Drake White: Love, Grit & Spark

Napa is the land of artistic convergence. It is a place where you will run into winemakers, artists, musicians, writers of all genres and the occasional star or starlet. There are so many galas, parties, winery events, and more, prioritizing your time is key. Your calendar is a balancing act. A strict exercise in priority, not only of your life and time but how much your liver can take since most of the events involve some of the best wine in the region.

The acoustics in the caves were amazing. Drake’s voice literally swept us all away as we were completely silent and eagerly listening. Truly a magical moment.

Sunset at Trinchero Napa Valley The Wine Siren
The Sunset at Trinchero Napa Valley

During one of these event-filled weeks, I was invited to Trinchero, an exquisite winery destination just north of St. Helena in Napa Valley.The visit was to attend their hosted “Live in the Vineyard” performance and to meet a few people involved in the success of Trinchero. Live in the Vineyard is an unprecedented event of companies, the community and emerging and established musical artists coming together for one extraordinary weekend.

We’re deep in the caves of the winery, and listening to history of the Trinchero Family history in a room near the end of the cave.  It’s been about an hour or two, I’ve lost track of time. The discussion is fascinating (more coming on that in a future post – stay tuned). I become aware of the time passing and I may have even fidgeted once or twice thinking we might be missing a performance. I was in a quandary, the discussion so fascinating it was difficult to peel myself away, and the possibility of missing music of these performance artists.

Trinchero Cave's
Trinchero Cave Entrance

Hey, y’all mind if I play a song?” Drake White in the caves at Trinchero

To get to the caves you take the driveway down away from the winery, past the bocce courts and stop directly in front of the vineyard. 

The walk to the Trinchero Family’s private wine cellar is about 50-75 yards. It’s sequestered off to the right. The wines held by that cellar are a spectacular array of vintages from the beginning of the Trinchero winemaking days. At the center is one huge singular piece of wood serving which highlights the iron cutout backlit signatures of cherished family members.

Trinchero, The Wine Siren, Drake White, Huffington Post
Trinchero Family Wine Library

It is here I am standing talking to one of the most articulate wine educators and long time Trinchero VP of Communications and Trade Relations, Barry Wiss… While in the midst of this discussion, I see a group of people approach. In walks an heir to the family dynasty and Director of The Elite Collection at Trinchero & Co-Founder of Taken Wines, Carlo Trinchero. With him, musician Drake White, his wife, and a handful of others in his entourage. You can’t miss Drake. He’s got a tall round hat, beard, a bit of a drawl and he’s as magnanimous and charming as they come.

“I learned how to play guitar so I could keep people’s attention around the fire. A spark can start a fire and keep you alive and sustain you.  So this is the beginning for me.” Drake White

The beginning refers to his first album, “Spark”.  White has been on a journey from his native Hokes Bluff, Alabama to Nashville where he is presently living. His music is earthy, soulful with an intensity that captures his upbringing. The influences range from his grandfather’s gospel sermons to Jack Johnson and Buffalo Springfield.  There is a refreshing authenticity.  The title song from that album is “Heartbeat” and you can hear a rare private performance of it below.  His tour begins February of 2017. The acoustics in the caves were amazing. Drake’s voice literally swept us all away as we were completely silent and eagerly listening. Truly a magical moment. Listen in:

Drake White In His Words:

TWS: You sang in a cave and serenaded a big group at Trinchero in the family library. Have you sung in a wine cave before?

Drake White: No but the shower kind of sounds like a cave.

TWS: What is the most unusual place you’ve played your music?

Drake White: A hotel elevator.

TWS: Spark is your debut album. What was the inspiration for the name of the album and what does this album mean to you?

Drake White:  I’ve always been enamored by the spirit of a flame and love how a fire sustains, warms and encourages camaraderie among folks. With this being my first album, I decided to call it “spark” because it is the start of a fire that many will experience. Love, acceptance, and brotherhood for many years to come.

TWS: What is your creative process when you are songwriting?

Drake White: I love nature, travel, animals, and people. It’s the experience with these loves that inspire my songs. I like to live then come in and write about that process. I generally like to freestyle lyrics over a melody and fine tune from there.

TWS: Who are some of the musicians who inspired you to write and sing?

Drake White: The Allmans, Marshall Tucker, Willie, Roger Miller, James Taylor, Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, Sublime and John Prine.

TWS: What kind of impact did growing up in Alabama have on your music?

Drake White:  It’s everything!! The geographical location of Hoke’s Bluff has a sound. It’s south Appalachian soul produced with tree frogs, cotton & the muddy Coosa River.

TWS: What’s the most challenging aspect of performing live for you?

Drake White: Being patient in the pocket and letting the crowd come to me. I get excited easily and have to remind myself to let it flow.

TWS: Where do you find yourself wishing you are when you are on the road?

Drake White: Traveling abroad with my wife enjoying experiences. I love the road and have so much respect for its warriors. But it does take sacrifice and dedication to man thy miles.

TWS:  What do you hope people walk away with when they listen to your music?

Drake White: Faith of a good world, good people and that the struggle is real so you might as well embrace the shit!!!

TWS:  If there was a younger version of you aspiring to be a musician reading this right now, what kind of advice would you give him or her?

Drake White: Enjoy yourself!   You’re going to achieve whatever you set your ragged ole heart to.

TWS: Today you live in Nashville. What has this done for your music and your life?

Drake White: Freedom to create with the best in the world.  The spirit of music city can be matched by no other. Diversity is king nowadays. Real is cool. Imperfection is the reality.

Drake White launches first album, Spark

Tour Dates: 
February 4 – Bangor, ME @ Husson University, Gracie Theatre
February 16 – Baton Rouge, LA @ Texas Club
February 17 – Katy, TX @ Mo’s Place
March 17 – Charlotte, NC @ Coyote Joe’s
March 18 – Greenville, SC @ The Blind Horse Saloon
March 23 – New York, NY @ Gramercy Theatre
March 24 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
March 25 – Uncasville, CT @ Mohegen Sun, Wolf Den
April 7 – Tampa, FL @ The Dallas Bull
April 13 – Nashville, TN @ Exit/In
April 14 – Louisville, KY @ Mercury Ballroom
April 19 – Warrendale, PA @ Jergel’s Rhythm Grille
April 20 – Shelby Township, MI @ Coyote Joe’s
April 21 – Indianapolis, IN @ 8 Seconds Saloon
May 5 – Columbus, OH @ The Bluestone
May 31 – San Diego, CA @ Moonshine Beach
June 2 – San Bernardino, CA @ Brandin’ Iron


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Drake White: Love, Grit & Spark

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