#12

November 12, 2010

Nina Nastasia & Jim White – You Follow Me
singer/songwriter, experimental-rock, folk
2007

With You Follow Me, guitarist/vocalist Nina Nastasia teamed with longtime collaborator, percussionist Jim White (of Australian trio The Dirty Three), to deliver one of the singer/songwriter genre’s most idiosyncratic albums. It’s suitable to see White take half the artistic credit on this one – the first time he’s been credited as such after a number of stints as a session musician for Nastasia’s previous albums – as the skills of Nina Nastasia & Jim White - You Follow Meboth participants are highlighted with equal measure throughout the album, making White’s skittering, semi-improvisational drumming just as prominent and central to the album as Nastasia’s vocals and guitarwork. The juxtaposition between their two styles is endlessly fascinating, a blend of control and chaos, and many of the tracks have White’s rumbling percussion sounding like a brewing storm beneath the relative calm of Nastasia’s contributions. The two musicians ride the line between experimentation and accessibility to perfection and have an undeniable rapport that can really be sensed throughout the album. The songs are touching, attention-grabbing and memorable, and are sequenced in a manner that places the highlights – such as “Odd Said the Doe” and “Our Discussion” – evenly throughout the album. With its brief runtime and unassuming tone, You Follow Me is an understated and humble affair, certainly not the sort of thing that self-consciously brands itself as an important album, yet I cannot overstate the impact which it has had upon me, as it leaves me keenly feeling its lasting presence long after it winds to a close. Few albums display such independently gifted musicians so completely in tune with one another, collaborating selflessly to create something so much better than either could achieve on their own. There’s something truly special about this unique and productive partnership – I sincerely hope it continues to flourish.