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.
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.
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.