Sometimes, a Sunday morning — especially one that falls over a long, holiday weekend — begs for a gentle segue into wakefulness. It’s been a while since we featured a folk tune here on The Gig, but that was just because we were waiting for the perfect sweet surrender of Emily Jane White’s “Pallid Eyes.” As you will soon hear, it was worth it. This song is haunting for its soundtrack feel and aural similarity to wildly visual story-songs like Bobby Bare’s “In The Hills Of Shiloh,” which my parents used to play for me when I was a child. The classically understated video is all about serving the song, focusing on White’s face and stellar vocal performance, with just subtle background changes that move the action along without disturbing its seductive, rhythmic lull. White explains that the video “depicts a body, estranged from relational dysfunction, which dwells in patterns of isolation and dissociation. Greys and whites, opaque and frozen, express the heavy and numbing debility of this state.”
“Pallid Eyes” can be found on White’s fifth album, They Moved in Shadow All Together. The title is a play on the opening line from Cormac McCarthy’s novel Outer Dark, which hauntingly depicts a group of uncanny travelers descending a hill in the Appalachian mountains. White remembers being struck by the vision of the travelers’ collective movement – fragmented, yet whole – and felt its resonance with her record in progress and its thematic exploration of traumatic events.
White’s new body of work recounts for us the terrain of her empathic inner world. The breadth and depth of her maturing voice are evident. Her layered vocals effect a sense of camaraderie, a space populated with voices, angelic perhaps, definitively ethereal. She studied classical singing while working on this album, which enabled her to broaden her vocal range. Like Emily Jane White on the FaceBook at This Link. Enjoy!