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Trying To Play “Son House”

This past weekend I finally sat down to watch a documentary I have been eying ever since it arrived in theaters in 2008.   It Might Get Loud is a documentary on the electric guitar and three legendary guitarists: The Edge (U2), Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), and Jack White (The White Stripes).

In the clip I’ve p0sted below, Jack White explains how the song, “Grinnin’ in Your Face” by Son House, affected him and the direction of his musical career.  Later in the film, he recounts that when forming The White Stripes, a band that featured only drums and a guitar (yet was hailed as innovative and original), that “all he was trying to do was play Son House.”

For me, there have been several “Son House” moments in my life.  They have been moments where exposure to something so simple and so stripped down has produced such a beautiful outcome that it forever changes the way that I perceive the world.  Recently, Jesus has provided many “Son House” encounters.  Often when looking at Jesus’ life and reading the Gospels, I have felt like Jack White sitting in that old farm house spinning his Son House forty-five.  Similarly, while I often speak with people intrigued by the “simple church” concept, all I’m hoping we can do here is play “Son House.”

Equally interesting about this film is the complexity in which The Edge approaches the electric guitar.  While Jack White was trying to strip everything down to its most organic elements, The Edge runs every note through a laboratory of devices all in attempt to find “his voice.”  To me it seems maddening… but I’m glad that he does it because in my humble opinion the world is a better place because of Jack White and U2.


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