Rain Perry Confronts Tough Issues with Catchy and Impactful Folk on ‘A White Album’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

Photo credit: Timothy Teague

On the very aptly titled A White Album, folkie Rain Perry addresses race head on – especially her own. With the first song, “Melody and Jack,” Perry retells a family story about a taboo interracial crush in the mid-50s. But it’s the very next song, the funk-tinged track “The Money,” where Perry is really able to prove her prowess as a stellar songwriter, tackling white privilege head on. The song tells the story of two GIs returning from war – one white and one black – and covers the fallacy of equality when it comes to home ownership and wealth that gets passed on (or in the case of many minorities, not passed on) across the generations. Delving into red-lining, mortgage prejudice and college loans, Perry gives an entire course on inequality of wealth all in the span of five minutes wrapped in a remarkably catchy song.

Elsewhere on the record, Perry duets with Akina Adderley on a sweet cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Visions.” And Adderley is far from being the only guest on the record, with Ben Lee (“This Is Water”) and BettySoo (“None Of Us Are Free”) among others making appearances on the album. The record ends on “This Is Water,” a beautiful, if somber realization that despite being raised on Sesame Street, Free To Be You And Me and a slew of other empowering slogans, her future was stacked in her favor based solely on the color of her skin. It’s a powerful realization that many in this country – at least based on the ignorance and hysteria ginned up around the teaching of CRT over the past year – still aren’t ready to acknowledge.   

Perry worked once again with Mark Hallman on this record, with Hallman producing and playing most of the instruments. The album is as catchy as it is impactful, managing to distill complicated issues fraught with politics and passion through a prism of compassion and understanding all the while never letting the themes of the record overshadow the music and the songs. Perry is also reportedly working with director Kim Maxwell to produce a stage version of A White Album.

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