Capitol Theatre at Capitol Theatre
Seeing Drake White live is far from an ordinary concert experience. Equal partswarrior leader, holy-fire reverend, and gypsy Appalachian mountain man, hefronts his band with a mix of Muscle Shoals groove and honky-tonk grease. Thegoal? To continue building an inspired community with his voice, country-soulspirit, and relentless optimism, fusing everything he does — from the shows heplays with The Big Fire (his blue-collar band of road warriors), to the events hehosts at Whitewood Hollow, the rustic event space he hand-designed with hiswife, Alex, in rural Tennessee — with the big-tent spirit of a revival."There's a Huckleberry Finn-type freedom to everything we do," Drake says in hisrich Alabama drawl. "Whether I'm onstage, in the recording studio, or outdoors,it's all about absorbing inspiration and giving it back. Alex and I are builders.We're weaving that spirit into our mission of building community, building culture,living good lives, and serving people — whether that means serving our maker orour audience or our guests at Whitewood Hollow."From his childhood days singing with the First Baptist Church youth choir inAlabama to his emergence as one of country music's most acclaimed innovators— with four Top 40 hits, multiple nationwide tours, and a dedicated cult followingall under his belt — Drake has happily blurred the boundaries between musicand every other moment of his life. After all, music doesn't begin or end whenhe's onstage or in the studio. It's informed by everything he does, whether he'spaddling a river, building a barn, starting a fire, or spending time with his wife. Alover of nature and a boundless traveler, he's as happy camping in Montana ashe is tilling the earth at his home in Tennessee. All of it helps fuel his largermission to be present and to live fully in the moment.That mission has been strengthened not only by Drake's milestones, but also hissetbacks. Halfway through a show in August 2019, he collapsed onstage, theresult of a hemorrhagic stroke caused by a life-threatening tangle of arteries andveins in his brain. Shows were cancelled and plans put on hold as Drakeunderwent months of intensive physiotherapy — as well as a series of operations— to repair his Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM). Step by step, he regained theuse of his left side. Throughout it all, Drake reminded himself to make theabsolute most of every waking moment, both onstage and off."There was a revival in my heart and my soul," he says of his recovery. "I felt anoverwhelming sense of joy and gratitude towards my maker, my life, and thesimple things. A paradigm shift happened. I stopped worrying about the things Icouldn't control. I kept writing music and running with that Huckleberry Finnmentality I've always had. I kept on swimming, kept on rafting, and kept onrocking. People are going to hear that in my new music. They're going to see it inmy shows. The excitement never left me; it's just greater now. I walk onstagethese days and feel so thankful to be there — to be able to do what I love to do."That sense of gratitude is also evident in Whitewood Hollow, the rustic eventspace that Drake and Alex White built in an oak-covered, hand-designed barn.Tucked into the Tennessee hills outside of Nashville, the space officially opened its doors in February 2020, marking the culmination of a six-year dream thatbegan as a pencil-sketched drawing on a napkin. Whitewood Hollow is more thanjust an event space; it's also an opportunity for Drake and Alex (an artisan chef,event planner, and pioneering businesswoman in the vein of Rachel Ray) toformally unite their creative forces. Furthermore, the barn represents anotherchance for Drake to continue his life's mission of encouraging community andserving others."It's a culture thing; it's what I grew up with," he says of Whitewood Hollow'srootsy charm and service-oriented purpose. "I grew up with lots of barns. Itrepresents hard work. It represents comfort for me. I've had some of the greatestmoments of my life in a barn." In Whitewood Hollow, he's co-created the sort ofplace where people from all walks of life can come together, break bread, enjoyeach other's company, and share their stories.All of it, however, leads back to playing music. The grandson of a preacher,Drake grew up in the Baptist church, watching his grandfather bring thecongregation together during every service. Years later, he plays a similar role asthe frontman of Drake White and The Big Fire, leading his band and his audiencetoward a shared sense of rafter-shaking rapture. It's a mutual revival foreverybody involved."Music is my true love," he says. "Even when I lost the use of my left hand, Inever stopped writing and making new music. Now I have a catalog slammed fullof new songs that my fans need to hear, and I'm excited to watch these seedsthat I've planted start to bear fruit. My fans are my army, and I'm built to servethem. When they come to my show, that's what I am: I'm a servant to the peoplewho came here to have an experience."