Rising Dallas-based star Angel White stakes a claim on ‘Ghost of the West: Volume I’

Angel White Photo: Kathy Tran

It’s not a question of if Angel White will become a star — it’s a question of when.

The Cleburne native, fifth-generation Texan and singer-songwriter is preparing the release of his first EP on May 10, titled Ghost of the West: Volume I. Simply put, the project is a stunning reminder of how Texas music can fuse genres, break barriers, and show the way forward, even as it looks back to the past.

“People who are from Texas and [have] been on this land for however long are wired different, and have real roots in life,” White said during a recent conversation. “So that just inevitably bleeds into whatever somebody does that is from Texas.”

For the now Dallas-based White, the six country-inflected tracks, produced by Dwight Baker, showcase a range of moods — from achingly wistful (the flat-out stunning “If You’re Gonna Leave,” which features luminous co-lead vocals from The Wind and the Wave’s Patty Lynn) to menacing (“Villain”) — and position him as one of the state’s sharpest songwriters.

The backstory behind the EP’s striking title is as arresting as White’s music, which has amassed more than two million streams to date. In 2020, White was living in a vacant hotel owned by a friend, and while holed up there with a couple other artists, decided to begin hosting what he describes as “word-of-mouth” underground shows billed as “Ghost of the West.”

And while the project uses that title, White also explains the scope is far beyond evoking long-ago performances: “This story itself is about every cowboy,” he said. “They came before me — the Native [American], the native Spanish, Black, like all of them. Another concept of that goes to the West being washed throughout media history, whatever your take is on it.

“The third [meaning] being my dad was just not there, but that’s a huge reason of why I am who I am — those three reasons are these ‘ghosts of the West,’ and I get to be that voice.”

White plans to release future volumes in the months ahead. He’s logged many miles opening for artists like Paul Cauthen, Kaitlin Butts, the Josh Abbott Band and the Arc Angels and will play a handful of local shows over the remainder of 2024, appearing in McKinney in June, Fort Worth in October and Dallas in November.

“I think my story is being told within the songs, but also other people’s stories,” White said. “So if [people] connect in any way, I’ve done my job. … [That] vulnerability is — I mean, for me, it’s gold.”

Preston Jones is a North Texas freelance writer and regular contributor to KXT. Email him at [email protected] or find him on X (@prestonjones). Our work is made possible by our generous, music-loving members. If you like how we lift up local music, consider becoming a KXT sustaining member right here.