Little Ghost

Are you tired of this little White Stripes series? If so, we’re halfway through it, and it’s their idea, not mine. But if you’re like me, you’re enraptured, because I never could get tired of having an excuse to sit and listen to every White Stripes album, albeit out of order. As for the ‘little’ series, this song is the best offering. I don’t have a huge appetite for this sort of pure Americana, but it’s definitely most amusing to occasionally dip into, and I think The White Stripes are especially suited to exploring roots music. Because I think their vision of what constitutes roots music is more diverse than most; they take in both bluegrass and Detroit blues, and a wide swatch in between. The White Stripes  style of rootsiness also reflects the fact that for people of their generation Led Zeppelin and The Stooges constitute roots music as much as Son House or Earl Scruggs. In the sense that enough time has passed that what used to be a contemporary takeoff on traditional musical style is an accepted part of the historical continuum. The White Stripes famously care a lot about musical purity, but their purity is held to their own eccentric standards, and when they explore musical traditions they’re not so much striving to recreate something as it was in the 1950’s, but processing it through their personal lens, thereby creating the next step in its evolution. Because recreating something traditional in note-for-note perfection doesn’t bring anything new to it – it’s just recreation for its own sake. To built on the foundation of the old without losing its spirit, or your own, is what keeps traditions alive.


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