Music video for Double Trouble by Jack & White, from their first EP, Gemini.
"Want a bite?" Brooke White asks me, holding out a spoon for me take.
She is eating a banana cream pie shake from Sammy’s, a burger joint here in town that has become a haunt of mine since I last posted about it. The shake has a real piece of pie blended into it, and I happily take the spoon from her.
Five hours ago, I didn’t know either Brooke or her bandmate Jack Matranga. Before earlier in the week, I had never heard their duo Jack & White. But now I feel like I’d be comfortable in their company for eons, and have many favorite songs from both of their EP’s.
Five minutes ago, I finally got them all to myself for the second time in the night, the venue clearing out and quieting down around us. We sit on the stage together and I can’t help but marvel at the way a room’s energy changes when the buzzing audience is gone — suddenly we are all just people. She is not Brooke White, the famous former American Idol contestant who gets recognized on the street and whose Google searches bring up everything you could ever want to know. She is just Brooke White, who is 27 weeks pregnant with a currently insatiable appetite and dead tired after her long day. He is not Jack Matranga, Brooke’s talented counterpart who has girls fawning over him and big fame in his future. He is Jack Matranga, who is currently searching in a slight panic for his lost cell phone and packing up gear in the process. And I am not Ashley-Jayne Osborn, independent music journalist who has famous people for friends and connections to Rolling Stone Magazine. Instead, I am Ashley-Jayne Osborn, hard-working and broke college student doing her best to make it in the world with happiness in her hands and some new friends by her side.
We are exactly who we should be.
It is nearly midnight, and Brooke and Jack have had some setbacks today. Their flight was delayed three hours, and as soon as they arrived here in Rexburg, they hit the ground running. They had three events to attend.
They are tired but don’t complain about it once. Rather, they are down-to-earth and radiant. They meet every fan who wants to meet them, taking photo after photo and cracking jokes in the process. Brooke is dazzling, her blonde hair framing her face in a curly mane, and her smile lighting up her whole face. Jack is silly and kind, enthusiastic when meeting each person who comes up to the table and laughing often. They absolutely adore their fans, and it’s completely obvious.
White describes her unexpected musical connection with Matranga to be so instantaneous that they clicked “just like a seatbelt”. The two formed Jack & White a year ago this month, originally getting together to collaborate on a solo album of Brooke’s, and instead discovering how well they play music as a pair. They wrote the song Feathers together (from their first EP Gemini), and fell in love with it. The rest is history.
As for their actual music? White’s smooth soprano harmonizes so richly with Matranga’s sweet tenor that they would be pleasing to listen to if they were just acappella. But couple their voices with both of their wonderful guitar parts as well as the purity of their percussion (as provided by drummer Adam), and you’ve got something truly beautiful on your hands.
They describe themselves as “Self-Everything”, because they are self-recorded, self-mixed, and self-produced. There is no middleman, no bigwig record label. It is just them, in all of their individual glory. It makes sense; especially when you factor in the fact that Matranga is a simple man, preferring to live his life with minimal belongings and maximum amounts of love.
They spent a great deal of their time tonight discussing their newest EP, Winter, whenever they could. It was just released about a month ago and I believe they’re quite right to be proud of it — it’s beautiful, catchy, and robes real-life issues within the magic of their upbeat music. Their first EP, Gemini, was released in August of 2011. It got its name because White and Matranga are both Gemini’s, and although it’s different from Winter, as one would expect… it still has the same qualities. It’s all just lovely.
They are lovely. Really, they are. I could write whole books full of the positive things that I could say about Jack & White. They have not a malicious bone in their body. They do what they do merely because they love it, and can only hope that other people love it too.
I part ways with the pair so honored and happy to have met them.
As I leave Sammy’s, I am showered in hugs and love. Jack hugs me goodbye and speaks to me as though I am now his friend for life — something he seems to naturally do with everyone, but it never wears out. Brooke hugs me tightly goodbye also, letting me know that I’ve now got friends in Los Angeles when I make it out that way. I even get a hug from percussionist Adam, who kept me company earlier in the evening and is just as kind as Jack and Brooke.
I head out into the cold night air with a warm heart, and it is this part of my profession that will never get old. To experience the generosity and genuine intent of others is refreshing every time it happens, and tonight has been no exception.
I hope that one day you, too, will have the opportunity to meet them if you haven’t already, and in the meantime, I hope you’ll listen to their music. You’re in for a treat.
For Jack & White will do nothing but add warmth to your winter and show you the good side of a Gemini.
Jack & White on the web.
Jack & White on Facebook.
Jack & White on iTunes.