ACL Music Fest Interviews

ACL Music Fest Interviews

The Raconteurs

Saturday, 6:30pm, AT&T stage

Make no mistake about it: Jack White and the Raconteurs are in it for the long haul.

"We're very serious about trying to forge an identity as a band separate from the Greenhornes and that sort of thing," power-pop troubadour Brendan Benson says in between rehearsals for the 2006 MTV Music Awards.

"It's no different than an actor stepping on a set the first day and being expected to perform a certain role," White retorts. "We're still in the process of figuring out our sound and who we are as a band, but we're also having to prove ourselves each time we perform."

The enigmatic White Stripes frontman plays his part perfectly on the Raconteurs' debut album, Broken Boy Soldiers (V2). Despite the strength of his soulful serenading on cryptic slow-burner "Blue Veins" and his psychedelic face-melting on "Level," his presence accentuates the majestic songwriting of Benson and the driving rhythm tandem of Patrick Keeler and Jack Lawrence. The collaboration originally began after Benson invited White over for a cup of tea and played for him what became "Steady, as She Goes."

"What was surprising was how quickly it all came together," White recalls. "We wrote the whole album in 10 days and eventually just had to stop ourselves after the 10 songs and focus on what we'd already written."

Benson emphasizes the songs as "ideas" that are "always evolving and changing" as the band matures. "The record captures the band in a very early stage," he says, "which was important to us, because we'll never have the opportunity to sound like that again."

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