Canadian-born, Nashville-based singer and multi-instrumentalist Bella White has signed to Rounder Records. The label has now given her independent 2020 debut album Just Like Leaving a worldwide release.
White, who’s 20 and hails from Calgary, initially self-released the set in late 2020. A performance video for the album’s title track has also been unveiled, featuring Patrick M’Gonigle on fiddle and Patrick Metzger on bass.
M’Gonigle, of the Lonely Heartstring Band, also produced the album, which is mixed by the Grammy-winning engineer Dave Sinko. Rolling Stone was moved to describe White’s songwriting as “sublime Appalachian heartbreak.”
White was raised on classic country and old-time music via her musician father, a Virginia native who played in bluegrass bands throughout her childhood. Holler.country said that she “possesses an uncanny ability to capture the delicate nuances of heartache that’s often only mastered by veterans of the trade.” Saving Country Music called the young artist one of the “most promising up-and-coming performers and songwriters in independent country music.”
Featured musicians on the album include Reed Stutz on mandolin and vocals, Julian Pinelli (fiddle, vocals), and Robert Alan Mackie (bass). Says White, who herself plays guitar on the record: “I met everyone by jamming together, which felt perfect for this album – I really wanted it to sound like friends making music. The whole process felt very collective and collaborative, and everyone’s creative choices ended up shining through.”
She adds: “Just Like Leaving feels like a storybook of the things I went through when I was 18 and 19-each song is about a very specific feeling from my relationships during that time. I’ve had a lot of younger people tell me that they relate to the experience of learning about yourself through someone else, and I’ve also had older folks tell me how it reminds them of when they were younger.
“I used to fear sometimes that I might run out of things to say in my songs, but I don’t feel that way after seeing how this album has affected people. It’s reminded me that there will always be a creative source for me to tap into.”