By SANDY COHEN
Jack White’s second solo album is steeped in tones of his adopted hometown, Nashville. Lighthearted piano, sprightly fiddle and soulful slide guitar lend a country twang to most of the 11 tracks.
White is more open musically on “Lazaretto” than any of his previous works, whether with the White Stripes, Raconteurs, Dead Weather or solo. He shares the vocal spotlight with fiddler-singer Lillie Mae Rische and Ruby Amanfu, who belongs to the Peacocks, an all-female band that backed White while touring for his first solo album, 2012’s “Blunderbuss.”
The Dead Weather-esque title single heralds the new album perfectly: a blend of White’s signature guitar-heavy blues rock seasoned with some folksy charm.
Where “Blunderbuss” explored love and loss, “Lazaretto” is more about love and loneliness. Parlor piano opens an ode to solitary life, “Alone in My Home.” A country fiddle cries at the beginning of “Temporary Ground,” about life’s fleeting nature.
White does the crying and lets his distorted guitar do the talking on “High Ball Stepper.” Harmonica, organ and piano join in on another rocker, the boastful romp “Three Women” — the album’s only track White didn’t write alone; he shares credit with late blues guitarist Blind Willie McTell.
At 38, firmly rooted in rock’s lexicon and surrounded by Nashville’s rich history, White stretches out on “Lazaretto” and leaves his future wide open.