The first single “Rise” from Marc White’s debut album Parallel Life is the fruits of collaboration between White and producer Jeff Grenier. Grenier aided White in overcoming longstanding anxiety about the recording process and has elicited a powerful series of performances that are revelatory about White’s heart and his potential. “Rise” is a particularly passionate opening salvo to his career that few artists receive and it’s the pinnacle, to this point, of a upward trajectory White has traveled since first beginning to play music at eight years old. He’s played saxophone and guitar while developing his songwriting talent since the dawn of his thirties while pursuing a non-artistic career as a salesman. Despite moving into another world, White never relinquished his love for music and it is finally paying off for him in a manner honoring his considerable talents. “Rise” marks the beginning of a career on the rise.
There’s an almost anthemic quality to “Rise” and it’s shaped to perfect effect with its four minute plus running time in mind. Unlike many other writers and performers in this stylistic area, Marc White never clutters the song’s anthemic-like inclinations with too much musical weight and the song breathes nicely, airy, and undeniably melodic. The uplift from the verses into the chorus are impeccably handled while the song’s other sections are flawlessly integrated into the larger whole. There’s a good mix of acoustic and electric guitars in “Rise” and the sound of both is meticulously rendered without suffering from a plethora of effects applied to their approach. The song benefits, as well, from some authoritative drumming and has a hard hitting sound without ever coming off as too oppressive. The song’s production makes everything comes across with great physicality , but the mix is equally successful and gives the key instruments wide berth while still making the performance come to vivid life.
Marc White’s singing is impassioned without ever coming off as overwrought and hits all of the key musical spots in the way a great singer shapes his voice to the song. White isn’t the sort of singer who attempts dominating compositions; instead, he sings with the band rather than imposing his will. “Rise”, likewise, has some great lyrics that take this in another direction than similarly titled efforts – yes, this song is about some of what you might assume it to be about, but there’s much more he says here that’s unique to him and bears the print of his own style. “Rise” is one of the great first singles I’ve heard in a recent memory and gets the impending campaign to push his new album release off to the best possible start. This is the first shot in a sure to be explosive career that will last and evolve for years to come.