Effron White,
Day in the Sun
(self-produced, 2000)

It's high time Effron White had his Day in the Sun. With well-crafted songs and an inviting voice, White clearly belongs in the spotlight.

Mind you, it's a long day! At 15 tracks, this CD just might be too much of a good thing. Virtually every song on this album would play well live, but this release might have benefited from some editing so that the truly standout tracks (and there are several) get the attention they deserve.

Upbeat numbers like "Start My Thing" and "Goin' Down Kerrville Way" showcase the Fayetteville artist's lighthearted sense of fun as well as his versatility as a songwriter. The Latin feel of "His Own Best Friend" adds another interesting texture to the album. For my money though, the most successful songs are the straightforward country songs such as "Right Next to Nothing," "Waiting by the Door" and "And the Tears Turn On." These charming songs suit White's plain-spoken delivery perfectly. Plus, they are very well-crafted: fine enough to earn several songwriting awards for White.

The cover versions of Townes Van Zandt's "Pancho and Lefty" and Woody Guthrie's "Hard Travelin" are solid but not particularly unique. The title track, "Day in the Sun," suffers a bit from too-obvious rhymes and a challenging theme. I can't help but think that these songs and a few others could have been tucked in a back pocket for the next album.

However, I'd definitely keep the quirky "Six Friends in a Datsun," which tells a great story and brings out Effron's unique perspective on life, and "On the Road Somewhere" which is a nice way to end the album.

Day in the Sun is very tastefully arranged and recorded by producer Emily Kaitz, who also provides bass, piano and background vocals. Other musical friends include Donna Henscell on fiddle, Ezra Idley on congas, guiro, udu drums and djembe, John Johnston on electric bass, Phil Lancaster on banjo and Kelly Mulhollan on lead guitar.

All in all, Day in the Sun is a sunny and bright debut for the very talented Effron White.

[ by Joy McKay ]
Rambles: 5 January 2002