John Paul White: The gospel in the hearts of blues

Written by CNN Staff

Whether on “Cherokee” or “With You,” you can almost hear the ever-churning gears of history turning in the background as John Paul White strums his guitar.

Four decades into his career, the co-lead singer of The Civil Wars has made his 13th solo album — a substantial and thought-provoking project that touches on a myriad of issues that are as pertinent today as they were when the musician was writing in the early ’80s.

Acoustic guitar licks illuminate his reflections on love, loneliness, death and redemption. While “American Heart” may serve as something of a how-to guide for other artist-songwriters looking to move beyond their influences to an unpretentious level, it’s nothing short of honest.

As the title of the new album suggests, White’s eyes are much more on the American heart than the American landscape. “You’re trying to interpret the same things I’m trying to interpret,” he says, “and you see that it’s all coming from the same place.”

The superstar, who releases a video for the first single “American Heart” on December 7th, does come from the land and grew up in North Carolina. But as they say, home is where the heart is.

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