Jim White Searching For The Wrong-Eyed Jesus

Luaka Bop
23rd June 2023

Format Info

LP - black vinyl

Wrong-Eyed Jesus! or The Mysterious Tale of How I Shouted ‘Wrong- Eyed Jesus!’ is a true story by Jim White—it was also the title of his debut album, which established White as a phenomenal maverick talent of alt country music when it was released in 1997, 25 years ago. But we’re not going to spoil the story for you here. For that you’ll have to get the 25th anniversary edition with White’s otherworldly tale on the inside of the gatefold.

Raised in Pensacola, Florida, a town crushed between the church and heroin, White was at one time a druggie, a Pentacostal, a fashion model, a New York taxi driver, a drifter, a pro-surfer, a photographer, and a filmmaker whose music became the conduit for all the stories he collected along the way.

Steeped in the influence of Flannery O’Connor and Tom Waits, Wrong- Eyed Jesus revealed White as a spiritual anatomist, reaching deep into the underbelly of the American South. It was quickly acclaimed as an idiosyncratic masterpiece of ‘outer space alt.country’—a classic of the newly burgeoning “sadcore” scene—which amused the Southern songwriter to no end.

“For 20 years I’d written these dark little songs,” he said. “Every once in a while I’d play them for someone and they’d shout, ‘Stop! That sucks so bad it makes my ears pop!’ Then a thing called alt country came along and, boom, all of a sudden everyone’s hollering ‘Jim, you’re a friggin’ genius!’ I mean, what happened???”

Twenty-five years after the fact, it’s a lot easier to recognize what happened. (By the way, if you haven’t seen his BBC documentary, “Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus,” an award-winning road-movie exploring Southern culture, do.) Now living in an old farmhouse in the backwoods of Georgia, White continues to be a highly original voice in the immense Southern gothic tradition. When broken humanity aches for grace, music like his may give you a shot at redemption.

Other Releases by Jim White