Will White- Rise Above

Apologies for ignoring the blog for most of the past two weeks; things just keep piling up. I really need to start knocking out some of the jobs as they aren’t going away. My problem, of course- not yours. In today’s Red Deer Advocate Roots Music column, I advance several coming shows- including Sarah Harmer this weekend and a double bill of Rodney DeCroo and Carolyn Mark (The Vat) Monday and Tuesday. I also review Will White’s new album Rise Above, a very strong debut release with powerful songs steeped in the traditions of the south. It is lovely and quite without fault, a very rare occurance in my opinion.  Make a point of listening to some new roots music this weekend- even better if you pay for it!

Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald

Roots music column, originally published September 17, 2010 in the Red Deer Advocate

Will White  Rise Above Self-released

Based in Calgary, Will White hasn’t been a prominent member of the Alberta roots community for very long. Proving himself adept on a number of instruments throughout this debut recording – National steel, banjo, and guitar- readers may recall White as a notable and shining presence on Widow Maker’s sole recording, The Awful Truth.

Born in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains, White’s southern influences permeate his songs, ensuring authenticity.  Self-described as performing ‘Acoustic Americana Fusion,’ White blends mountain sounds with a folksinger’s lyrical acumen. Will is a wonderful singer and musician, but making him even more impressive is the depth of his songwriting.

Generously compiled, this hour-long album serves as a survey of the very best elements of modern, acoustic roots music. “Firelight Waltz: is a mournful tale thick with the fundamentals of classic ballads- timeless love, anticipated death, and oaths taken to heart. “Baby You Put the Hurt on Me” swings amidst infidelity and murder with “Climbin’” and “I Wanna Meet Jesus” explore the gospel tradition in unexpected ways.

“June Bug” and “Mournin’ Dove” will appeal to those who favour Stanley-style bluegrass with “Run Chicken Run” proving a lighthearted bluegrass romp.

The album’s central track is the epic “Fredericksburg 1862”. With Byron Myhre providing deft fiddle accompaniment, White relates the true tale of a Civil War soldier and humanitarian lending comfort to injured and dying foes on a battlefield of frozen mud. With cinematic accuracy, White communicates gentle heroics in the midst of a one-sided conflict.

Like the finest of those who choose to explore their art within bluegrass-friendly confines, White bridges the distance between the past and the present and reveals himself as a continually developing artist. The Will White Trio appears at The Matchbox October 2.

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