"What longtime Austinite and former Bad Liver Ralph White puts on albums and onstage is so mind-boggling and vast, it forces those of us in the description business down a treacherous path" (Darcie Stevens, Austin Chronicle)
"White was a member of well-loved punk bluegrass outfit Bad Livers, but his solo work is possessed of a much more lonesome spark, exaggerating the implied drone at the heart of the music of Dock Boggs and The Stanley Brothers...White plays wooden six-string banjo, violin, button accordion and kalimba and his voice has a high, eerie quality to it...extremely psychedelic" (David Keenan, The Wire UK)
One of our foremost instrumentalists and a true hidden American treasure, Ralph White has taken the back roads in his inspired pursuit of the ancient roots of music. The "folk/noise/avant-whatever genius" (Joe Gross, Austin Statesman) has made many strange travels as an itinerant musician and laborer. Thus his intimate, nuanced musical language has slowly revealed itself, along a path that meanders from the apple orchards of British Columbia to the villages of Zimbabwe and Namibia, from the lonesome moors of Ireland to Australia, Brittany, Peru, Louisiana and beyond. There is also the influence of White's hometown of Austin, Texas, a rich musical crossroads in and of itself.
Along with Danny Barnes and Mark Rubin, White completed the original and definitive lineup of country/bluegrass mavericks (and recent Texas Music Hall of Fame inductees) The Bad Livers. He now performs his singular blend of ancient rural folk music and original songwriting as a soloist. Since touring extensively in North America and Europe, White has kept a prolific schedule of independent releases, "where borders are erased and music is the only language" (Insound). Most recently, his "Navasota River Devil Squirrel", called "a fine navigation of the American mystery zone" (Volcanic Tongue) was reissued on vinyl LP by Mystra Records/Spirit of Orr. And in late 2009 the Resipiscent label issued his improv collaboration with San Francisco sound artist Hora Flora Sound System. New releases are scheduled for 2010, including a solo album with Austin indie Monofonus. White has also self-released limited edition works and is called on for various recording projects and film scores & appearances.
In addition to his solo work, White has recorded or performed with a diverse group of folk and avant-garde musicians: Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, Jandek, Jack Rose, Eugene Chadbourne, Michelle Shocked, Sun City Girls' Sir Richard Bishop, Powell St. John and Michael Hurley. He plays fiddle in traditional Cajun dance band The Gulf Coast Playboys, and, with folk singer Amy Annelle, performs in the roots country & folk duo Precious Blood.--D Walker, 2009