Matthew E. White performs "Big Love" in the WKNC Lounge


In October, the N.C. State radio station WKNC launched a new online feature called The Lounge: They’d invite local or touring acts to stop into their Raleigh studios, sit down in front of a few branded banners and bumper stickers and play some songs in a stripped-down setting. It’s not a new idea, of course, but it’s a good way to hear tunes you might know in a different context. To date, the series has offered interesting versions of tunes by acoustic guitarist Daniel Bachman, indie rock dude Jackson Scott and local favorites The Love Language.

Today, we’re excited to premiere the first track of the fourth session, featuring Richmond bandleader Matthew E. White. In 2012, White issued his debut album, Big Inner, a Spiritualized-sized romp from New Orleans to New York, with horns, strings and a choir helping White navigate his songs of love, loss and devotion. Big Inner remains one of my favorite records of the last five years; in fact, I like it so much that, when I worked for the Hopscotch Music Festival, White and a crew of three-dozen Richmond musicians performed Big Inner in its entirety at the Fletcher Opera Theater.

Since that show, White and a much smaller band have played more than 200 shows around the world. The experience has added a bit of rock gusto to their little soul symphonies, something I noticed when the band played Kings last month. Earlier in the day, though, White took an evermore reduced crew—his guitar and voice, with Pinson Chanselle and Scott Clark on very casual percussion—into the WKNC studio to perform “Big Love.” I love the rhythm of this take, not to mention the almost desert-blues vibe White starts to conjure with his guitar near song’s end. Watch below.

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