Mandolin Man: The Bluegrass Life of Roland White

Univ. of Illinois Jun. 2022. 280p. ISBN 9780252086403. pap. $19.95. MUSIC
In this affectionate, sometimes poignant biography of bluegrass musician Roland White (b. 1938), banjoist Black (Come Hither To Go Yonder: Playing Bluegrass with Bill Monroe) traces White’s journey: childhood experimentation with the mandolin at age six in Maine, teenage gigs with his siblings in California, and Nashville and European tours as a member of some of the seminal bands in the genre (including Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys, the Kentucky Colonels, and the Nashville Bluegrass Band). White’s vocals and his facility on both mandolin and guitar have stood the test of time, and Black devotes space to discussing the intricacies of White’s playing style, as well as to individual bluegrass tracks and albums. Charming archival photographs, a helpful index of people, and an exhaustive discography enhance the volume.
VERDICT Black’s own relevant musical experience, alongside his interviews with White, his family, and country music icons such as Marty Stuart, make this biography a must-read for bluegrass aficionados. Although White may not be a household name to those outside the bluegrass scene, he richly deserves this long-awaited tribute.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing