Josh White Jr. brings his folk and blues stylings to Benzonia and Traverse City this month, among his first shows since performing at Carnegie Hall. MyNorth Media entertainment writer Ross Boissoneau describes more about the Broadway star before his Northern Michigan music events on February 27 in Benzonia and February 28 in Traverse City.
Josh White Jr.
How He Got His Start
The son of legendary troubadour Josh White first performed at age 4 alongside his father at New York’s famed Café Society (America’s first integrated nightclub). He debuted on Broadway with his father when he was 9.
White attended New York’s famed Professional Children’s School, along with such luminaries-to-be as Elliott Gould, Sandra Dee, Leslie Uggams, Christopher Walken, and Marvin Hamlisch, who co-wrote White’s first solo recording for Decca in 1956, “See Saw.”
By 1961, he had appeared in five Broadway plays, one off-Broadway play, and more than 50 television dramas. With African-American acting roles being limited and the folk scene beginning to boom, White turned to music fulltime.
Influences and Inspirations
Josh White Sr., Phil Ochs, Lead Belly
White has never shied from his father’s shadow. In 1983 he starred in a theatrical biography of his father, JOSH: The Man and His Music. In 1987 he released the Grammy-nominated instrumental album Jazz, Ballads and Blues, celebrating his father’s music. He performs songs by his father at nearly every one of his concerts.
White has performed across the globe, in festivals, on college campuses and in nightclubs. Over just the past year, he performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, The Royal Albert Hall in London and on February 4 at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Those three shows celebrated Lead Belly at 125, a tribute to the iconic folk and blues musician.
All told, White has released over 15 albums and videos.
“A strongly spiritual quality shines through White Jr.’s expressive folk blues.” – The All Music Guide
“When Josh White Jr. – the only performer of the evening who personally knew Lead Belly – sang ‘House of the Rising Sun,’ an almost palatable nostalgia radiated through the audience. As Mr. White played the last notes, the near-capacity crowd was on its feet for the evening’s first and heartiest standing ovation.” – Washington Times
Date & Time
Saturday, February 27, 8 p.m. at Grow Benzie
Saturday, February 28, 4 p.m. at Sleder’s
Tickets for the show at Grow Benzie are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Call 231-882-9510.
Tickets for the show at Sleder’s are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. Call 231-947-9213.
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