Mary White is a musical powerhouse. She taught herself how to play the piano, guitar and saxophone, has a soulful singing voice, and has collected numerous awards for her accomplishments over the years. She also has the business aspect of the trade down, with skills in composing, sound engineering, producing, songwriting and band management. All of this is channeled into her onstage performances, where her band’s musical energy radiates.
Mary has garnered a solid fan base with her passionate southern voice. She has also released an original CD titled “Change of Pace,” which is a mix of rock and country rhythm. Her reputation as one of Southern California’s most hallowed independent country artists is well deserved. She has performed all over the United States and was also chosen by the U.S. Armed Forces to entertain the troops in South Korea and Guantanamo Bay.
In addition to Mary White on vocals, saxophone, acoustic guitar and keyboards, band members include: Hugh Cline (musical director) on vocals and electric guitar; Shellie Dorman on vocals and bass guitar; Robert Heft on vocals, electric guitar and pedal steel; Aubrey Richmond on vocals and fiddle; and Rob Man and Chris Cooke on drums.
Mary and her talented group play every second Thursday of the month at Liquid Volume (26340 Diamond Place, suite 100) from 8-11 p.m. in Santa Clarita, as well as other venues in town and surrounding communities. The Gazette had a chance to speak to Mary and ask a few questions about her music and influences growing up.
SCG: In your own words, what is it about music that inspires you?
MW: I believe music is the most powerful form of art. It can make you dance, it can make you sing, it can make you cry, it can make you laugh, it can make you think, and it can transport you in time. You can hear a song and it can take you back to high school or a situation or event and you feel like you’re there again. Music moves the soul and touches the heart in ways I can’t even begin to describe. I feel I am so blessed to be able to create and write music. And then, on top of that, I get to share it with my family, friends and fans that come to our shows and support our creativity. I get to connect to a Source where all creativity comes from. Some call it The Universe, Energy, Great Creator. I prefer to use the word God. I never sit down and say, “I’m going to write a song today.” It just comes when Spirit is ready. And I just try to make myself available.
SCG: Describe your musical sound.
MW: Sometimes we like to use the word “philosophical country,” because some of the original music can make you go “Hmmm?” We’ll do songs about drinking, but we also like to do songs about thinking. Our “sound” can vary, depending on where we are. We have bass, drums, electric guitar. I personally play the acoustic guitar, saxophone and keyboards. We also have fiddle and pedal steel players that grace our stage periodically. My favorite is when we get to do our acoustic set—two acoustic guitars, bass and Cajon guitars and percussion. It’s a very organic and intimate sound.
SCG: Who were some of your musical influences growing up?
MW: My mother, grandfather and great grandmother, mostly. All three were choir directors at their church; my mother still is. I’m proud to say my grandfather was a world champion barber shop quartet singer and had a record contract with RCA. My great grandmother had perfect pitch and was a published songwriter at age 12. I think that’s where I get the songwriting from. Dolly Parton, Elvis and Janis Joplin have always moved me with their amazing stage presence and charismatic performance.
SCG: What can Santa Clarita residents expect from a live Mary White Band show?
MW: A guaranteed good time! When I started working with my band, one of the things I would say is, “If we have fun they’ll have fun.” And that’s what we try to do. We do cover tunes that range from Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton to Led Zeppelin, Johnny Cash, Hank Sr. and Janis Joplin. We also like to throw in some fun Irish songs to mix it up a little. But, our favorite is doing our original music, which includes not only Mary White originals, but also originals from Coker/Cline, the writing team of our guitar player, Hugh Cline. We look forward to writing songs in the future with our bass player, Shellie Dorman, who just joined the band a year ago and has brought a lot to The Mary White Band Sound.
Make sure you mark your calendars for December 11 when The Mary White Band rocks the stage at Liquid Volume! For more information and upcoming shows visit www.marywhite.com or www.facebook.com/MaryWhiteBand.