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A native of Waynesboro, Georgia, Jason White started playing music by ear as a kid, mastering one instrument after another — fiddle, guitar, slide guitar and bass. At ten, he was on stage at the Millen Opry with “a fiddle that looked like it was bigger than I was,” he said. Two years later, he was jamming with older, sometimes forty years older, musicians in Augusta, playing bluegrass music on the fiddle.
Time performing in Statesboro with more than half a dozen bands and acoustic acts while at Georgia Southern University honed his on-stage craft, and now, with the release of “The Well Has Run Dry,” he’s at the top of his form.
“Music has always come pretty naturally to me, so I try to take advantage of that,” he said.
And “The Well Has Run Dry,” his first album, is about as far away from NashAngeles as it can be. It’s unmistakably country, but in an older mode. His album isn’t full of pop tunes that just happen to be sung with a Southern accent and a fiddle, but more one man, one (sometimes two) guitars and an authentic take on the American experience.
More than that, it’s universal. White’s songs are front porch music that would fit in at any house in the country. They were written from a very personal perspective, but the themes carry over into everyone’s life.
“Part of it is just a personal challenge to myself to see what I can do,” White said. “I try to create something that means something to me, but someone else can listen and get some meaning out of it, too.”
Because of that — and because he’s a full-time professional musician singing and playing to pay the bills — White’s found himself performing everywhere from packed clubs to tiny dives with only a couple of regulars and a bartender.
Audience variety means that a guitar-slinger had better be able to roll with any request that comes his way, and White doesn’t disappoint. He still has a vintage Johnny Winter T-shirt he won on a bet from a fan at the Hickory Crossing Wild Boar Field Trial.
“He bet me I didn’t know ‘Highway 61,’” White said.
“I played it, and he took off the shirt he was wearing, soaking wet in sweat, and gave it to me. It was so threadbare, you could see through it. The guy’s been wearing it for probably 30 years. He wouldn’t take no fro an answer.”
That one-on-one personal touch carries over to “The Well Has Run Dry.”
“There’s very few overdubs because I wanted something that would genuinely reflect what I do, and have sort of a ‘live’ feel to it, something that I knew I could recreate at a gig,” White said.
“I’ve seen guys record an album that had a half dozen session musicians playing on it, but couldn’t get a band together to ever play it.”
White wrote all of the songs on the album, and played all of the instruments. “The songs I chose were all songs that are pretty personal,” he said. “I really wanted the lyrics to be the main focus and not have too much extra to distract from that.”