Joy Lynn White
"She has a voice that could make time stand still," says Nashville traditionalist Marty Stuart.
"White displays an emotional range beyond anything heard in mainstream country." David Zimmerman, USA Today
Joy Lynn White has been hailed as “the greatest unknown goddess of country music” by Gavin, the radio trade magazine. But if the truth be told, she’s actually far more than just a country artist, if also hardly unknown.
Referring to herself with a laugh as “a reformed country singer”, White is one of those rare American music talents who is the real deal: a roots music singer and songwriter with heart, smarts, and hard-won wisdom and integrity.
Since scoring a #1 Americana album with her most recent release, 1997’s “The Lucky Few”, White has continued to expand her already substantial musical talents to three tracks on Essence, the new release by her friend Lucinda Williams, who White has also sung with in concert and opened shows for.
White is currently a staff writer for Welk Music in Nashville, further honing her burgeoning talents as a songwriter, both on her own and with such cutting edge Nashville co-writers as Oscar nominee Gwil Owen, pop hitmaker Walter Egan, noted producer/songwriter Angelo, rocker Will Kimbrough, and roots music star Duane Jarvis, among others.
White has also augmented the esteem in which she is held Stateside with recent appearances in Europe, headlining the Vikedal Roots Festival in Norway, touring Holland opening for Chip Taylor, and appearing with Buddy Miller at a Dutch Americana Music Festival.
Such accomplishments are in addition to the trail White already blazed with what Country Weekly calls two “brilliant albums” on Columbia Records – 1992’s “Between Midnight and Hindsight” (recently re-released on Sony/Lucky Dog Records) and 1994’s “Wild Love” – that helped set a number of current trends for female Nashville artists.
On those records, she put together the now red-hot production team of Blake Chancey and Paul Worley, known for their multi-platinum success with The Dixie Chicks, and co-wrote and selected all of the songs, two of which were subsequently re-recorded by The Dixie Chicks, “Tonight the Heartache’s on Me” (a hit single for the Chicks) and “Cold Day in July”.
Born in Arkansas, White started singing at five years old with the White Family Band, led by her late father, Gene White. Blessed with a voice that displays what USA Today calls “an emotional range beyond anything in mainstream country [that’s] as unforgiving as a blowtorch,” she headed to Nashville in a beat-up old car with a mere $200 in her pocket after graduating from high school in Mishawaka, Indiana, where she grew up.
She quickly became one of Music City’s most in-demand demo singers (alongside such future stars as Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood) before winning a record deal with Columbia.
Her two Columbia albums won her critical acclaim, and featured such top players as Marty Stuart, the late Eddy Shaver and Mike Henderson as well as background vocals by the likes of Nanci Griffith, Hal Ketchum, Harry Stinson and Pat McLaughlin. As Pulse! later noted, “White attacked songs with a daring abandon rarely heard these days within the polite circles of Nashville,” but radio wasn’t ready for a passion that can now be heard echoing throughout the charts in the releases of many female country acts that have followed in her wake.
Undaunted, White helped launch the Americana movement with a bang on “The Lucky Few”, which she cut with Dwight Yoakam’s band and production team. Praised by the Washington Post as “a disc that bridges the gap between the alternative country of Nanci Griffith and the mainstream sounds of Patty Loveless”, it sparked rave reviews from Playboy, Country Music, Stereo Review, Pulse!, Country Weekly and other publications as one of the year’s best releases. The album featured songs by Lucinda Williams, Jim Lauderdale (who calls White “a songs best friend”) and country chart-topper Kostas, as well as more of White’s own budding songwriting talent.
As veteran country music critic Alanna Nash noted in Stereo Review, “In Jim Lauderdale’s “It’s Better This Way”, she even bests duet partner Dwight Yoakam, and in “Try Not To Be So Lonely”, she matches him in emulating Bakersfield authenticity”.
As she prepares to make her next and sure to be best-yet album, White has continued to lend her distinctive vocal presence to records by numerous other artists. In addition to her recent work with Williams, she can be heard on releases by Yoakam, The Mavericks, Iris DeMent, Buddy Miller, Kim Richey, Lee Roy Parnell, Robbie Fulks, Marty Brown, Bob Woodruff, Jamie O’Hara, and the Backsliders.
“True talent has a way of lasting”, says Modern Screen’s Country Music of White. So even if widespread success has as yet eluded her, mostly because White continues to stay a few steps ahead of the pack, the artist Stereo Review dubs the “fiery redhead with a wild-and-wounded delivery and an attitude that says she is not to be ignored” continues to make music that cannot be denied.
“Joy Lynn White will enjoy the satisfaction of achieving success on her own terms, which is the ultimate artistic triumph”.
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Many of Joy Lynn White songs are published by
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Joy Lynn White
P.O. Box 128335
Nashville, TN 37212