Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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May 3, 2014

Austin band member sheds light on CD, single ’Corsicana Lemonade’

AUSTIN — Austin-based rock band White Denim has played shows all over the world, but when it came time to name its sixth studio album, the foursome took a scenic route through a very local landscape. The album, released in late 2013, was named after its title track, “Corsicana Lemonade.”

The song is a restrained blues shuffler that explores themes of aging, reflection and exploring the unknown. “Ten years but I was a young man/15 more and I’ll be old/Couple years I may be a rich man, where it ends up I don’t really know,” singer/guitarist James Petralli whispers behind a wall of reverb.

Drummer Josh Block, a Waxahachie native, shed some light on the song’s origins.

“It’s an idea of Texas memories,” Block said. “Searching for something and running from something within the borders of Texas. By the end of working on the record, it seemed like that was a good place to have the record sit. Kind of in that zone between searching and moving forward but not knowing what you’re moving towards.”

“Nacogdoches up to Lucas, could you pick a better place to lose some change?/Down in Kemah it might seem a little too long a walk out to La Grange/Corsicana, they might slam you/You’d be thirsty for a glass of lemonade,” the song’s chorus howls.

Though now based in Austin, the majority of the band’s members grew up in North Texas, and the small-town influences are not lost in the band’s music.

“Growing up in Waxahachie had a pretty major influence on most of what I do, which is really weird to admit these days,” Block stated. “Going back to being 18 to 21, I probably wouldn’t have admitted that. I appreciate it on a different level now. My wife and I were talking the other night and there was a song on the radio and it immediately made me think of some farm road off of 287 somewhere.”

Block and the band have traveled a long way since his Highway 287 days. Formed in Austin in 2005, White Denim released three full-length albums and grew a strong fan base before signing with New York-based Downtown Records in 2010. The jump to a bigger label provided the band with resources and support that allowed them to evolve in the studio.  

“It’s a different kind of restraint,” Block said. “On our first album, most of our restraint was budget limitations. Nowadays the restraint is much more introspective. It’s like building a shed. Sometimes you have to think about the wood you already have and your budget and resources, but when you have somebody coming to you and saying, ’Hey, what do you want to build? We’ll help you build it,’ it’s different.”

The band’s early albums leaned towards experimental rock while they’re latest effort fuses progressive sounds with southern influences. But to label the band is doing it a disservice. The eclectic take on southern rock is far more accessible to the loner in the library than the linebacker in the locker room.

“I would say that constant exploration is the best way to put it,” Block said. “Every time we’ve done a new record we’ve tried to approach it in a way we haven’t before.”

In March the band performed “Corsicana Lemonade” on Jimmy Kimmel Live during the South by Southwest Music Festival. In May they will travel overseas for a European tour, and this summer they will perform for the first time on the legendary PBS music showcase Austin City Limits.

In another Texas twist, White Denim front man James Petralli is the son of former Texas Rangers catcher Geno Petralli.

“He’s a huge supporter and he comes to all the Dallas shows,” Block stated. “It’s been a while since I haven’t seen him at a show, actually. It’s fun to play DFW because so much family is there.”

Block recalled his days living in the area fondly.

“When I was a kid I did summer baseball leagues and we played in Corsicana quite a bit,” Block said. “Those were good memories. Then when I first got my license, I was a big weekend driver. From the east side of Waxahachie, if you just start driving back roads,  for some reason you always end up in Corsicana. I don’t know why that is.”

Does that mean for White Denim, all roads lead to Corsicana?

“I might just have to take a side gig with a country band before I come down there,” Block chuckled.


On the Net:

The band’s Jimmy Kimmel Live performance:


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