in the song, the heartbreaking number is written from the perspective of his ex-marine father.
The crowd are transfixed and attentive throughout, so much so that the room is so quiet that when one of the audience members sneezes, White pauses to say bless you. The only crowd noise comes from the rapturous applause between songs, and the belly rumbling laughs from White’s witty onstage stories.
Tonight’s set centres on The Hurting Kind with several songs from the record featuring including the beautiful “Heart Like A Kite”, the emotive and somewhat honest “This Isn’t Gonna End Well” and the title track itself. The latter of which being one of the many highlights of the evening. JPW makes his vocal performance seem effortless as he frequently hits the sustained high notes of the song with ease.
White declares before his new song “The Good Old Days” that he may well be making a bolder statement than usual, but why not during bold times. The powerful, up-tempo number has a feel in both its quality and delivery to legendary singer/songwriters such as Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.
As White heads towards the final stages of his main set he performs an intoxicating airing of “Black Leaf” and his take on Dan Seals “Everything That Glitters Is Not Gold”. White informs the crowd that as a rocker growing up that hearing Seals in his dad’s record collection was his gateway to country music.
JPW closes out his main set with a song from his favourite band of all time ELO, as he puts his own stripped back stamp on the timeless class “Can’t Get It Outta My Head”, before returning to the stage to close out the night proper with the heartfelt love song “This Life”.
John Paul White is the complete package; a gifted songwriter, an exceptional vocalist and his fingerpicking style of guitar play is simply a joy to watch from start to finish.
Event Date: 27-Jan-2019