THE uncategorisable Jim White could never be filed under easy listening. With songs about serial killers, loss and gnawing despair, White is a southern craftsman working mostly in the miserable form.

This blue collar musician has often flirted with fame, yet it has proved elusive. Fine critical words butter few parsnips and even Breaking Bad didn’t buck this trend.

Yet White’s fortunes appear again on the upswing and he is in demand as musician, producer and visual artist. However, he continues to make for uncomfortable listening.

White deals out a number of awkward truths with his literate story songs. Objects In Motion, which he joked was his least popular song (a travesty if true), cleverly caught the altered reality of serious depression.

Shorn of the sophisticated productions on his studio LPs, the settings were starker. Like Nick Drake, White’s soft voice draws you in on record like a flickering candle in the dark. Live, the singing wasn’t pretty, but the originality that first caught David Byrne’s attention was also obvious.

Performing alongside guitarist Clive Barnes (who delivered a musically stunning opening set), the folk and country material covered a wide sweep from the much-loved earlier material like Perfect Day and Chase Tornados, to the last number of his most resurgent Waffles, Triangles And Jesus album.

As a storyteller White is in a class of his own and over his two-hour set, he was edgily entertaining. In song conversely, the more cornball numbers like Playing Guitars were weak and even the mighty Handcuffed To A Fence In Mississippi felt somehow restrained.

The night's sad highlights came late, with a set of stunningly autobiographical songs about his characteristically complicated family life. Christmas Day and Bluebird (still his finest hour) were masterpieces, pure, simple and true.