02 April 2022

Roland White, 23 Apr. 1938-1 Apr. 2022

Thanks to John Lawless on Bluegrass Today and Roger Ryan of the Country Music Association of Ireland for the sad news that Roland Joseph White died yesterday (1 Apr.) after a severe heart attack a week ago.

Born in the northern US state of Maine into the French-Canadian LeBlanc family, who moved to California when Roland was in his teens, he might seem to have been placed on the margins of the bluegrass world. In fact, from his early twenties he was in influential and sometimes ground-breaking bands: from the Kentucky Colonels with his brothers, through years playing guitar as a Blue Grass Boy and mandolin with Lester Flatt & the Nashville Grass, Country Gazette, the Dreadful Snakes, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, and his own Roland White Band.

Roland White was inducted into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 2017, a year after his brother Clarence (1944-73), who had redefined the role of the guitar in bluegrass music. The photos here (above: Mickey Dobo; below, Nicole Christianson), together with more details, links to instructional material, videos, and other recordings, are on his website, and a wealth of additional photos on his Facebook. Bob Black's biography, Mandolin man: the bluegrass life of Roland White, is due to be published by the University of Illinois Press on 7 June.

The BIB sends our condolences to Roland's wife and family.
Roland White and his wife Diane Bouska

Update 6 Apr.: Roland White's funeral service was held today in Madison, TN. See also Richard Thompson's major memoir, 'Roland White remembered - his life in music' on Bluegrass Today, with seventeen videos, a dozen photographs, and a massive discography. 

 © Richard Hawkins

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