Bella White

Born and raised in Calgary, Bella White is the daughter of a native Virginia banjoist who instilled in his child a love of Appalachian folk, country, and bluegrass. She learned how to play music at an early age, writing her first song when she was seven. As a child she regularly attended folk festivals and music camps, branching outside traditional bluegrass as she became a teenager. As her adolescence progressed, so did her songwriting skills.

Just Like Leaving, her 2020 debut album, sounds as if it came from the Appalachian hills, not Canada. A close listen reveals that White wasn’t a revivalist — she bent old ways to suit herself, adapting Americana styles to fit her introspective and impassioned songwriting. White worked with producer Patrick M’Gonigle, a fiddle player in the Lonely Heartstring Band, to record her debut. Released on Rounder, the album helped establish her in Americana circles.

She decided to expand her musical purview for her second album, Among Other Things, working with Jonathan Wilson (Father John Misty and Angel Olsen). Deemed a Best Folk and Americana Album of 2023 by Spotify, this record embodies an enchanting sound that matches the immense depth of White’s inner world—an element brought to life by her lived-in exploration of complex themes. Recorded at Fivestar Studios in Topanga Canyon, the album featured several indie musicians, including Buck Meek of Big Thief and Drew Erikson (Lana Del Rey and Weyes Blood).

Her remarkable rise has seen her playing on some of the biggest stages, recently making her Grand Ole Opry debut, performing at SXSW, Stagecoach and Newport Folk Festival. White recently supported Band of Horses, John Craigie, The Paper Kites, and Ashley McBryde. She will be out in select cities with The Teskey Brothers, Dierks Bentley, and The Red Clay Strays this summer. 

Sam & the People People

Mr. Sam & the People People

Standing beside the emerging songwriting voices of the Pacific Northwest and of the New Orleans Americana scene, Mr. Sam has carved his own corner of the genre. His songs focus on the virtues of living and loving, but not without the endurance and patience that is required to find it in an unforgiving world. On his sophomore album “Again! Again!,” Mr. Sam plays freely with this duality – a shoulder to cry on, a cannonball on a hot summer day, the unknown warmth of a stranger.

Drawing influence from classic singer-songwriters and New Orleans greats, he is also a student of his contemporaries through his close collaborations with Dean Johnson, The Sons of Rainier, Sam Doores, Chris Acker, to name a few. Citing them as his biggest influences as a writer, Mr. Sam says “There is no better lesson in writing than to write, but the next best thing is to be there to hear the moment when a song becomes itself.”

“On Again! Again! Mr Sam’s inner voice is out for all to hear, and it’s part pregame coach pep-talker, part puppy lover, part late night host, and all delivered with such playful care and loving sincerity, that I’m inclined to believe him. He’s lending us his own kind reminders that we’re OK, we’re going through it, and we’re not alone […] Sam can turn guilt to kindness, get to know all the strangers, watch the stars and cry, knock on wood, and twirl his tail all he wants, but I don’t believe he’s getting out of this monkey business for one minute.” – Devin Champlin