Jack White inhabits the look and the style onstage of the rocker who breaks boundaries, and since his teen years, the dark-haired, distinctive White has used his music to explore his own playful and dark dimensions. His love of music has drawn him to many genres and earned him Grammy awards and critical acclaim. Jack White is as comfortable in an Americana string band as he is behind a mixing board doing “Lazaretto” style rapping, and his pure passion oozes from his pores. Third Man Records began as an outlet to preserve the albums of The White Stripes to vinyl for posterity and has grown into a “Candyland” for music lovers and collectors, a beloved treasury for the preservation of American roots music, and a portal for new artists bringing their own style into traditions.

Jack White discussed the unexpected success of his venture in vinyl on “CBS This Morning.”

Pressing on

Everything about Third Man Records both delights and astounds Jack White. He is exuberant about the eight new pressing machines installed in his Detroit factory, the first new such machines to be up and working in 35 years. The consummate artist never saw himself as a captain of industry, but he is constantly envisioning new designs, new concepts, and new directions for his label, as well as the music history it encapsulates. He admits that part of what drives his adventure in the resurgence of vinyl is an “incredible sense of not knowing when to stop.” There seems to be no reason for stopping anytime soon. Vinyl is expected to be a $1 billion industry this year, and his label founded in 2001 remains at the forefront for not only music preservation, but music collection as art.

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“I thought it would be a loss,” relates White, referring to the start of his label. Quite the contrary, the enterprise keeps in the black figures of profitability, and still allows the aesthetic dreams of the man who started out as a furniture upholsterer to run wild.

Jack White leaves much of the day-to-day business of the Nashville warehouse and retail haven of Third Man Records in the hands of longtime friend, Ben Swank. “One of the biggest contentions in my marriage is that my wife is amazed that there's no business plan,” jokes Swank. Most of the artistic aspects of Third Man Records offerings are collaborative between White and Swank, who collect volumes in voice and instrument simply because they “should exist,” to quote manager Swank. Above the door frame of the record shop, filled with adoring “music junkies,” there is a turntable carved into the wood. The look of every decor touch and product sold matters to Jack White. Just as he created the disc of his “Lazaretto” album to be unlike anything else, and part of the listener’s experience, there is exquisite attention to detail, as in the wooden sleeve carved exclusively for “The Great Gatsby” soundtrack, or luminous light streaks embedded into a lecture given by astronomer, Carl Sagan.

“I stay up nights thinking a lot more about how things look than how many records sell” asserts White.

Something for the future

Jack White hoped to emulate Henry Ford in his vision for Third Man Records. “You put raw materials in here, and you pop out cars on the other end,” he describes as the model. He is almost there with his production, declaring that everything apart from the “sleeves and the plating” are done on site. There is his deep concern for continuing the gifts of young artists into the next generation and making connections “beyond disposable music” of today. Jack White opens up “the blue room” to allow artists and audiences to intimately connect, and records performances directly onto acetate. Third Man Records is exclusive in offering this form of direct technology.

Considering all in competition with his “old school” yet enduring line of unique selections, “with people on their cell phones, computers, and constant media,” White knows that he has to create a product that makes meaningful connections, and his latest artist, Lillie Mae, is ensuring that next generation talent takes its place with enduring themes in music. The virtuoso fiddle player of the Rische family has been a prodigy since age 7, and Jack White produced her just-released album, “Forever and Then Some.” She performed “Honky-Tonks and Taverns” and “Wash Me Clean” in a special blue room concert.

Thanks to Jack White and his nurturing care within many gardens of American music, the future is fertilized to leave viable seeds for eons to come.