Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Blossom Festival headliner Drake White ready to have a funky time in Macon

Drake White, singer, songwriter: ‘I feel like I’m at home when I’m in Macon’

Self-described Appalachian soul singer Drake White talks about his upbringing, career and coming appearance at the Cherry Blossom Festival while walking around a European city.
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Self-described Appalachian soul singer Drake White talks about his upbringing, career and coming appearance at the Cherry Blossom Festival while walking around a European city.

By the time singer/songwriter Drake White rolls into Macon to headline the 2019 Cherry Blossom Festival on Saturday, March 30, he will have put a lot of international miles on his boots.

He will have has just returned from touring Europe as part of the Country to Country Festival.

The Telegraph caught up with the singer and his wife, Alex, by telephone in early March as they walked around one of the many cities on the tour.

Q: Thanks for making the time to talk with us. Where are you calling from?

A: We are actually touring right now in the Netherlands with Chris Stapleton, Lyle Lovett and Ashley McBryde. So, we’re out here on this really cool festival deal called C2C and just playing in all these European countries. It’s pretty amazing.

Q: Speaking of live performances, for those who haven’t seen you in concert before, can you describe what your live performances are like in three or four words?

A: Energetic, passionate. It’s like Appalachian soul, funky, just a good time. That’s more than three or four words. (laughs) My job is to serve those fans out there who have paid to come see us and so we take it very seriously. We go out there and it’s like Garth Brooks on acid.

Q: Can you take us behind the scene of a day in the life of Drake White before a concert?

A: Usually, I wake about 8 o’clock on a concert day and I go work out. I like to run about two or three miles and then I get a shower and get with the band, get a sound check and all that deal. Then, I walk around the city. I like to walk around the city and meet the locals. About two hours from showtime, I like to start chilling with the band, have a little music on. It’s really laid back.

Q: You’ve described your music as “Appalachian soul, and funky.” What artists or bands influenced the kind of music that you create?

A: (Some of it) is going back to my grandfather being a preacher. I grew up in the Baptist church. My dad was a great singer, my mom was a great singer and they always encouraged me to go out and do this thing and if you’re gonna do it, have a good time at it. I’m a product of my dad’s record collection and that was everything from Led Zeppelin to ZZ Top to the Marshall Tucker Band to the Allman Brothers to Ray Charles and Willie Nelson. My mom loved ‘90s country so Garth Brooks and Clint Black and then Bob Marley, John Coltrane and some of the older jazz type stuff. It’s quite a gumbo.

Q: As you think about coming here, are there one or two songs that you plan to sing at the concert that were chosen with Macon or Georgia in mind?

A: I don’t even know what songs I’m going to play (here in Amsterdam) tonight. (laughs) Once I get (to Macon), I’m gonna just let (the music) come to me.

Q: So as we talk, it sounds like you’re out walking now.

A: I am literally walking around. The sound you might hear is the trolley going by me right now.

Q. What’s the weather like over there?

A: It’s raining and about 45 degrees, but I’ve got a good jacket on and we’re walking all over the place.

Q: You’ve played Macon before so when you were here did you visit any memorable places or did you just hang out with your band?

A: Going to the Big House (The Allman Brothers Band Museum) … we definitely did that. And just walking around downtown, looking at all the brick and everything, running around and then stopping and meeting a couple of folks. I’ll be just tooling around (when I come back there this time.) I feel like I’m at home when I’m Macon. Just being from Alabama and doing so much traveling as we’ve done and continue to do, I just feel like when I come to a place like Macon, people walk like me, talk like me, smell like me and dance like me, you know.(laughs) It’s kinda like a welcome home-type thing.

Q: Any last words about the concert for the fans here in Macon?

A: There’s gonna be everything from country to rock ‘n’ roll. There might even be a Pearl Jam song mixed in there, who knows. It’s (gonna) be a good night, a fun night. I’m gonna involve the crowd so bring your kid, your neighbor, bring your dog. I mean, it’s gonna be a good time. The festival is gonna just be off the chain.

Drake White Bio

Where he’s from: Northeastern Alabama

Genre of music: Appalachian soul

Latest release: Drake White and the Big Fire (Live) EP

About the Drake White Concert

What: Party in the Park

When: Sat. March 30, 6:30 p.m. - 10 p.m.

Where: Center City Park

Cost: The concert is free with $5 admission to the park, children under 10, free