Friendships that last over the decades are a precious thing, and that’s the kind of friendship singer-songwriter Chely Wright captures so eloquently in her post about her longtime friend, country singer Lari White.
As we’ve reported, Lari has entered hospice care after several months of battling peritoneal cancer. She has been through surgery and chemotherapy, including utilizing two new drugs to attack the aggressive form of this disease.
As Lari is surrounded by her family in hospice, her friends, like Chely, have been writing beautiful tributes in her honor.
Chely posted a photo of Lari sitting behind a keyboard with her eyes closed as she passionately belts out a song. It’s the photo of Lari that really drew Chely’s attention as she scoured the internet looking at images of her dear friend.
Chely writes on Instagram, “I’m not sure who took it, but in a single frame the photographer captured the essence of Lari as I’ve always imaged her; eyes closed and channeling some ancient, gifted spirit from a faraway and perfect place. When I saw this picture, I just felt her.”
Lari and Chely met in 1992 as they were both chasing country stardom. They had a mutual friend in the late Joe Compito, who spoke highly of both of them, and they quickly began a friendship as well.
Chely says, “We’d spend the next decade or so running into one another on the road doing the things that artists do. We were often the only female singer-songwriters present (whatever it was we were doing— charity event, guitar pull, radio promotion show or outdoor festival) and each of us always made it a point to go find the other for at least a quick catch-up before our respective plane, train, automobile or tour bus left to deliver us to the next town.”
Though they often talked about the ins and outs of the music business, Chely also looked forward to gaining insight on “the art of life” from Lari.
She writes, “In every other way, Lari White was the consummate artist and I, her student.”
In 1999, Lari and Chely met up to mourn the passing of their mutual friend, Joe Compito. Chely recalls the heart-wrenching moments they spent together.
“Lari and I cried together — hard — and the words that broke the silence were hers: ‘Chely, I mean honestly, how long did we really think the world would get to hold on to such a giant, pure and beautiful soul? I mean, come on.’ She was right.”
Chely goes on to share her thoughts for Lari’s husband, songwriter Chuck Cannon, and the couple’s three children as Lari comes to what it most likely the end of her time here with us.
She continues, “I will never, in my lifetime, think of Lari White and not think of her smile and the shine of her eyes as she literally lit up every room she occupied. And now I’ll forever hear the echo of Lari’s wisdom … in Lari’s voice … ‘Chely, I mean honestly, how long did we really think the world would get to hold on to such a giant, pure and beautiful soul? I mean, come on.’ She’s right again.”
There’s no better way to honor Lari than to go back and relive the indelible contributions the three-time Grammy winner made to the country format with her top 10 hits “That’s My Baby,” “Now I Know” and “That’s How You Know (When You’re In Love).”