REVIEW: Bella White “Just Like Leaving” is Authentic, Genuine and Wholesome


Bella White – Just Like Leaving

I don’t often use words like “gorgeous” to describe an artist’s music, but Bella White may be a North American from Canada, but she is authentic, genuine & wholesome in the truest sense of the Americana genre.

No reason not to believe it — since her family came from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. But this is a 20-year old young woman who already sounds seasoned, honest, a little less piercing than Iris Dement, but Bella has the mountain lore tone, the Appalachian phrasing, the “high and lonesome” soul.

Her debut Just Like Leaving (drops Sept 25 – Independent) & confirms that bluegrass – predicted to have been a flash in the pan as a genre many years ago – is music that’s here to stay & is an endearing music. Or is it Bella White who is endearing?

“Do You Think About Me at All,” is heart-wrenchingly beautiful. The majority of Bella’s songs are rich with wonderful mandolin, fiddle & stories. The instruments hauntingly seem to “sing” a duet with her voice as the notes follow closely to every word she sings – rather than just play as accompaniment. Makes it magical. The recording itself is pristine. Every note played is deliciously heard with no intrusion or overproduction.

“Broke (When I Realized) showcases a vocal style strictly Bella – her tone has an ebullience & she is consistent in each tune. Maybe it’s her youth – but I like the way she pronounces her words & makes even the “hardest” word musical. That’s a skill.

Bella plays guitar & is joined by Julian Pinelli (fiddle/vocals), Reed Stutz (mandolin/vocals), Robert Alan Mackie (bass), Patrick M’Gonigle (vocal/fiddle on “Just Unwanted”), & Allison DeGroot (vocals on “Just Unwanted”).

Bella White also manages to make bluegrass accessible to those ears who never gravitated toward the music. “All I Gave to You,” is the most commercially leaning bluegrass I ever heard. It works despite its delicacy. It takes expertise to be able to shape something expressively so others can relate to it.

I like Bella White – I look forward to how she slowly matures & creates some absolutely fascinating bluegrass stories. The last time I was this captivated was when I heard a young Alison Krauss for the first time…and look where she went.

Matter of fact, I look forward to the day when Bella, Iris DeMent, Gillian Welch & Alison take to the stage together. What a concert that will be.

The 30-minute, 9-track CD is available at Bandcamp &

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