Freddie White has long been synonymous with music of the highest quality. Whether interpreting songs by his favourite writers, such as Randy Newman, Tom Waits, John Hiatt and Guy Clark, or performing his own classy compositions, Freddie’s live performances are nothing short of legendary.
You can decide for yourself when the Cormman comes to the Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey this Saturday night for what promises to be a very special gig.
Freddie has been part of the fabric of the live music scene in Ireland since the 1970s and his albums continue to sell well, amongst his loyal and new-found fan base.
Born in Cobh, County Cork into a musical family, by age thirteen Freddie was playing in school bands and by seventeen playing professionally. At nineteen, he moved to London, where he busked in subways, and developed his unique voice and guitar style.
In 1974, he was a founding member of ‘Scullion’, together with Philip King and Sonny Condell. Later he formed ‘The Fake’, regarded as one of the seminal Irish bands of the late ‘70s. Next came The Freddie White Band formed in 1978, which toured with Eric Clapton that year.
His first album, Live on Tour, recorded by Nicky Ryan while touring with Clannad, brought him national attention. His second album, Do You Do, was the biggest selling Mulligan Label album of 1981. With these early albums, Freddie introduced an eclectic repertoire of music, which spanned musical genres and eras, to an Irish audience.
Long Distance Runner was launched in 1985, and it featured original songs such as ‘Goodbye This Time’, ‘Down Without A Fight’, and the hit single ‘Frozen Heart’, which was co-written with Johnny Duhan. His fourth album, ‘Close To You’ continued this trend, with most of the songs self-penned. In 1994, he released Straight Up, a collection of fourteen songs recorded live by DanDan Fitzgerald.
My Country was released in Ireland in May 1999. A collection of eleven songs co-written with Ann O’Sullivan and based on the poetry of Don O’Sullivan. The album was co-produced by Freddie and Declan Sinnott, renowned for his work as producer and arranger with Sinead Lohan, Frances Black and Mary Black and as lead guitarist with Horslips and Moving Hearts.
In May 2002 the 2-CD set Lost and Found was released, comprising digitally re-mastered versions of two of Freddie’s best selling early albums, namely, Live on Tour and Do You Do, under the watchful eye of original producer PJ Curtis. The re-release was warmly welcomed not only by the many whose original vinyl copies had long since worn out, but also by those who delighted in discovering these classic recordings.
In 2004 Freddie released an all-new studio album entitled Four Days in May. Recorded in Dublin with some of Ireland’s finest musicians over a four-day period, it showcases Freddie’s songwriting prowess and unerring choice of songs worthy of remarkable reinterpretation. That same year, Freddie returned to Ireland after many years living in the USA.
Since then he has regularly toured Ireland and Europe and during the past year has dedicated himself to the development of his latest recording, collaborating with songwriters Jimmy MacCarthy and Jim Barrett.
Released in 2008, ‘Stormy Lullaby, is a stunning collection of moody tracks in which Freddie White’s musicianship and voice shine through. He has once again teamed up with his old cohort DanDan Fitzgerald to produce this gem. The album has an acoustic feel thanks to the input of a small, tight group of musicians from his native Cork.
‘Stormy Lullaby’ is a collection of eleven songs. Some tracks are newly written, while others (not previously recorded by Freddie) have proven their worth by becoming firm favourites with his live audiences.
It marks the first album to be released by the Cork musician for a number of years and features songs by John Hiatt, Randy Newman and Hoagy Carmichael to name a few.
It also showcases what Freddie does best – that is ‘get inside’ and deliver heartrending, troubled love songs in a manner guaranteed to stop you in your tracks. It is often said of Freddie that he does not merely ‘cover’ great songs; more often than not he improves on the originals. Indeed, if this were not the case, he would surely be more highly revered for his own songwriting accomplishments.
His keen ear for quality songs, undisputed talent for interpretation and exemplary songwriting skills, stand out in this, the newest and most intimate offering from Freddie White, which no doubt will feature strongly when he comes to Ballybofey this Saturday night.