“Old Town Road”, the country trap song that’s captured America’s heart for 15 straight weeks, has just found an unlikely fan in… Jack White. The Detroit native praised the Lil Nas X single in a new interview. He also unexpectedly cosigned former enemies The Black Keys, polarizing rock sensations Greta Van Fleet, and Twenty One Pilots.
Speaking to Rolling Stone, White described “Old Town Road” as “beautiful” and appreciated how the song defied all odds to become a smash hit. “The song is only a minute and 47 seconds long or something — that’s how long ‘Fell in Love With a Girl’ was,” he remarked. “People said, ‘They’re not going to play that on radio.’ But it worked, and it’s great that it’s happening again.”
On the topic of rock music that gives “him hope,” White listed off The Black Keys and The Hives. “It’s also great that people still appreciate a band that writes songs like Vampire Weekend and Twenty One Pilots,” added The Raconteurs rocker. “It’s just really great songwriting.”
The Black Keys mention should come as a surprise for those who’ve followed White’s career. In the past, White has condemned the blues rock duo for copying The White Stripes. When asked about the previous rock beef between the two acts, the Third Man Records leader said they’re now friends and bond over their shared love of garage rock and vinyl records,
“I respect all rock & rollers. I think [the beef] was some lawyers trying to screw me over and trying to take something out of context. [The Black Keys drummer] Patrick Carney stopped by while we were recording this Raconteurs album and let me borrow a microphone. That was cool of him.”
Yet another left-field band acknowledged by White is Greta Van Fleet, who are often maligned for emulating Led Zeppelin just a little too much. White likened GVF’s rise to that of The White Stripes, who, early on, were also accused of ripping off classic rock acts.
“They’re three Polish brothers from Frankenmuth, Michigan — I thought that was a joke! But it’s exciting to see young people play rock & roll, no doubt about it. That guy has a very cool voice. The more he makes it his own, the better. People used to say, when I first came out, ‘He sounds like Robert Plant.’ If you keep pushing forward, that shit goes away.”
Elsewhere in the interview, White discussed how Bob Dylan’s mentorship has affected him and whether The Raconteurs are still playing the on-the-brink-of-collapse Woodstock 50 festival (“I don’t really understand it myself”). He also talked about his new honorary doctorate from Wayne State University. Read the full interview over on Rolling Stone.
Revisit Help Us Stranger single “Bored and Razed”: