Earl White has been a fixture in the old time music community for nearly 50 years. He is one of the founding members of the Green Grass Cloggers and remains one of the few Black Americans carrying on the string band tradition.
“I can recall going to festivals, especially the Galax Fiddlers’ Convention and Mount Airy and being approached numerous times by someone saying, ‘I’ve never seen a Black person playing the fiddle,’” said White to the Cardinal News in a 2022 interview. “And from the Black community, having people say, ‘Why are you playing that stuff?’ Not being aware of the rich history and contribution of this music that came right out of the Black community.”
Earl is known for his broad collection of tunes and his driving style. He and his band recorded a set for the virtual festival IBMA Bluegrass Live powered by PNC. They later came down to Raleigh for the in person events in 2022 and 2023.
“Every opportunity I get just exposing it, and teaching through whatever medium I can,” said White in the same interview with the Cardinal News. “To just heighten people’s awareness of the fact that old-time music is not a Black music, it’s not a white music, it was always pretty much played together.”
White runs a bakery with his wife in rural Virginia. He also teaches private lessons, hosts jams and (when we’re lucky) comes down to Raleigh to play a PineCone Square Dance.