Drake White, 27, is a country boy at heart, and he’s bringing his flare to Ironstone Amphitheater on Sunday, when he performs with Willie Nelson’s Country Throwdown. Here, the Alabama native talks about touring with one of his favorite musicians and the road to becoming a country singer.
Q: What does it mean for you to be touring with Willie Nelson?
A: Man, it’s a dream come true ... He’s one of my heroes, an icon and a legend.
Q: How did the opportunity come about?
A: Well, I live in Nashville and every Tuesday for a year, we played (at the same venue). A rep from (this show) listened to me one night ... She listened and then asked what I was doing (this summer and if I was interested in this tour). I said, “Let me think about it.” I said absolutely.
Q: Tell me about your musical roots.
A: I grew up in an area where I always had it in me. I would jot down stuff ... music and poetry. When I was in high school, there was a band that a few of my friends were in. I thought, “I can do that.”
I went to college and met a guy who played bluegrass festivals. I just started picking up (gigs) in college, playing little dive bars.
Q: How would you describe your sound?
A: Like a bluesy country-bop singer. A lot of the lyrics are country, but I don’t like the genre of country. It’s different; it’s not something you’re hearing on the radio right now. It’s kind of a Van Morrisson songwriting style.
Q: Who are some of your favorite singers and your inspirations?
A: I like some local bands, like Fletcher Brothers. I like Bob Seger, Allman Brothers and Dwight Yoakam, Earl Scruggs, Eric Clapton and Merle Haggard.
Q: What are your hobbies?
A: I like to fish and canoe and hike and cook and hunt ducks and deer.
Q: What’s something people don’t know about music?
A: I think that people need to explore past the radio. If you’re searching for new music, look into it a little bit harder. Support local guys. Explore satellite radio and Pandora. Look a little bit deeper.
Q: What should people expect from your Ironstone show?
A: It’s like a festival, like a circus. It’s constant music all day, until Willie shuts it down at 11 p.m.