Singer/songwriter Drake White’s live performances are a rockin’, soulful, foot-stomping good time, making him an ideal choice to serve as the opener on Zac Brown Band’s Black Out the Sun Tour, a 29-city jaunt that kicked off on May 19 and wraps in September.
To prepare for each night’s show, Drake and his band—the Big Fire—have been warming up their vocal cords by singing the Beatles’ “With a Little Help From My Friends.” However, it’s clear that Drake is channeling his inner Joe Cocker—who covered the song at Woodstock in 1969—and not Ringo Starr, who originally sang the tune in 1967.
“The spirit of Joe Cocker’s performance that everyone has seen from Woodstock, that’s really where I got almost a permission slip to do what I feel on the stage,” says Drake to Nash Country Daily. “He was convulsing and just going all over the place. You could tell he was definitely in the moment. I’ve taken that kind of spirit over the last 10, 12, 15 years since the first time I saw that video, and just said, ‘You know, that’s true freedom, that’s true bliss.’ I’ve always loved the song and I remember it from the Wonder Years [theme song] when I was a kid. It’s just kind of a part of my musical upbringing. I brought it to the guys in the band, and they were like, ‘Heck yeah, let’s rock it.’ So we’ve been adding it to our shows, too.”
Check out the clip below of Drake and his crew warming up by singing “With a Little Help From My Friends” before a recent tour stop with ZBB.
In addition to his tour with ZBB, Drake has partnered with Ford Motor Company for the #LivingTheDream by Giving the Dream initiative. Drake will be making four more stops across the country in Los Angeles, Detroit, Dallas and Boston to join forces with agencies like the Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity to participate in local service projects. He kicked off the initiative on May 19 in Hartford, Conn., by teaming with Foodshare to pack food for needy families.
“We come in to all these cities, so my vision was why not just dive into the volunteer work—allow ourselves to be open and allow our hands to be used,” says Drake. “I think that’s what my calling is, and we’re blessed to have this pedestal. It’s kind of a test that God throws out there and says, ‘What are you going to do with the pedestal I gave you?’ For me, I want to do good things. I want to make the world a better place. That’s what #LivingTheDream by Giving the Dream is about.”
June 4: Los Angeles–American Red Cross
July 2: Detroit–Habitat for Humanity
Aug.14: Dallas–Ford Driving Skills for Life
Aug. 20: Boston–Greater Boston Food Bank
And if you need a reminder of the awesomeness of Joe Cocker, check out his performance of “With a Little Help From My Friends” from Woodstock in ’69.
photo by Dave Kan/Aristo Media