“The treatments are completed, and my taste buds are returning, so I’m happy chappy,” wrote North County blues guitarist, harmonica-player, and vocalist Steve White in a February 13 email. It’s been five months since doctors removed his vocal chords to fight the cancer in his esophagus. During the following five months, as White underwent radiation and chemotherapy treatments, he strummed blues riffs on his guitar and watched the stack of medical bills inside his Leucadia home grow.
To help raise money for White’s mounting medical debt, local blues musicians Steve Mendoza, Shawn Rolfe, and Candye Kane joined efforts and appeared at benefit concerts for White, one at the Encinitas Public Library in December and another at Old Time Music in North Park this past January.
“I had a chance to perform,” writes White in his email. “It was cathartic because I was unsure whether I could do it without my voice and harmonica, or that it would work, and I was most happy to find out it did.”
White’s influence and support stretches farther than San Diego County. Benefits for White have been held in Italy, Germany, and on March 4 in Prague, Czechoslovakia. For the March 4 benefit, a handful of European blues musicians will take the stage to raise money for the 59-year-old White. Also at the show, White’s newest concert DVD will be made available.
“I am humbled by this response, and it has kept my spirits up and kept me alive,” writes White about the benefit shows.
Benefit concerts aren’t the only events planned for White. On March 19, White takes off to Frankfurt, Germany, to attend MusikMesse 2010, an international musical instruments trade show. At the trade show, White will unveil an electronic foot drum that he helped develop with German music manufacturer AER Manufacturing.