Roland White is among our most senior members of the bluegrass community, having been involved in the music professionally for more than 60 of his 80 years. During that time he performed with some of the most influential acts in the business, including Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, Country Gazette, and Nashville Bluegrass Band.
But he’ll always be most fondly remembered as a founder of The Kentucky Colonels with his brother Clarence. The band toured all over the world, and appeared on television during the folk revival of the 1960s, and collectors hold on to their various recordings as prized possessions.
This Friday Mountain Home Music Company will release a new album called A Tribute To The Kentucky Colonels by Roland White and Friends. It features Roland with a rotating cast of musical pals, taken from the best that bluegrass has to offer.
Today we have a preview of one of the tracks, the evergreen Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms, which he tells us he has been doing for quite some time.
“The Flatt & Scruggs band was one of our greatest inspirations and this is one of their classics. After singing this song for many years with The Kentucky Colonels I landed the mandolin job in Lester Flatt’s band and got to sing and play it with Lester. That was a dream come true, singing with Lester! (Another dream come true was that he actually paid a salary!) He did the song very fast, and I could play really fast back then. I still do it, a little slower now, but it’s still a ‘good ‘un’!”
Roland is assisted on this track by Billy Strings on guitar, Russ Carson on banjo, Brittany Haas on fiddle, and Jon Weisberger on bass. Roland sings and plays the mandolin, with Billy Strings taking the harmony vocals.
On Friday, Nashvillians can hear music from the album at Roland’s release party at The Station Inn. White will perform songs from the record with many of the artists who assisted in the studio, starting at 9:00 p.m.