100 Greatest Guitarists: David Fricke's Picks

17

Jack White

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White has become the hottest new thing on six strings by celebrating the oldest tricks in the book: distortion, feedback, plantation blues, the 1960s-Michigan riff terrorism of the Stooges and the MC5. Onstage, decked out like a peppermint dandy, he violates classic covers (Dolly Parton's "Jolene," Bob Dylan's "Isis") with fireball chords and primal, bent-string scream. He is also an acute orchestrator in the studio, stirring the scratchy-78s atmosphere of Blind Willie Johnson sides, 1970s punk and Led Zeppelin-style drama into his own howl. Don't pay attention to the notes; White is not a clean soloist. He's a blowtorch.

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