When you turn on the radio, you hear about the same blend of songs and singers being played. Then your ears turn to the attention of a southern rustic sounding voice that fills with twang and soul. Drake White would be that true southern country soul that the listener can identify with. Today he will be co-headlining with Maggie Rose the WFKY Froggy Field Party in Eminence, Ky. Things kick off at 5:00 p.m. with a singer-songwriter stage and then the main entertainment. Prior to his show, I had the opportunity to speak with Drake White on his music and southern living.
Recently, you signed a deal with Dot Records as part of Big Machine Records. Last time we chatted, you were on Mercury Records. Was there any particular reason for the change?
It was just a career change. Changes happen, things happen, and you have to go do what is best for you. I loved my team over at UMG. This is definitely my home now and where we’re suppose to be. There’s a lot of intertwined parts in this business and we’ve lined ourselves in the best possible place to succeed. There is a great staff at Mercury, but we’re absolutely ecstatic to be with Scott Borchetta and Chris Stacey at Big Machine and Dot.
You released “The Simple Life” as a single, but no record came to play. Is there a new approach, new single, album, etc. in the works?
We’re in the process right now and we’ve got a bunch of good songs that we’ve wrote that we really like. The whole creative process has been cool the last few months. We’ll have a new single this fall in late August/early September that will go out to radio.
Will we hear it Saturday night during the Froggy Field Party?
Yes, probably so.
Your career has evolved over the years. I remember hearing about you through Wayne Mills many years ago. Then you were opening as part of the Bluebird Cafe stage on the Willie Nelson Country Throwdown and we met then. Next was opening for Blackberry Smoke. Did you imagine back when you first started out where you would be today?
I’ve done a lot of thinking. Everyone has their own path in this business. Everyone has their own path in life. I know it sounds like a cliche, but this music business is different. You can’t come in here and do it just like Eric Church did it, or how Garth Brooks did it. It’s about carving out your way and carving out your own path. You need to be a trail blazer because there is no way, no pamphlet on how to make your way in this industry. You’ve got to do it yourself and wake up with a faith that you got up this morning. It’s really your own path. Everyone has got their path. I’ve got my own path that is unique to me.
There are many talented musicians from Alabama from Hank Williams and Vern Gosdin to Ashton Shepherd and Wayne Mills and more. Describe the music coming out of Alabama.
I think a lot of music comes from the landscape, the geographical location of where we’re placed. In Alabama, we tend to spend a lot of time outdoors because it’s a beautiful state. To me, I think it’s the Appalachian Mountains in northeast Alabama down to Auburn and then to the Gulf Shores. I think the music lives inside of that. The music lives in the landscape and it lives in the people. The landscape determines the natural resources of where you’re at. It determines the jobs really. It’s a lot of hardworking people that work hard, have family, and have faith. I think that’s why Alabama is so well verse in musicians. It’s in the water, in the trees, in the mountains, and music is in the landscape.
You have a strong touring schedule. What do you do in your down time?
My wife and I like to have people over. I like to cook and have events at the house where people come over. We’ll throw horse shoes and cook, hang out and talk; really invest in relationships with people I love and enjoy hanging around. I really enjoy the outdoors and everything. I like to kayak, water-ski, fish, and hunt for sure. I like see and explore many things.
Considering your song “50 Years Too Late,” who would you have loved to record with back fifty years ago?
What do you hope fans will take away from your performance at the Froggy Field Party?
I tell everybody during the show that we get out there and play and take the stage, I only want to do is give somebody a brief moment in time where they can forget about bills on the table, forget about a sickness or hurt or hangups or whatever. We can go out there and we can make people become lost in the present. We can create a moment. I hope we can take away a moment and a memory. Feel the spirit of what we’re trying to do.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians. Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award Recipients. In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky. She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Hollercast podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.