John Paul White
Headlining HMF 2018 on the large Oakmont Field Stage, located behind the Oakmont School Administration Building, will be John Paul White, formerly of four-time Grammy Award-winning Americana duo The Civil Wars. After he and his Civil Wars partner, Joy Williams, parted company in 2014, White and his family moved from Nashville back to his hometown of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, where, together with Alabama Shakes keyboard player Ben Tanner and Shoals native Will Trapp, he founded and runs Single Lock Records, an indie label that has released records by some of the Yellowhammer State’s finest, including Dylan LeBlanc, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, and legendary songwriter and keyboard player Donnie Fritts. The label is based in a small ranch house just a stone’s throw from White’s own home. In Muscle Shoals’ renowned FAME studios, he recorded several songs on his latest album, Beulah, a remarkably and assuredly diverse collection spanning plaintive folk balladry, swampy Southern rock, lonesome campfire songs, and dark acoustic pop. Gothic and ambitious, with a rustic, lived-in sound, it’s a mediation on love curling into its opposite, on recrimination defining relationships, on hope finally filtering through doubt. And it’s a far-more-than-worthy successor to White’s outstanding body of work in The Civil Wars.