Miss Lavelle White
2018 Austin Blues Society Award Nominee - Best Band
2018 Austin Blues Society Award Winner - Lifetime Achievement
Miss Lavelle has been singing the blues for over seventy years and has made her mark on Texas music with her songs and performances. Her band, “The L Men,” includes Grammy winner Mark “Kaz” Kazanoff on saxophone and harmonica, George Rarey on guitar, Appa Perry on bass, Paul “Buddha” Mills on drums and Matt Farrell on keyboard.
Hailed as an avatar of "true blues and a class act" (Portland Oregonian), Miss Lavelle’s rich history as a singer and songwriter is evident in the music she makes today. Emerging in the late 1950s on Houston's legendary Duke Records, White worked and toured with such greats as BB King, Buddy Guy, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding and James Brown. She had a nine year residency at Chicago's “Kingston Mines”.
Born in Jackson, Mississippi, “Lillia Mae” grew up in cotton fields and churches, the daughter of a gospel piano playing single mother. In her mid-teen years, she relocated to Houston, where she sneaked out of her brother’s house at night to feast on the city's vibrant and influential Gulf Coast mix of blues, soul and pop. Taken under wing by Clarence Hollimon and Johnny Copeland and mixing with such musical giants as Albert Collins and Guitar Slim, she began singing in clubs and won a deal with Don Robey's Duke label in 1958.
In the 80’s, Clifford Antone booked White into his Antone's nightclub in Austin, where she found herself in a community of younger admirers. Lou Ann Barton cut White's "Stop These Teardrops" and joined with Angela Strehli and Marcia Ball to later record her "Gonna Make It.”
In 1994, White released her first-ever album, Miss Lavelle, to considerable praise. Jazz & Blues Report hailed it as "one of the tastiest R&B finds of the year," while the Haight Ashbury Free Press noted it as "one of the strongest and most honest blues CDs to come through my door." She followed it in 1996 with another triumph, “It Haven't Been Easy”, which CMJ/New Music Report crowned as "a classic album indeed" and Houston's Public News trumpeted as "one of the finest soul music albums ever heard." She has since released a third album, “Into the Mystic” and is working on her fourth.
At a young 89, Miss Lavelle still charms and inspires audiences. She appears weekly at Austin’s blues club, Antone’s, as well as monthly at C-Boy’s and the Skylark Lounge. She
appeared at SXSW in 2017 and 2018. She headlined at the Ottawa Blues Festival in 2017.