Local

Musician John Paul White Finds The Spark Of Songwriting

John Paul White will release a new record on August 19.
John Paul White will release a new record on August 19.
Credit Allister Ann

 

After almost four years, songwriter John Paul White has new music.

“I started having these songs loop in my head that I couldn’t ignore and finally had to start writing,” White said. “But I did not set out to write songs, and I wasn’t sure if I would, and I was okay with that … People say you are meant to do certain things, and I always laughed at that. I think a lot of it you choose, but this was an instance of I couldn’t not do it.”

White released a solo album in 2008 and spent the next four years as half of the folk duo the Civil Wars. They release two studio albums, won four Grammies, went on to tour with Adele and collaborated with Taylor Swift. They stopped performing together in 2012 and officially split up in 2014.

During his time away from songwriting, White has kept up with a different sort of music-making. He produced several albums for other artists under his record label Single Lock Records in Florence, Alabama, where he lives with his family. White also contributed a song to the second season of “The Walking Dead.”

“[Producer and songwriter T Bone Burnett] reached out to me … because as grim and dark as that show is, he knew who to call,” said White. “I’ve said this before: there are people put on this earth to cheer you up, and I am not necessarily one of them.”

White announced a new album, “Beulah,” that will be released on Aug. 19. After performing two shows in Alabama, White kicked off his tour with his band and the Secret Sisters at Eddie’s Attic on Monday. A sold-out show, White played repertoire off of that upcoming album.

For White, these songs are some of the first he has enjoyed writing.

“Writing songs was something that was a chore. I did it as a means to an end … So when I stopped touring, it wasn’t that hard to stop writing,” he said. “I didn’t know if songwriting was something I was meant to do or something I just could do. And I found out — and am happy to found out — that it’s something that I did want to and have really enjoyed doing it. And I have a whole different spark and drive to do it. I don’t feel like I have to do it, but I want to.”

Listen to two original songs White performed in WABE’s studio:

“The Martyr”“Black Leaf”