Album Review April 2014, Folk Roots Magazine, UK

If a poet’s going to deliver a separation album then I’d like to think Andy White’s got it right on the money. How Things Are is a separation album. Andy White is a poet, albeit one who plays guitar. With minimal vitriol. spite or even anger, he reflects sadly on closing a chapter and the maybes of another yet to come. It’s an album which raises questions, sometimes posed directly by the performer, and sometimes in the mind of the listener. “Everyone’s in love with someone else today / you catch hold of a dream then you gotta throw it away,” he croons, like it’s some kind of casual observation. Elsewhere the closest we get to hurt comes with lines like “you were standing outside looking at me like everything between us had died,” or “I’m living life in a brand new hell.” Ouch! Though even by the close of that track he’s calmer, “you were the closest thing to Heaven in my heart”.

How Things Are is straight from the man’s core, recorded direct as an arrow with minimal help beyond his son on drums, and a one woman string section. Given that such circumstances can craft the roustabout Driftin’ or the more tender Band Of Gold / All It Does Is Rain in which the mirror he holds to past behaviour shows nothing but missed signposts pointing in the direction of severance, he can allow a rueful smile.

Yet as the final track spins into view, after a mixture of soft core folk jangling and bouncy, bopalong rock, White at least changes tack and raises a curious eyebrow with Who Said We’re Gonna Get Another Lennon? If it isn’t going to be him, then a cynical eye is cast over the competition: “Has anyone here seen Dylan?”

Whether the next firebrand is going to be a reawakened Andy White isn’t clear, we can but hope.

While he’s deciding, you can join him in his philosophical contemplation, then wish him well. He’s a brave man putting his emotions, if not on the line, at least out in the open for all to share.

Simon Jones, April 2014