So I was reviewing the Folk DJ list for July this morning and then went to Rhapsody to check out some names. I couldn’t find a lot of them so I went to emusic.com and found several of them there. The one that stood out was Will White and his new album Rise Above. Why did his album stand out you ask. You did ask that right! Well the answer was track number five “Fredericksburg 1862”. Anyone who writes Civil War songs is ok with me and I have a particular soft spot for Fredericksburg because my great-great grandfather John Ashton was there as a member of the New Jersey 23rd along with his brother in law Edmund Parezo and one of my wife’s two of my wife’s ancestors, a Kressler ancestor and John Leroy French who was a member of the 5th New Hampshire. Jonathan was one of the last flag carriers that day and was seriously wounded on that bloody hillside. But I digress from the music! Basically, this is a great Americana album. You take a little folk, a lot of bluegrass and some gospel and you mix it all up and you have Will White’s music! From his myspace page.
Will White grew up in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, and was raised on eastern North Carolina bluegrass music, in the country outside of Greenville, surrounded by tobacco farms and cornfields and woods. He learned to sing and play from a young age at pig-pickin’s and bluegrass jam sessions (in North Carolina, a pig-pickin’ is when you slow roast a whole pig outdoors in a pig cooker for a night and a day, throw some chickens in at the end, slather everything with a vinegar and chili pepper barbecue sauce, and invite all the musicians you know to stay up all night long picking bluegrass). Will married a girl from western Canada, where they live now in Alberta, on the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains. Will’s roots are in bluegrass, blues, old school country, gospel, and primitive American traditional folk music. He performs solo, with bluegrass band Widow Maker, and as a duo or trio with Widow Maker bandmates Byron Myhre (fiddle, mandolin) and Dale Ulan (upright bass).
This album is just a treat from the first song “Mournin’ Dove” to the last song the title track “Rise Above”. The song that first caught my attention “Fredericksburg 1862” is every bit as good as I hoped it would be and really captures the tragedy of that battle. Throughout the album the acoustic & National steel slide guitar and banjo picking provided by Will is exceptional and Byron Myhre fiddle playing is equally as good. The vocals and songwriting are also terrific! There are a couple of instrumentals “Backcountry” and “November Waltz” and some songs with political and religious commentary “I Wanna Meet Jesus” and “I’ll Never Do Time Again” Ok I’ve gushed enough so I’ll let someone else do it:
“excellent lead vocalist – a Gram Parsons pained feel via White’s broken edged vocals” -Maverick Magazine (UK)
“Will White is an awesome song writer” -Uncle Billy Dunbar, Country Unplugged Bluegrass Radio, worldwidebluegrass.com
So if you don’t know Will White check him out and No Depression friend Easy Ed I think you should just head over to CDBaby and plop you money down if you don’t already have Will’s music in your library! As for me I’m heading back to emusic to pick up the Widow Maker’s album The Awful Truth!
Here’s “I’ll Never Do Time Again” and you can check out other videos at his youtube page
Will White on Youtube