May 142024
bella white

Bella White uses bluegrass to express her brand of melancholy musicality. Tales of lost love and wronged women, in the country tradition. She provides astute covers where she finds those tales from others, as we noted last year. Her most recent cover is of Ted Lucas’ “I’ll Find A Way (To Carry It All).”

Ted Lucas was billed as “Motown’s exotic strings specialist,” a unique role that fit well with the more expansive sound of their brand of soul in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Lucas trained in classical guitar but was fascinated by stringed instruments of all types, adding the balalaika to his repertoire and eventually studying sitar under Ravi Shankar. He continued to work with various bands when he stayed in the Midwest when Motown relocated to Los Angeles. His only album under his own name blended a range of genres, and, when it was unsuccessful, he faded from the music industry. All of this makes one of his best-known songs more poignant.

White retains the pace and structure of the original, but her vocals add pathos. She is not wary but not yet weary of the music industry, so the tone is more about a disappointing lover who has not fulfilled her ambitions for the relationship. This fits with her country and bluegrass roots. It is a beautiful, lilting rendition of some painful but familiar subject matter.

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