Mandolin Man; The Bluegrass Life of Roland White


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Roland White’s long career has taken him from membership in Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys and Lester Flatt’s Nashville Grass to success with his own Roland White Band. A master of the mandolin and acclaimed multi-instrumentalist, White has mentored a host of bluegrass musicians and inspired countless others.

Bob Black draws on extensive interviews with White and his peers and friends to provide the first in-depth biography of the pioneering bluegrass figure. Born into a musical family, White found early success with the Kentucky Colonels during the 1960s folk revival. The many stops and collaborations that marked White’s subsequent musical journey trace the history of modern bluegrass. But Black also delves into the seldom-told tale of White’s life as a working musician, one who endured professional and music industry ups-and-downs to become a legendary artist and beloved teacher.

An entertaining merger of memories and music history, Mandolin Man tells the
overdue story of a bluegrass icon and his times.

©2022, University of Illinois Press

“Black’s own relevant musical experience, alongside his interviews with White, his family, and country music icons such as Marty Stuart, make this biography a must-read for bluegrass aficionados. Although White may not be a household name to those outside the bluegrass scene, he richly deserves this long-awaited tribute.” —Library Journal

“Superb. . . Bob Black has delivered another instant classic biography of one of bluegrass music’s most valuable, but perhaps under-appreciated, influencers and torch-bearers. If you read but one bluegrass history or biography this year, make it Mandolin Man: The Bluegrass Life of Roland White.” —Bluegrass Unlimited

Kudos to Bob Black for shining a light on a great musician and even better person…Mandolin Man tells not only the story of the twists and turns of [Roland] White’s long and winding career path, but also of the evolution of bluegrass music itself. His points of intersection with nearly every acoustic music icon are mind-boggling, and Black connects it all in fascinating detail with many first-person stories from and about dozens of iconic musicians. –-The Nashville Musician