Who Made You God?
By George Varga, POP MUSIC CRITIC
San Diego Union Tribune
"If every artist had the skill, courage and tenacity of Leucadia’s Steve White, the world of music (if not the world itself) would surely be a better place.
A rollicking one-man blues band who can create nearly as much aural combustion by himself as he can with his one-woman, two-man trio, White has been an invaluable mainstay of the San Diego scene for years.
He’s earned the respect and admiration of his fellow performers not only for his formidable songwriting skills and potent chops on acoustic guitar, harmonica and vocals, but for his self-effacing manner and repeatedly lending a helping hand to others and to an array of worthy causes.
Now, it is White, 59, who is receiving a helping hand from his fellow musicians, as he battles back from the esophageal cancer that on Sept. 22 led to the surgical removal of his vocal cords.
He is currently undergoing chemotherapy once a week and radiation treatments five times a week. It’s a debilitating regimen that, understandably, would have most people laying low. But not White, who — carrying on a tradition he began in 1989 — is still performing each weekend at Encintas Seaside Bazaar flea market (just north of the La Paloma Theatre).
By necessity, his performances now are vocal- and harmonica-free. But the fact that he can play at all is inspiring, let alone his ability to hold an audience’s attention in an all-instrumental format that, tips aside, is clearly a labor of love for him.
Alas, like far too many musicians in this country, White has no medical insurance to cover the formidable expenses his cancer treatment has incurred. That is why more than a dozen of his fellow artists are donating their services to play a benefit concert for him Saturday afternoon at the Encinitas Library’s Community Room. The show is headlined by top singer-songwriter Jack Tempchin (who has written classic hits for The Eagles, Johnny Rivers and Glenn Frey), redoubtable jazz vibraphonist Dave Pike and roots-rocking San Diego powerhouse Candye Kane (who is herself a recent cancer survivor). They’ll be joined by Nathan James, Steve Mendoza, Semisi & Fulabula, and more than a dozen other performers — likely including White himself — in what will be the third of four benefits for him this month alone (following two in November).
If you’re unable to get to Saturday’s benefit but wish to help, log onto stevewhiteblue.com. And it’s not too soon to start planning to attend the next benefit on his behalf, a Jan. 23 show at North Park’s Old Time Music that will feature Gregory Page, Lisa Sanders, Robin Henkel, Jim Earp, Jeff Morin, Chuck Perrin, Joe Rathburn, Berkley Hart and more."
" Steve - great to meet you - loved your music. Look forward to having you on our radio show sometime soon. Once again - I really enjoyed your music - best thing going at the show!"
Larry/West Coast Live - San Francisco
" Smack into the middle of the evening, just as the ears were flooded by a motley barrage of jazz styles, one suddenly heard the blues. For the folks at the Penang Island Jazz Festival, the 55-year-old American's performance, gruff yet docile, unpretentious yet engrossing, oozed with a sense of that deep original soul scarcely felt in modern music."
Himanshu Bhatt, Sunday Strait Times - Malaysia
" For Steve the train is on the right track and it is going very steady in the right direction. His guitar playing is better than ever, his voice can be compared to James Taylor’s in terms of warmth he also has a similar style of storytelling. The knowledge that the man displays as a guitarist, singer and slide player can be heard and seen at the MusikMesse in Frankfurt. He was in the Netherlands to give a clinic at Guitar Center in Wierden, and hopefully this resulted in an invitation to play at the acoustic festival in Raalte. Don’t let this chance pass. Steve White never disappoints."
Nicky Moeken, Gitaar Plus - The Netherlands
" In more than 40 years of listening to all kinds of music, 15 of them as a professional music critic and journalist I've never heard anyone who fires on all pistons this powerfully."
" I thought I'd write to let you know that blues legend Jody Williams tuned in to my show last week [from Chicago] and heard your "Mud Wrestling Team." He called me to say how much he liked it and how impressed he was with your musicianship. I had reminded listeners before I played it that it was one man, one take. Jody thought it was great. You never know who is out there listening to your music!"
Leslie Fleury, Blues Odyssey KSER - 90.7FM
" It's most impressive to see White performing live, to experience him slapping (!) his alternating base with his virtuously acting right hand, to hear him perform folk-blues harmonies with incredible intensity and produce a bass-drum groove with his feet on his custom made stomp-box. White brings across such a superior routine enriched with joy and energy that one cannot withdraw from it's magic. This man plays the strings in a precise and yet relaxed manner and thus embraces his bluesy, rough yet warm voice with the full groove. Harp interludes add further tone color to this charming, original folk-blues that would have definitely pleased John Lee Hooker."
Gregor Hilden, Akustik Guitar Magazine
" I'm planning do to a feature about Steve this year in Concerto Magazine ... I'm very impressed by your performance at the Blues Masters Festival in Austria."
Dietmar Hoscher, Editor of Concerto Magazine
"This musician brandishes his guitar like a hoe as he digs into fertile Delta music with a classic intensity."
Michael Kinsman, San Diego Union Tribune
" White uses the blues as his base. His music is not tied to traditional blues structures, his songs not hemmed by conventional blues subject matter. This travel on the sonic map ensures that the creeping sameness that is sometimes indicative of acoustic blues is not an issue for White. Remarkable!"
Dennis Roger Reed, Folk Works Magazine
"... great raw, funky, blues, and some mighty fine contemporary music as well. Steve plays acoustic blues, slide, harmonica, and all of it with whole lot of heart."
Blue Barry - The Blues Groove, Knoxville Blues Society
"It's not really accurate to call Steve White a group, but he certainly has enough talent for several musicians. He's San Diego's best blues player, his voice is wonderfully versatile, and his rhythm section, which consists of his pedal extremities, is unique."
San Diego Folk Heritage