Roland White passes away
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Roland White passes away

Wednesday, April 6, 2022 – Roland White an influential mandolin player in bluegrass and country music, died on April 1 at 83. He had complications after suffering a heart attack.

White was born in Madawaska, Maine on April 23, 1938 as Roland Joseph LeBlanc, and grew up speaking French. The family Anglicized the name to White. At a young age, White formed a bluegrass band that performed locally with his two brothers (Eric and Clarence) and his sister (Joanne).

After a two-year U.S. Army, White re-joined the family band, The Country Boys, now renamed The Kentucky Colonels. In 1967, he signed up with the Blue Grass Boys, the backup band of his childhood idol Bill Monroe. He remained with Monroe until 1969, when he joined the Nashville Grass, the new backup band of Lester Flatt.

White stayed with Flatt until 1973, when he, Clarence and Eric re-united as The New Kentucky Colonels. But tragedy soon struck. He and Clarence were struck by an automobile as they loaded their equipment into their car after a performance in California. Roland White suffered a dislocated shoulder, but Clarence died.

White then joined the progressive bluegrass group Country Gazette with Byron Berline, Alan Munde and , staying with them for 13 years. In 1987, he joined the Nashville Bluegrass Band, remaining until 2000. After that he formed the Roland White Band, which was still active until his death.

White was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association's Hall of Fame in 2018. The Kentucky Colonels went into the IBMA Hall in 2019.

CD reviews for Roland White

CD review - I Wasn't Born to Rock N Roll (digital) A bluegrass mandolin standard bearer, Roland White took the long road. Born in northern Maine, White found the bluegrass bug after moving to California. A founder of The Kentucky Colonels, White played with both Bill Monroe and Lester Flatt prior to recording this album, originally released in 1976. By then a member of The Country Gazette, White called on band mates to record this, which is repackaged on CD for the first time. This invigorating bluegrass album is filled with spirited picking and singing. ...

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