Track Premiere: Roland White with Darin & Brooke

Mountain Home Music is set to release a first single from their upcoming Roland White collaboration project with a who’s who of Nashville pickers and singers, Roland White and Friends, A Tribute to the Kentucky Colonels.

Even casual bluegrass historians know that Roland and his brother, Clarence, formed the basis of The Kentucky Colonels, a very popular bluegrass group in California during the early 1960s. They toured throughout the US, and in Europe and Japan, before Clarence took a hiatus during which time he performed with rising country rock group, The Byrds. It was during a reunion tour in 1973 with the Colonels that Clarence lost his life when a drunk driver struck him as the band was loading out after a performance in Palmdale, CA.

Though Clarence’s promising musical career was cut short, Roland has continued on to become an elder statesman in the bluegrass world, still recording and performing at 80 years of age. Mountain Home envisions this new project as chance for him to revisit some of the great music made with his brother more than 50 years ago, assisted by some of the music’s most celebrated artists.

Today, we premiere the first single, which will be released for sale on Friday. The Kentucky Colonels recorded If You’re Ever Gonna Love Me in 1963, with Roland’s distinctive, slightly nasal-sounding voice out front, and it was an instant hit with fans of bluegrass and country music, which were not clearly delineated at that time. The song has been cut many more times since then, and Roland sang it again when he was a member of Country Gazette in the 1980s.

Here, he is joined by Darin and Brooke Aldridge, two of the sweetest-singing grassers of all time. For those of us who have been following Roland White for decades, it is remarkable to note the depth and maturity he has developed over the time he has been a part of our music.

And Roland says that he feels privileged to have so many fine young artists assisting him on the track.

“I want to say what an honor it is to play with the young and great musicians on this album. They made it all happen so nicely. Thanks everyone.”

In addition to Darin and Brooke singing harmony with White, Gina Clowes is on banjo, Jeremy Garrett is on fiddle, Drew Matulich is on guitar, and Jeremy Darrow plays bass. Roland contributes his trademark stream-of-conscioisness mandolin as well.

Radio programmers can get the track now from AirPlay Direct, and consumers will find it wherever they download or stream their favorite music this Friday (August 17).

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.