Jim White, best known for his own unique brand of cool alt-country / Americana, may at first seem an unusual partner for the high-energy roots-grass of The Packway Handle Band. According to the PR it was thanks to a Texan DJ at Burning Man that they first became aware of White when they were introduced to Andrew Douglas’ movie “In Search of the Wrong-Eyed Jesus” in which Jim White features as a sort of tour guide to the poor white American South. The film remains, for me at least, one of the most incredible road trip documentaries I’ve ever seen. If you’ve not seen it you can watch it on-demand via BBC iPlayer here.
It was also via this film that Packway became aware of the southern gothic charms of the likes of the Handsome Family and 16 Horsepower whose music was featured and clearly left a big impression upon them. Their paths would cross again in 2013 when Jim finally settled in Athens, Georgia where the band are based. He was producing The Skipperdees debut album and asked them to record on it. Then later in 2013 things came together….
The Packway Handle Band approached Jim about producing a stylistically unique breakaway record, looking for an evolutionary leap beyond their current musical productions from their previous efforts. After hearing the demos Jim not only agreed, but proposed a collaboration between the two. “I’d seen some of their live shows and they were so upbeat. They were just flat out having fun up there,” says Jim White. “When they asked me to produce their record I said, ‘Screw that, I’m joining the band!’”
The rest is history as they say…here they are performing “Not a Song” from the new album Take It Like A Man Out Now on Yep Roc.