The Raconteurs: A Sacred Mission

Photo by David James Swanson Jack White has a trick he uses whenever he starts a recording session. “I like to take a song, any song, and cover it in the studio,” he says. “That gets our brains working, and then we’ll move on to one of our own songs. It’s a way to get the train moving. You’re starting with something that’s already proven itself, and you’re adding to it and putting a new spin on it. So there’s a good recipe for success with cover songs.” That’s how he ended up covering Rudy Toombs’ “I’m Shakin’” on his 2012 solo album Blunderbuss and Bob Dylan’s “New Pony” on the Dead Weather’s Horehound from 2009. If you recognize those songs, you understand that his trick usually backfires in the best way possible: Rather than just being a means of jumpstarting a session, the cover becomes an integral part of the session and the resulting album. That’s exactly what happened when the Raconteurs reconvened recently after a decade-long hiatus. On the drive to the studio for a second round of sessions with guitarist and vocalist Brendan Benson and the world-class rhythm section of bass player Jack “LJ” Lawrence and drummer…

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