Bella White has a one-of-a-kind musical talent: a finespun breed of country/folk both fresh in perspective and wholly steeped in bluegrass tradition, despite her upbringing in the Canadian city of Calgary. Her sophomore album unfolds with gorgeously textured layers encompassing elements of country, folk, indie, and classic rock.
Produced by Jonathan Wilson (Angel Olsen, Father John Misty), Among Other Things embodies a strangely enchanting sound that fully matches the immense depth of Bella White’s inner world - an element brought to life through her lived-in exploration of such complex themes as searching for purpose, the resilience of the human heart, and the deep-rooted tension between restlessness and inertia. Recorded at Fivestar Studios in Topanga Canyon, the album emerged from her free-flowing collaboration with Wilson and a stacked lineup of musicians, including Big Thief guitarist Buck Meek, indie-folk singer/songwriter Erin Rae, Drew Erickson (a multi-instrumentalist/string arranger known for his work with Weyes Blood and Lana Del Rey), and White’s longtime bandmate Patrick M’Gonigle (on fiddle, violin, and tenor guitar). “It was especially exciting for me to have Buck involved with this record,” White notes. “He’s got such an incredible ear for weaving through the songs and finding those little empty spaces that could use a touch of magic.”
In a departure from the stripped-down sonic palette of Just Like Leaving, Among Other Things unfolds with gorgeously textured layers encompassing elements of country, folk, indie, and classic rock. But even its most left-of-center moments, the 10-track album showcases the timeless country musicianship White first developed thanks to her father (a Virginia native who played in bluegrass bands all throughout her childhood) and later honed through years of making the rounds at leading roots-music festivals. To that end, each song is firmly grounded in White’s nuanced acoustic-guitar work and deeply affecting voice—an instrument imbued with wisdom well beyond her years, capable of telegraphing soulful world-weariness and whole-hearted compassion with a captivating grace.
Born in Calgary, Bella White made her mark on the scene with the release of her debut album Just Like Leaving. The LP caught the attention of Rounder Records which signed her last year. While traditional bluegrass originated in Appalachia, the genre has surely found a safe and loving Canadian home via her songwriting. The twenty-two year-old singer/songwriter and instrumentalist shies away from modern and fussy arrangements, and instead brings a traditional style of music into the contemporary moment by personalizing it to her own experiences. White has shown herself to be a star student of the bluegrass genre, with something new to bring to the table. Her ability to translate modern experience to an old sound is seamless and compelling, and permeates the boundaries of a regional genre with authentic singing and songwriting.