Craig Bakay | Aug 07, 2019
If you’ve ever been to the Flinton Community Jamboree, chances are you’ve seen Bill White perform. He’s played at every one, sometimes with The White Brothers Classic Country, sometimes with White Pines, his bluegrass band. For the 2019 edition, he played with both.
But as a good Plevna boy, the Flinton Jamboree is something of a ‘home game’ for him.
“It’s as close as I get,” he said. “I was here Day 1 and I don’t think I’ve missed a year (14 years actually).
“I don’t know why (laughs).”
Actually, it was growing up in Plevna that formed his musical roots, during those formative years.
“We had an old radio and at night we could get Wheeling West Virginia,” he said. “When the Beatles played Ed Sullivan, a lot of my friends were talking about it but I never had an interest in rock’n’roll.
“I listened to Mac Wiseman.”
(He actually got to be in Wiseman’s back-up band on two occasions and he mentions it with reverence in his voice.)
He says a song has to mean something to him for him to sing it.
“I’m not a writer,” he said. “But you have to sing a song with conviction.
“And I prefer a story song.”
While he admits to not being much of a rocker, he does excel at classic country and bluegrass.
He really doesn’t have a preference but does acknowledge that each genre is a slightly different headspace.
“With the country band, (which includes brother Murray on electric guitar, Tom Gardiner on electric bass, son Joe on fiddle and Gerry Ratz on drums), we do a lot of (Merle) Haggard,” he said. “Like we do at Little Texas on Sundays. “With the bluegrass, we don’t have drums keeping the beat so I have to do more of that, strumming heavier on guitar, so they’re marching to my time.”
And it all seems to be working.
White and his bands are busy every weekend in the summer and he rattles off a list of up coming gigs to prove it.
But he’ll always have a soft spot for the Flinton Jamboree.
“I’ve had a lot of good times here,” he said. “And I look forward to coming back.
“And, I’m available.”
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