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Jack White’s Band The Raconteurs Announce New Album 'Help Us Stranger'

The Raconteurs new album artwork. Image via Facebook.com/theraconteurs

Jack White’s band The Raconteurs announced they are releasing a new album. Titled Help Us Stranger it’s their first in 11 years. As noted by Billboard the supergroup -- which along with White includes Brendan Benson, Jack Lawrence, and Patrick Keeler -- are back together to record the album, which follows up 2008’s Consolers Of The Lonely.

It will be out 21 June on Jack White’s label Third Man Records. It was recorded in the label’s studios in Nashville, self-produced by the band and has 11 original tracks which White and Benson wrote. It also features a cover of Donovan’s “Hey Gyp (Dig the Slowness)”.

Along with the band members, the album features a collaboration with The Dead Weather’s Dean Fertita, and Third Man Record’s Lillie Mae Rische and her sister Scarlett Rische. The band are returning to the stage this coming weekend too, performing at the ten years anniversary of Third Man Records in Nashville.

Along with that they’ve also announced they’ll be performing in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Europe. You can check out a track from the new album below, called “Sunday Driver” with video directed by Steven Serbing.

And if you’re wondering where Jack White’s record label got its name (apart from the movie, The Third Man, starring Orson Welles), well, it turns out that the musician has a bit of a thing for the number 3. In a recent video from YouTube channel Polyphonic, music journalist Noah Lefevre explores the eccentric musician’s love of the magic number.

Lefevre notes that, “From song names to label names to changing his own name, the number 3 has had a significant impact on Jack White’s entire career, both aesthetically and musically.”

So it’s not just a passing fad then. Lefevre does a deep dive into how this number, which occurs regularly in myth, folktales and religion, has influenced White. It all began when White was an upholsterer and was stapling down some fabric, when he had an epiphany.  He told the Guardian about the moment in an interview from 2012.

Jack White's former band, The White Stripes, before their gig at an amphitheatre in Berkeley, San Francisco in September 2004. © Andy Willsher

“It was a Vladimir Kagan couch, the fabric was pink with silver threads”. he says. “I had three staples tamping the fabric down, left, right and centre, and I just stared at it for 10 minutes, it became hypnotic. This was the minimum amount of staples I could put to hold this fabric down. The number three exemplifies the almost iconic, mysterious perfection that cannot be obtained. A table has to have three legs or else it falls down. A traffic light has three lights. A car wheel can stay on with three bolts. It goes on and on. There are these three elements to everything, and if you can discover what those three are as your structure, then you're on the right path. To this day, I still think about it all the time. When I write a song, I have to build a structure, I have to build upon that."

What's known as the three chord structure is actually the basic building block of blues songs, which begat rock and roll. And the three chord structure is what forms the basis of the 12-bar blues, one of the most popular patterns in music. And something White has used for numerous songs.

And it’s not just songs, but it permeates all aspects of White’s work. From releasing 3-inch vinyl records when in The White Stripes to changing his name to Three Quid to performing with three microphones to even being incorporating the number into accessing content on White's website, it’s everywhere.

Check out the video below for more on this obsession. And check out more from The Raconteurs at the Third Man Records website.

Rockarchive is delighted to be able to offer Jack White and White Stripes images as limited edition photographic prints which you can buy here.

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