Playing with Snowy White

Actually, my first encounter with Snowy was in Germany. We were both booked to play the same club on the same night. We were the opening act. I was perfectly happy with that arrangement. Shows start early in Germany. They’re always run well and on time, and if you want, you can do your show and still be back in your hotel at a reasonable hour.

Perhaps Snowy had the same idea. His tour manager came to us and asked if we could swop things around… in other words Snowy and his band go on first and we go on last. I didn’t fancy the idea of following him (he was quite popular in Germany) so I said to the tour manager – it’s OK, we’re the opening act so we’ll go on first as scheduled.

Less than five minute later, the club owner came to me and said – the arrangement will be as follows… Snowy and his band will go on first and you will go on second. Yes!

OK, fair play… it obviously wasn’t Snowy’s first rodeo either. You gotta hand it to him/them, they dealt with it perfectly. We had uilleann pipes in the band at that time, which usually required a decent soundcheck, so let’s just say it took us a while to find our groove. Such is life on the road.

The next time I bumped into him was in Italy. We were booked to play a festival with Mick Taylor but he got sick and the promoter needed someone to replace him. Luckily enough, the local promoter booked both Mick and Snowy, Snowy agreed to step in at the last moment and a disaster was avoided.

We’d flown in the evening before and the plan was to meet up with Snowy the following morning. I kept asking the receptionist if Snowy had checked in yet. No, no Snowy in the register. At one point she asked – what is his last name? White, I said. She said – we have a Terence White staying with us. I had to laugh – of course, he wasn’t going to sign in under the name Snowy!

So I got my guitar and went up to his room. He was doodling on the guitar the festival gave him. We talked a bit about the set, how we approached things and if he had any special wishes. No, he was perfectly willing to go with the flow. Nice!

I’m happy to report the gig went well. The crowd knew him and liked what he played, as did I. It had been arranged beforehand that if some of the other artists wanted to hang around and jam with us after our set that would be fine with us. When the time came, we were a little short on amplifiers because so many had stayed back to jam. Straight away Snowy said – I don’t mind, someone can use my amp. Wow, generous!

We all trouped on and did a standard blues shuffle, with everyone getting their turn to do a solo. Again, the crowd seemed to enjoy it. I got talking to some people after the gig was over and this guy came up to me and said – that Snowy White, big-headed guy. Couldn’t be bothered to come out and jam. I was so happy to put him right on what really happened and he amended his opinion and went off happy. That was a close one because I can tell you, Snowy is one of the nicest, most decent musicians I’ve ever worked with.

Fast forward to the Bospop Festival in Holland. Again, Snowy was our special guest and because we’d played in Italy already it was more relaxed this time. That was a great festival and the crowd were really receptive. We all had a great time but it was over way too soon.

In my opinion, Snowy is a class guitarist. He has his own style and a wonderful tone. He seems happy enough to keep his head slightly under the radar. It certainly seems to work for him because he’s happy with his life and that’s the most important thing. It was a pleasure and an honour to work with him.

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