1. The Resolution EP Review
    Record Review: Emily White

    BY VINCENT SCARPA

    Emily White
    The Resolution EP
    Chicago, IL

    “Doing it yourself gets it done right”

    Emily White, a self-described indie folk singer/songwriter from Chicago, presents her newest release in The Resolution EP, the pay-off of the year for White, who embraces the DIY method, right down to self-set deadlines. The resulting six tracks on the release, most of which seem like sneak peeks down all the avenues, show White embarking on her continued musical journey.

    “Little Lifeboat” opens the disc, and you might think you hear the soft beginnings of a Metric tune, with distorted guitars and a clever melody. The next two that follow, “Robot Hearts” and “One Wish,” bring the record into softer passages, utilizing simple instrumentation and catchy major chords.

    But it’s “Underworld” that is the standout track of the release, where White gets it right on all accounts – the lyrics are strong, the melodic lines are fresh, and White’s vocals bring the listener to Kathleen Edwards’ territory. And with a stellar track like this, it’s easy to forgive the minor glitches and flaws of the record as a whole. Emily White proves that the DIY genre can churn out some great, great music. (Self-released)

    Produced by Scott Lamps and Emily White // Recorded by Mark Whitcomb at DNA Studios, Madison, WI // Mixed by Pete Weiss at Verdant Studios, Athens VT // Mastered by Peter Linnane



    Asheville Citizen-Times Review
    October 12th, 2009
    by Casey Blake

    It isn’t too hard to find a singer-songwriter today performing deeply personal lyrics and strumming an acoustic guitar in the Asheville area. Emily White adds an infusion of humor, audibly diverse musical influences and a truly singular sound that may leave even the most severe folk cynics entertained.
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    She plays Tuesday night at the Back Room of the Flat Rock Wine Shoppe in Flat Rock.

    Her debut album, “Every Pulse,” won her an Honorable Mention in the Billboard Song Contest and landed her a spot on the compilation CD “Womenfolk: Volume One.”

    “My earlier stuff was all really personal about my life and my own experiences,” White said. “Recently, though, I’ve tried to branch out and write from other perspectives and even from stories I’ve heard. Meeting so many people on the road and just holding a guitar every night for hours on stage, it really inspires you.”

    Her second release, “12 Ways to Live,” proves her talent is dynamic beyond introspective acoustic tunes. “I’m so intrigued by the intersection of politics and relationships, and how people relate to each other in the world we live in today,” White said.

    White has become known across the country not only for her music, but also for her unique approach on stage. “My songs are somewhat serious and often even sad so I try to infuse funny stories and notes from the road, and really tell people about the songs and what’s behind them,” she said.

    “It’s really not just a music show. I try to create a real connection and interact with the audience. That’s what I love about acoustic music — it’s that intimate connection that makes it so special.”

    Casey Blake writes about entertainment for the Citizen-Times. E-mail her at cblake@ashevill.gannett.com

    LINK TO ARTICLE: http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20091012/LIVING/910120321




    Connect Savannah Review
    Connect Savannah
    Mar 4- Mar 10, 2009
    By Jim Reed

    Emily White, Tyler Lyle

    With a blue billion DIY singer/songwriters now clogging the highways, byways and java joints of the U.S., we should all be forgiven for becoming a bit jaded and less inclined to give them the time of day.
    Far too many are churning out instantly forgettable (or at least uninspiring) retreads of those that came before, seemingly with no awareness or care that they’re adding precious little floor space to the glorious tower of song. Yet every once in a while someone comes across my radar/desk that does more than turn my head.
    Both halves of this acoustic guitar-based double bill stand out conspicuously from the pack: Chicago’s White with her hushed, preternaturally haunting vocal delivery (and bewitching sense of indie-rock-informed melody) and Atlanta’s Lyle with his fantastically expressive, Nick Drake-ian finger-picked constructs and Southern gospel-influenced laments.
    Based on their recent recorded work, either of these rising talents have the makings of a compelling coffeehouse gig. Together, they seem a safe bet for an exceptional evening of original, deeply personal song craft. Listen & Learn: myspace.com/emilywhite, myspace.com/tylerlyle. Sat., 8 pm, The Sentient Bean – ALL-AGES.




    12 Ways to Live Review
    [- Hide ]

    By Frank Gutch, Jr.

    Ah, what a difference a day makes, or two years in this instance. In 2005, Emily White quietly crept onto the indie music scene with Every Pulse, a self-produced eight-song effort. Raw but interesting, it held both the positives and negatives of that sometimes raging, sometimes sputtering music culture, glued together by the digital revolution and an increasingly insular major label music industry model. A friend heard it and described White as just-another-white-girl-with-guitar. If I had a hat, I’d make him eat it because the release of 12 Ways To Live has folded those words into a mess of crow, upon which he admits he is at this very moment feasting. Hat would be the ideal side dish.

    12 Ways To Live is such a jump ahead from Every Pulse that comparisons are not even in order, the earlier work the germ, the new work a full-on viral infection. In a word, our little girl is growing up, Momma.

    While it may seem dismissive to call the first two tracks of 12 Ways warmups, in retrospect (meaning after numerous listens) they seem just that. Good songs presented very well indeed, Believe In Me and Mad Intuition are just that: songs. On another album they would stand out, but leading into Railroad, they fade before a succession of tracks baring a more approachable Emily White, a flawed and human Emily White writing to feel and, on occasion, to heal. The lazy, slow pace of Railroad is lifted by sparse chords and “squeakies”, eerie feedback-style effects akin to softened brakes of a slow moving train, and amazingly effective. A folk love song, it raises the bar on every level. A bluesy Bayou kicks it up four or five notches, a driving acoustic rocker with a great chorus inspired by and borrowed from an old traditional gospel song. The tinny and dissonant sound of the guitars are ideally matched to the odd vocal tracks courtesy of the various Ms. Whites. With minor chords and a lighter feel but dismal subject matter, we follow her to 7th & A for an anxious meeting with her ex. Without the lyrics, it could be an almost pleasant song, and perhaps that is the key. There is a dissonance, sometimes, even in her lyrics.

    We are left to decide whether Every Pulse (the song) was written after White’s earlier 8-song release or maybe written for it and just not included. While it worked as the title of the EP, one gets the feeling that perhaps even if the song was ready at that time, she wasn’t. To my ears, it is as good as anything she’s written or performed, having an inbred, gripping intensity. Quiet, plodding, in three-four time, it glides over rhythms created by wine glass, vent and “found objects”. It is metronome effect, a 3 AM clock, with odd sounds of those found objects thrown in for good measure. Dual vibraphones provide melodious background in single strokes, always on the downbeat, striking-two-three, striking-two-three as White, in a perfect imperfect voice, sings a love song for one not there. Honest love and aching loneliness equals frailty and for a few moments, you are alone with her, almost afraid to breathe. Those few moments, and I say this seriously, are ready for the stage. Really good dramatic love songs are few and far between, especially on the stage, and this is really good. I realize this is little to go on, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a musical theater work in White’s future.

    Another ready for the stage number, Your Fire, involves an imaginary meeting over coffee with an ex and his fiancee. With jazz chords and soundtrack piano, she bemoans losing love and yet… Two years ago, she might have completed the picture. Today, she leaves it up to you. God knows what goes on in Georgia. Of course, clandestine meetings in seedy Atlanta hotels make for dark songs, but the guitar work is intriguing and puts to rest any argument about White not carrying her weight instrumentally. Back to the bottom with Omaha, a desperate and moving cry for love and home. We all know that sometimes sparse production can add to a song’s worth and it makes Good Enough Reason plenty good enough, White playing straight ahead economical electric guitar beneath very basic voice. This being an election year, White tosses Election Year into the ring with some obvious truths, all in good fun, of course. This would have played well during the “hootenanny” years, acoustic guitar and voice all that is needed other than protest-era lyrics. Secret Song" is reminiscent of late sixties and early seventies folk pop, White’s voice recorded on two tracks and overlaid on quiet folk finger-picking with light synthesizer. Maybe not folk pop as much as folk psych. Regardless, a perfect ending, quiet, and you’re done.

    While this album is not for everyone, and no album is, it is a reflection of a quickly maturing artist. She has moved from the simple task of putting lyrics to music to searching for the struggles within. More importantly, she has found a way to make those struggles universal and yet personal, and that is no mean task.

    It is said that in the fantasy world of music, when you do it right, you get your wings. If that is true, Emily, you got your wings. And then some.

    Link to full article: http://www.acousticmusic.com/fame/p04739.htm




    12 Ways to Live Review
    By Udayan Das

    There is a danger in waiting too long to write a review (this album came out late last year) and that is that one can be too biased one way or another to write objectively. And unfortunately I am biased: I love this album; I really do. But then, I am not in the business of writing objective reviews (whatever that means) so I’ll just try and tell you why I think this album is so wonderful.

    “12 Ways to Live” is Emily White’s second offering after “Every Pulse” in 2005. There is no doubt that most people who had listened to “Every Pulse” would have pretty good expectations from this one (because “Every Pulse” was a pretty good CD) and I was one of them. But Emily easily exceeds those expectations here with a thoughtful and genuinely beautiful work. She revisits similar themes of love, relationships, the female experience, oblique (and often direct) politics, and social commentary; in other words experiences being a sensitive human being. The musical and vocal style: simple, lucidly evocative; is not so much a re-invention as an expansion of her repertoire (and on present evidence it is quite a repertoire and growing). The writing is very much in the same vein full of visible imagery and heartfelt emotion. So this seems very much a logical progression from the first. But then again, that’s just a too simplistic way of looking at things, because this is also a much more assured Emily White: older, more confident, and just secure in her abilities as an artist. She is unafraid of taking more risks, pushing the envelope ever so much further with exceptional results.

    One of the things to like for me personally is the writing. Traditionally, that’s something that I respond to the most (and something that I find sadly lacking in a lot of current work: that lyrically a song is a piece of poetry which grows with the accompanying music but stands its own in the absence it). There are songs here composed of beautiful lines; lines that remain with you long after the album is done and which return to you again and again at odd times. Consider “…there are things that water can’t tell you / For which water just doesn’t have the words” from “7th & A”; or “Turn me into Stone / So much better for the keeping”; or “they carved up the city to make more room for ships” from “bayou”; or something from “Mad Intuition” my favorite song in the album: “We cut through all of the noise/Windows are open to the sounds of steel”. And beautiful lines add up to wonderful songs such as “Georgia”, Secret Song” and of course “Mad Intuition”.

    I am not sure what the “12 Ways to Live” of the title refers to. There is a piece of artwork listing 12 ways to live, ranging from “In love”, “On the Road” to “With Regret” and “Scared”, but I don’t think that half explains it. The songs range widely in emotion, tone and mood: from palpably aching to (hesitantly) upbeat; quiet to bustling with life; lonely, depressed to being comfortable, and in love. In a way, the “12 Ways to Live” might be 12 ways in which we all live at different times of our life, or maybe it’s just an expression of many people’s lives, because as she points out, “every story is the singer’s no matter what they sing.” But that kind of reminds me of a famous line credited to Fellini, “if I make a movie about a fish it would still be about me.” Throughout there is the feeling of immediacy, with the rawness of the vocals, the spare arrangements and personal lyrics, that some part of her is being revealed to us. And in effect, as I said before, it is her self-assurance that allows her to do this. The very personal nature of it is perhaps what makes it most special. Songs about love are not just restricted to a “lover” but includes her mother (Good Enough Reason). There is a song of a break-up… in friendship (7th & A). Certainly, these are stories from her own life.

    And to add to this there are little touches which may seem surprising at first but are probably the things that make the album grow on you. There are “aching refrains”, little inflexions and changes in vocal modulation, memorable musical interludes and changes in the rhythm/style midway through a song. These all sometimes add up to the sneaking suspicion of having heard or known this from somewhere before, like the chorus on “Believe in Me” or the instrumental passage in “Bayou”. My theory about why that happens is because for certain pieces of music, certain songs there is an implacable logic to it, when things just fall perfectly into place it seems so natural. Of course, this feeling is nothing new, it’s happened to me many times before with music, books and more. But it’s oh so exciting when it happens with something new.

    One of the most interesting things for me has been that each person that I have recommended the album to has a different song (or songs) that they like. That in itself shows the variety and quality of the work. My personal favorites in addition to “Mad Intuition” are “Georgia” and “Secret Song”. In truth I like all the songs to varying degrees. As a whole Emily White’s “12 Ways to Live” has now become a worthy addition to my Essential Collection. The long wait and resulting bias in writing this review is justified.

    Link to the article: http://technews.iit.edu/index.php?id=1079




    Chicago Red Eye Article

    January 2008:
    When singer-songwriter Emily White planned on recording her sophomore CD, “12 Ways to Live,” she asked for help from fans across the country.

    “With the second album that I just made, I sold a lot of preorders while on the road to get it ready,” White told RedEye.

    Though her efforts raised more than $2,000, she still fell a bit short. Like many musicians, she put the rest of her debt on a credit card.

    White, who moved back to Chicago from Boston two years ago, spends about five months on tour each year. She’s on the road for four to eight weeks at a time, and while at home, the 25-year-old works odd jobs, such as teaching guitar, before heading out again.

    Before she returned to Chicago, White spent some time pursuing a degree in music production and engineering. But that doesn’t necessarily mean she uses her knowledge when recording.

    “I think it helps me communicate better with engineers,” she said. “But when I’m in the studio, I don’t like to engineer my own work. I just need to be an artist and just think about the songs, not the technical aspect.”

    But why come back to Chicago?

    “I really love the city,” she said. “There are little pockets of venues and neighborhoods here that I didn’t find on the East Coast. People are nicer too. I felt really committed to coming back.”

    by kristina francisco

    Link to full article: http://redeye.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/music/red-chitunes-emilywhite,0,204067.htmlstory



    Every Pulse Review

    May 2007: These days, including - let alone, opening - with a track reminiscent of a ‘70’s protest song (Dixie Chicks are you listening?) isn’t considered the most commercially viable route to take. Whether Emily White was aware of this, or she blatantly defied it, is irrelevant. This is a gutsy move that rewards the listener with raw, candid and just plain invigorating music.

    Comparisons to Lisa Loeb are easy and therefore rampant, but not quite on the mark. For those who are only comfortable investing time or cash in a new talent if they can first pigeonhole them, here goes: think Buffy Saint-Marie for the content, plus a voice coupled with musicianship that combines a sprinkling of Indigo Girls (not surprisingly listed on White’s bio as one of her influences), and an endearing, rougher around the edges Mary Chapin Carpenter.

    “My brother and I” is a personal favorite due at least in part to the emotional groundswell of brass and drum, as opposed to her usual singular acoustic accompaniment. This is not at all a slam against her musicianship - like her vocals, White’s playing is infused with a hard-to-resist appeal. This one’s more raw than the similarly themed, Mary Chapin Carpenter account of her childhood marred by her big brother’s departure and the disintegration of her family. And on some level it’s much more poignant than Mary C.’s - and White pulls it off without sacrificing a sense of hopefulness.

    Barely half way through White’s slice-me-open-and-peek-inside production, you’ll be shaking your head and wondering, 'Why, oh why" is this not given commercial radio airplay? Why indeed. In an audio landscape littered with gum smacking, falsetto-straining and overly produced musical damsels in distress, White is a breathtaking, clear-headed, sometimes gut-wrenching orchestration of lyrical candor and unrestrained talent.


    p.s. to White, the DePaul University music production and engineering student with a minor in French:

    Bravo Emily, Tes mots, ton allure, ta musique sont une contre-pointe a la fois emotionelle, honnete et encourageante!

    Review by Gisele Grignon

    Link to full article: http://www.nowontour.com/reviews/record-reviews/902-every-pulse


    Every Pulse Review

    April 8, 2006: There should never be a review written about Emily White’s “Every Pulse” that does not refer to her magnificent voice. In a world of sonic sound-alikes and wannabe’s (both male and female), it’s positively exhilarating to come across a voice that is reminiscent of no other such as White’s.

    But a voice, even as good as hers, just singing, say, the phone book would not make for a good record. Happily, this is not the case and every track of “Every Pulse” resonates with emotion and carefully crafted musicianship.

    I found the first three songs on this eight track EP to be the most arresting and memorable, which is not to slam the remaining tracks – just to particularly praise the opening trio.

    “River of Forgetfulness” is an anti-war song like so few others, employing a slow burn of subtle lyric emotion versus a more strident and cliche (in other words, this is not the femo-emo version of the Democratic National Committee platform).

    “Typical” is an absolutely beautiful take on the troublesome dynamic of personal relationships. With spare strums of acoustic guitar and just a hint of strings in the background, this song is anything but its title.

    Rounding out my favorite hat trick, “My Brother and I” reminded me of 10,000 Maniacs’ “What’s the Matter Here?” This, too, is an abusive father song, a raw and emotional tale of mutual sibling survival. It’s hard not to believe this is autobiographical, but even with obvious rawness of nerves it is nevertheless accessible.

    There’s got to be a record company out there that would want to snap up this talented chanteuse. Here’s hoping we here more musical beats from Emily White’s pulsing musical heart.
    -Todd Beemis

    Link to full article: http://www.indie-music.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=4770




    Every Pulse Review

    April 2006:
    The difference between just-another-white-girl-musician and Emily White is heart. It is the key to her music and possibly to her self and most people will miss that, because she is fresh from the cocoon and not quite ready to fly, but her wings are drying and she will soon be airborne. Then, we will look back to this EP as a marker. A Beginning.


    That beginning lays out seven original songs (and one answering machine tribute to the Red Sox). Of the seven, three stand out. Typical is a three o'clock in the morning look at what could have been but isn’t. Fine cello by Scott Burns turns it from a good coffeehouse tune into a keeper and while the lyrics at first seem a bit clumsy, persistent listening prove them fitting. Stranger’s Hands rides a rhythm guitar hook that sticks in your head (with background vocal effects that are thumbs up). Everything For This rides the relationship train and one wonders just how many failed relationships one can endure, though perhaps failed love is part of who Emily White is, even if she has never experienced it. The key to these three tracks are fine underlying acoustic guitar and Emily’s sense of delivery. Sometimes simple phrasing makes a song that much better.


    The remaining tracks push the envelope in the folk/jazz vein, with a little straight ahead rock thrown in for good measure. Well done, but if you don’t listen closely, you miss a lot. In other words, this is not dishwashing music (well, maybe meditative dishwashing music).


    There is a voice struggling to get out here and, on the whole, it succeeds, but certain moments give pause and though nothing major, they are there. She has a hitch in her swing here and there, to use a baseball metaphor, the instances are miniscule when listening to the overall result. Somewhere down the line, she will lose the hitch and find the balance and then, oh boy.


    Emily White, like so many young musicians, is a work in progress, which shouldn’t be a big surprise because if she weren’t, she wouldn’t have marketed this EP on her own but would instead have deposited a boatload of money in the nearest vault while leaving the grunt work to a major label. Of course, that label would most likely have scooted her into a studio of its choice to work with a producer of its choice to produce songs of its choice and on and on and the Emily White we would hear would be quite different than what we have here. Instead, we’re served a menu of an indie working like hell to be better and sometimes succeeding while at others, well….


    In this instance, though, it is a good thing. Think of it. Her first project, self-produced (well, co-produced, anyway). Her first daunting attempt to lay open the real Emily White, warts and all, to criticism from the likes of us (and, really, how many of us would do it). It is a good first time around. The ball is rolling and she will learn, and with this yardstick EP for reference, it will be great fun to mark the progress.


    Emily plays the circuit around Chicago and is presently branching out to include St. Louis and whatever other cities in the Midwest she can breach (Chicago is in the Midwest, is it not?). It might be well worth the effort.

    -Frank Gutch Jr.

    Link to full article: http://www.acousticmusic.com/fame/p03404.htm




    Every Pulse Review

    Emily White’s EP Every Pulse is quite an astonishing debut for this captivating Southern/Midwestern truth-teller. I’m guessing by the picture on the CD cover, this is a young woman under 25, maybe even under 21. While a true original, to this listener’s ears Emily’s voice and delivery conjure up audio memories of Sinead O'Connor, Lisa Loeb, Suzanne Vega and Ani DiFranco.


    Make no mistake; no singer wants to be accused of being derivative, or sounding like anyone but themselves. This is not the case here! White’s lyric and songwriting are unmatched, it’s just that she draws you in and keeps you there like the stellar artists mentioned above.


    The first cut River of Forgetfulness questions the purpose of war - with thought-provoking lyrics, Emily keeps our listening attention with a lilting melody and confrontational style.


    Track two, Typical - “call it lonely with a hint of exhaustion” is my fave lyric here.nice acoustic guitar, gorgeous cello weaved throughout.


    Another fresh track, My Brother and I, stuns with emotionally cutting lyrics, soothing harmonies on the title chorus, crisp snare drum accenting the tumultuous feel of the tune. “We were the same - he had the cuts and I felt the shame.” colors the relationship between brother and sister.


    The CNN Song speaks of a woman who “tried mostly not to fall”. Again, a haunting snare drum punctuates the melodic hooks. “They say that it’s worth it just to be alive, but they don’t know what it was like after he died”.A nice trumpet and jazz sounds bring this song to fruition.


    Another thing: Emily White’s diction is impeccable for a pop diva. It’s thoroughly refreshing to actually understand the words being sung! I can’t help it; I was raised on great pop and folk and happen to believe the words are everything! Add to this compact acoustic backing and you’ve got a satisfying sound, leaving you wanting more.


    Stranger’s Hands, “You’ve got a stranger’s hands, you’ve got my lover’s heart, you’ve got all this pain and guilt inside you, and you just don’t know where to start.” Again, deep subject matter, gorgeous song.


    Loved the fender Rhodes sound in Sound of Right - “Would you know the sound of right?” she asks.


    This disc finishes up with Everything For This, We and Baseball 2003; a conversation via telephone answering machines about, you guessed it, baseball. Track after track, Emily White grows slowly on you, casting her unique spell.


    With an innocent, emotionally present voice, White delivers punch after punch of raw truth, ensconced with beautiful melody and competent musicians to sweeten the dark mix of pain and shame that come with being human. This woman may look young, but she has been around Life’s big block and then some. I highly recommend buying this CD and giving it many passes.


    Visit her website at www.emily-white.com to hear a preview of Every Pulse.


    -Cheryl Kain

    link to article: http://www.edgeboston.com/index.php?ch=entertainment&sc=music&sc2=reviews&sc3=cd&id=3175




    Girls Rock! 50 Years of Women Making Music

    Emily is featured in this book along with many incredibly talented female musicians who have helped forge the way for women in rock music. Make sure to buy it directly from University of Kentucky Press or from your local independent bookstore!


    http://www.kentuckypress.com/viewbook.cfm?Category_ID=1&Group=111&ID=1121