Much of the country music community was numb after hearing the news that one of its most precious treasures — singer, songwriter and actress Lari White — had passed away in the early morning hours of Jan. 23. One of Lari’s longtime friends, Travis Tritt, was among those who shared his grief, and it reminded us that the pair were also once co-writers and duet partners.
Back in 1997, Travis and Lari collaborated on the breakup song “Helping Me Get Over You” in the writer’s room, the recording studio and in front of the camera for the music video for the Top 20 single. The tender country ballad that opens with just guitar, fiddle and piano was the fourth single from Travis’ 1996 album “The Restless Kind,” and in true duet style, Travis and Lari ‚ both known for their extremely soulful voices — each took a verse, then came together for the chorus. And the results were as delicious as buttercream.
There’s another duet, though, that is tugging at our heartstrings. During a 2017 stop at the Red Clay Music Foundry in Duluth, Georgia, Lari and husband Chuck Cannon performed “I Love The Way You Love Me,” a song Chuck wrote for another ’90s country hitmaker, John Michael Montgomery.
The news of Lari’s passing rippled through Nashville on Tuesday, sparking an outpouring of grief and love from the green-eyed-beauty’s peers, as well as members of a new generation of singers and songwriters who cite her as an influence, including Charlie Worsham, Emily West and Jason Michael Carroll.
She has helped me in so many ways. When I moved to New York, she hooked me up with singing at a piano bar and told me who to talk to and then she created a plan for me in my months of living there. She has rooted for so many artists. She speaks so eloquently and earnestly-it’s like she is from another time. One Christmas, I house sat for her and her husband Chuck and I took long baths in her tub and I popped some old Xanax in her medicine cabinet, I browsed through her books and looked in her fridge and started buying organic things after that. I lost her dogs but they came back- she was cool the whole time. She is so poised and graceful and her ability to believe in the underdog has shown me what true faith is. She has re-shoe-ed so many tired horses and has uplifted the weary. She has always given me lessons in how to write a perfect song and her knowledge was recycled from all the greats that she learned from. Whenever she left, she left a place more beautiful than it was. Please keep Lari in your prayers. Please bring healing to this fascinating beautiful lady. Please pray for her husband Chuck and her three kids. I’ve always pictured her as a beautiful old woman- Just breathtakingly beautiful. Please pray for this angel on earth. ✨#LariWhite
Many of Lari’s artist friends who were prominent on the radio charts and actively touring with her in the 1990s, including Lee Roy Parnell, Suzy Boggus, Bryan White, Sawyer Brown and Doug Supernaw, also shared messages of sadness and sympathy on their social media pages.
Such a sad day… "Saying Goodbye To A Friend" Lari White passed on today.😞 She was a tremendous talent and such a bright spirit. I am grateful to have had her friendship. She fought cancer like a warrior. Lari, I will hold the memory of your shining green eyes always and the sound of your beautiful voice bluesy and soulful! My heart is breaking for Chuck and their kids and all all of Lari's family and dearest folks.😘
Country legends Charlie Daniels and Crystal Gayle also had messages for Lari’s family, friends and fans.
Even country music institutions like the Grand Ole Opry joined the growing list of mourners.
We said goodbye to Lari entirely too soon. The 52-year-old was still actively touring and teaching before she stepped away last fall to focus on her health. The young wife and mother is survived by her husband Chuck and their three children, M’kenzy, Kyra and Jaxon.