John Paul White Announces ‘Beulah’, First Solo Record in Over a Decade
John Paul White has announced his first solo album in over a decade. Beulah is set to drop Aug. 19.
White will be releasing Beulah via Single Lock Records, and it's a collection of swampy southern rock, folk balladry and dark acoustic pop, according to a press release.
The singer, formerly of popular duo the Civil Wars, says he wasn't exactly trying to write an album. Instead of writing music, he had co-founded Single Lock Records and produced albums for other artists. He wasn't sure if he would release his own music again (per NPR), and in fact, he didn't have any desire to pen the songs -- but it became a necessity.
“Honestly, I tried to avoid them, but then I realized the only way I was going to get rid of them was if I wrote them down. I got my phone out, and I’d sing these little bits of melody, then put it away and move on. Eventually I got to a place where it was a roar in my head, and that pissed me off," says White.
"Then one day I told my wife, ‘I think I’m going to go write a song.’ She was as surprised as I was. I went and wrote probably eight songs in three days. It was like turning on a faucet.”
The product was Beulah which refers to a longtime family nickname. It also references poet William Blake’s “place deep in the collective spiritual unconscious.” Beulah includes his new single "The Martyr." It was produced by Ben Tanner (Alabama Shakes) and White, and the record was recorded at Muscle Schoals' renowned FAME Studios as well as White's Single Lock Studios.
He tells NPR, "All of the songs are solo compositions — something I'd rarely done before. I've always collaborated, dating back to my days of writing songs for Music Row. I think the wrestling in my head became my own little co-write."
White concludes, "I've learned that we're all working very hard nowadays to keep ourselves afloat. I'm incredibly fortunate to be able to make music for a living, period. As time goes on, and the music business changes, that's becoming harder and harder to do. I truly believe — as does our label — that regardless of genre, people still are looking for music they can connect with. As long as that's true, we have hope. Because that's all I ever really wanted to do."
White is kicking off a series of shows to promote the record (and he's added several new dates). The first stop is June 13 at Eddie's Attic in Decatur, Ga. He'll also stop in St. Louis, Chicago, Minneapolis, Brooklyn, Boston, Pittsburgh and more. Several of the shows will have the Secret Sisters as support.