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Morning Sun
  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Bill White does things the old-fashioned way

  • Bill White likes his country music the way it used to be.

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  • Bill White likes his country music the way it used to be.
    “I kind of do it the old-fashioned way,” White said in a telephone interview. “I’m kind of a purist, and do a pretty classic style of country.”
    Local audiences can hear him at the Fort Scott Country Music Show at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Fort Scott Memorial Hall.
    White, 45, said he’s been around music all his life.
    “My mother’s side of the family is really musically oriented,” he said. “They came out of the Carolinas. When I was a kid I saw Ernest Tubb and the Texas Troubadours, and I wanted to be a Troubadour. A man named Billy Cox helped me a lot and got me on a stage show in Atchison when I was about 15.”
    White said he went pretty hard on his music during his 20s  in the Kansas City area. Some of his highlights include playing on stage alongside Don Helms, former steel guitarist to Hank Williams Sr. and opening for Moe Bandy.
    “Then I got married and it all came to an end,” he said. “About five years ago I started taking it seriously again and had some minor successes.”
    He’s been featured several times on the PBS TV show “Kelly’s Kountry Junction” and played in the Fort Scott Jubilee. He’s also been a favorite at the Poncan Opry in Ponca City, Okla.
    “They love me in Ponca  city,” White said. “It’s a great show. I recently got picked up by a booking agent  in Reno. I’ve got a CD and I’d like to get back in a studio and record more.”
    While he loves the old classics, including Hank Williams Sr. songs, White is also open to new selections as well. One songwriter he’s interested in is  Glenn Tubb, nephew of Ernest.
    “I’ve been surrounded by great songwriters,” White said.
    The key is that the music is good.
    “Country music is the common man’s music, made for farmers, truck drivers, the working man,” White said. “Good music has soul to it, it has meaning. I’m country through and through, and I’m a working man. I have a construction business.”
    He lives in Mulberry, Mo.
    “A lot of people don’t know there’s a Mulberry, Mo., but it’s between Amoret and Amsterdam,” he said. “I am the lone occupant of Mulberry. I tell people that I’m the mayor and the chief of police, and I used to be the dogcatcher until my dog ran away.”
    White is away from home a lot.
    “I’ll get in the car and drive anywhere for a show,” he said. “The best part of music is that everyone gets a smile on their face, and that rubs off on the musician. It’s good seeing so many people feeling good in one place. I love visiting with the people as much as playing the music.”
    Page 2 of 2 - One thing he loves visiting with them about is fishing, and he’s noted for his fishing yarns.
    White played at the Fort Scott Country Music Show not too long ago.
    “I’m so glad Steve Cliffman called me again and asked me to come back,”  he said. “It’s a good venue and a great band.”
    The Sunday show will also feature the Swinging West Band with Dewayne Bowman on guitar and vocals; Ginelle Esry, vocalist; Gale Richey, keyboard and vocalist; Ronnie Blecher, drummer; Ernie Reed, fiddle; Randy Vanderpool, bass guitar and vocalist; and Jason Richison, sound system, guitar and vocalist.
    Admission is $10, with those 15 and younger admitted free.
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