Don White at Along the Way Coffeehouse
There is no one-word description for what Don White does. He has survived and thrived
for twenty-five years, bringing his audiences to laughter and tears in his live
performances, studio recordings, and on the printed page. He is a storyteller-comedianauthor-troubadour-folk
singer-songwriter. He is a walking challenge to the phrase file
under. Best to just sort him under Don White.
Dons approach to music is a weird, unique blend. If he just played folk music, it would
be a handy label. But he has invented his own genre with a mix of humor and powerful
songwriting. Whites arc as a writer and performer has taken him from his industrial
hometown of Lynn, Ma across the country as hitchhiker, through Bostons comedy clubs
and coffeehouses, and onto the stage with greats like Christine Lavin, Arlo Guthrie, Taj
Mahal, Ritchie Havens, Patty Larkin, Bill Morrissey, Tom Rush, and Louden Wainwright III. At every point, White has been the ultimate observer,infusing his work with his experiences as husband, father, seeker and a joker.
His abilities are unique. I was bringing comedian sensibilities to a show, and then I had a
couple of songs like I Know What Love Is so now theyre laughing their head off, and
now theyre crying, and that is my niche.
White applied those skills to his first studio recording, Two Vagabonds in Disguise, in
1992. The album featured one of his most touching songs, I Know What Love Is,
which captures beauty of love and loss over the course of its subjects entire lifetime.
That is sandwiched in between two other Don White staples Project Girl and The
Shameful Ballad of Lijah. Both songs are lighthearted, both drawn from real life
Many songwriters use their real lives for inspiration, but few do it like White. He often
draws inspiration from his family, whether its a touching song about the circle of life or
an uproarious story about dealing with his daughter. Its what Im comfortable doing.
Its what I know. Im always amazed by people who write songs about the Civil War in a
convincing way and were never there. I assume they were never there. Write about what
you know. Ive been raising kids and being in a relationship since I was a kid myself. I
mean, I could try to write about other things, and I do, occasionally, but thats what I
White really hit his stride at the turn of the millennium, releasing Brown Eyes Shine in
1999, a collection that has come to be known as the teenager album for all of its
material about dealing with adolescents. Stupid shows grandparents laughing at their
kids as they have kids of their own. The MTV Love Song is the ultimate combination
of Whites ability to make you laugh and tug at your heartstrings in a story of the struggle
of different generations to understand each other. His storytelling is in fine form on
Adolescent Rant, and his epic story of redemption, Angel In Pieces, closes out the
White has stayed involved in his community, often helping young musicians navigate the
local scene, and creating outlets for creative expression like the Speak Up! Spoken Word
Open Mic and Don Whites Sunday Night Open Mic at the Walnut Street Café in Lynn.
Now Im an elder statesman, and I wanted to take what Ive learned and let other people
see how to do it. And create spaces and opportunities for other people to have this
He continues to grow and evolve as a writer. In 2006, he entered a new medium with the
release of his autobiography, Memoirs of a C Student. The longer format allowed him to
go take the stories he tells onstage and draw them out, to give a more complete picture of
White as a performer and as a human being. I think that writing the book is the most
freedom that Ive had as a writer, as a creative artist.
Whats the next stage? Only White knows for sure. As a writer, Im interested in all
kinds of things now. I have all these ideas now where I want to let the story tell the story,
instead of coming out and saying, This is how I feel. I want to write that way now.
Read more about Don White at his website www.DonWhite.net
Along the Way Coffeehouse (View)
12 Meetinghouse Green
Ipswich, MA 01938
|Kid Friendly: Yes!|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|