Now let’s not forget that Nashville still produces some of the best traditional Bluegrass music around. And the latest that you need to sit back and curl up to comes from young Bella White who has just released her debut LP, “Just Like Leaving” that she successfully Kickstarted.
Listen to the smooth picking and singing on the record’s first single, “Broke (When I Realize)”, a sad tale written about her parents’ divorce. Says Bella: “I want people my age to hear my music, and think, actually Bluegrass is kind of cool.”
Bella is fairly new to town and I wish that we had better conditions under which to welcome her to Music City. Here’s to the day when that will change, and we can see her play live. Until now, we will just enjoy the new record and some livestreaming that you can catch through her Facebook page. Thanks, Bella, for visiting 11 Questions and reopening my mind to how much I love good “cool” Bluegrass like you are making!
Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?
I was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It is split in the middle of the Canadian Rockies and the prairies, a beautiful spot! I moved to Nashville at the beginning of this past June, so I’m still a baby here. I think the main reason that I chose to move here was me wanting to be in the epicenter of the scene and music community that has my heart! It feels so special to be living in the place so much amazing, inspirational music came from. I also adore how close to the mountains Nashville is.
What are the first and last records you bought, where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?
I believe that the first record that I really remember buying and coveting is Joni Mitchell’s Blue. It was one my mum always had playing around the house, and I had to have my own. I bought a CD initially, but eventually acquired a vinyl copy and I absolutely treasure it. The last record that I bought was a joint household purchase with my roommates. We found a copy of Jimmy Martin’s Me ‘N Ole Pete at Grimey’s here in town. This record is not only great music but is riddled with what we refer to as “barking tracks” from one of his many hunting dogs, Pete.
First and last concerts that you’ve seen?
The first concert I ever went to was probably one of my dad’s. He was in a Bluegrass band called Widow Maker titled after the Jimmy Martin song. I remember going to tons of his shows as a little girl but being fairly unaware of what was going on. The first show that my child brain considered to be a real concert was Avril Lavigne during her “Sk8er Boi” days. The most recent concert that I’ve seen, apart from Folk Alliance showcases, was one of the Crooked Still reunion shows at The Sinclair in Boston, where I was living at the time.
Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?
I think that George Jones oughta be added to the Music City Walk of Fame as he is the ultimate country music crooner. I also think the Walk of Fame could use some mention of June Carter Cash as she was such an inspiration to me as a young girl, and in my eyes, continues to be one of the greatest Country and Bluegrass music icons that there ever was.
Where do you go in Nashville for Coffee and Pizza?
Although I haven’t been living in Nashville for too long, I have spent plenty of time passing through. In that time my favorite spot for pizza has been Five Points. As far as coffee goes, I would probably have to say that Dose is my favourite. Another spot that I loved to go for a cup of tea would be High Garden, but sadly is no longer open due to the tornado.
What’s your favourite record to ever come out of Nashville?
This one is easy for me. My favourite record ever to come out of Nashville (or maybe even all time) is The Grass is Blue by Dolly Parton. It has been so influential for me and scratches my itch for Country and Bluegrass. Plus, it has an absolute all-star band, and Dolly is a queen.
Where is the best place to eat late night after a show?
My favorite spot to eat late here in Nashville would probably also be Five Points Pizza. Nothing better than a post-show slice. Another contender would be one of the many taco trucks scattered throughout town. Every time they are made slightly different, and never fail to amaze me.
The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you?
The three local songwriters I would choose to join me (if I was really shooting for the stars) would be Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. I would pick them for multiple reasons. One being they are some of my all-time heroes, another is that I would love to have a private Trio performance. Although, this answer is probably a stretch.
What are your favorite music venues to play in town?
I once played a show at the Bowery Vault which is a very cool spot if you’re into vintage clothing and thrifting. Located in East Nashville, the Bowery is not only a groovy, ambient venue, but also is a super awesome spot to find all sorts of vintage treasures.
Name a musician who you’d like to see move here?
It’s hard to name only one, but a musician that I think would kill it in Nashville is flute player Anh Phung (Twisted Pine.) Anh is a fellow Canadian and one of my favourite modern instrumentalists. She is the queen of Flutegrass. In all honesty I would love to see all of Twisted Pine move to Nashville. They just rule.
Finally, what’s in your musical future?
Hmmm! Right now, with all of the uncertainty in the world this question has a slightly unclear answer, but on my current horizon, I just had a record come out on September 25 as well as one more single on September 4. It is my first album and I’m so excited for everyone to hear it. With the hopes that touring will resume soon, I would love to spend a fair bit of time on the road showing off my new record and getting to play those songs in all sorts of venues and towns I haven’t been to yet. With everything having been on hold for the last little while I feel like I have some catching up to do and am very eager to get going! I would also love to do some more co-writing and collaboration with other musicians in town. Maybe possibly the most obvious answer to this question, but it’s looking like in my musical future there is going to be a whole lot of, believe it or not… music.