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Saturday, September 19, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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From the heart: Bryan White headlines virtual MultiCare cancer benefit with Wade Hayes, Craig Campbell

UPDATED: Sat., Aug. 15, 2020

Live performance is like walking for Bryan White, who normally is on the road at least 200 dates a year. However, White has only had two shows since the pandemic changed everything in March.

The country singer-songwriter performed in Panama City, Florida, and Dallas in June. “Both shows were very successful,” White said while calling from his Nashville home. “A lot of people came out, but there were no meet-and-greets, which is weird for me since I love doing meet-and-greets.”

White, 46, who will perform Tuesday at the Coeur d’Alene Resort for MultiCare Inland Northwest Foundation’s virtual benefit Heart Strings, like the rest of his peers, misses touring. “If you ask anybody in my line of work, we wish we were out there. We also have taken it for granted.

I can’t wait to have the opportunity to perform again on a stage with some other performers.”

Proceeds from the second-annual, online-only event, which can be watched at multicareheartstrings.org and crowdmusic.com, will benefit local cancer care and expand access for cancer patients in the Inland Northwest.

The Grammy Award winner, who has hit the top of the country chart with songs such as “Someone Else’s Star,” “Rebecca Lynn,” “So Much for Pretending” and “Sittin’ On Go,” detailed what it will be like to sing in the round with his pals and fellow singer-songwriters Wade Hayes, who is a cancer survivor, and Craig Campbell.

White also reveals what he remembers about sharing a sound stage with the recently departed TV icon Regis Philbin and recalls his first Spokane performance 23 years ago.

How cool is it to go out in an informal songwriters circle to play your songs and talk with your pals Wade and Craig?

It’s going to be amazing sharing stories about the songs and talking about life. We’re going to talk about how we’ve been impacted by the pandemic. A great part about this show is how we’re going to connect. As humans, we need that connection. People miss the big show, the big circus that comes to town. I think they’ll get a little of that with our performance.

You’re longtime friends with Wade. What is it about good pals performing in this environment?

We’ll both be relaxed. Wade and I came on to the scene together around the same time. We’ve known each other for 25 years. I appreciate his friendship very much. He’s one of the most humble people I’ve ever met. We’re both from Oklahoma. We grew up within an hour of each other, but we didn’t meet until we both moved to Nashville.

It’s cool you’re coming to the area for this event since you’re from Oklahoma and live in Music City. But it seems as if everyone has been touched by cancer.

It’s true. We’ve all been touched by cancer in some way or another. I’ve lost a few family members to cancer. Wade has an incredible story that I’m sure he’ll share. You got to hear it. It’ll be a great event to support and take your mind off of the coronavirus.

Is there any upside of the coronavirus for you?

I’ve come out of my box a bit due to all that has happened. I’ve offered a lot of my services to other writers and performers. If they want me to play acoustic guitar or drums for their sessions, I’m open to that. I love doing that kind of stuff.

You were a drummer before you were a singer-songwriter, correct?

The first instrument I gravitated toward was the drums. My dad showed me how to play the drums, and I went from there. I eventually picked up the guitar, but still to this day, I fancy myself a drummer. I feel organically connected to that instrument.

You were so young when you experienced crazy success. What was it like dealing with that?

I was just thinking about that since I was editing a spot I did on “Regis and Kathie Lee.” You know I’m dating myself by talking about being on “Regis and Kathie Lee”! I was watching the clip, and I can see I was so scared. It took me a while to get comfortable being in my own skin. I had that deer in the headlights look.

What was it like being on the show with Regis Philbin?

I’m so sorry he just passed away. Regis was a real character. That was so even at 5:30 in the morning. It was always an early call, and when I would soundcheck, he would be there. He was always funny, witty and snarky.

Why were you breaking out the old footage?

I’m putting it on YouTube for the fans. It’s fun to put it on whatever it’s called, Throwback Thursdays, Wayback Wednesdays or whatever. I get nostalgic.

Speaking of nostalgia, fans should most likely expect the hits when you perform in Coeur d’Alene, correct?

I have a pretty good idea of what I’ll play. I’ll do some of my hits since fans will want those. I may throw in a new song. It’s called “What I Already Know.” It’s fitting for this time since it’s about having faith and reminding yourself to believe what you already know and lean on your faith in God.

You’ve played a number of times in the Spokane area. You seem to have some affection for the area.

I truly do. I’ve been performing in the Pacific Northwest for so many years, particularly in and around Spokane, and I really love it. It’s not just about performing there. A few years ago, we (White’s family) did a whitewater trip near Spokane and had a great experience. I love Spokane.

What’s your favorite Spokane memory?

Playing the Spokane Arena in 1997 while on tour with Vince Gill, who is one of the nicest and most talented guys you’ll ever meet. That was one of the greatest years of my life. Vince has such a big heart, and he’s also from Oklahoma. I had so much fun at the show in Spokane. I’ll make some more memories when I come back to the area next week.

White, Hayes and Campbell will perform Tuesday for the Multicare INW Foundation event, which is livestreaming from the Coeur d’Alene Resort. Show time is 7 p.m. Tickets are $10. For more information, go to multicareheartstrings.org.

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