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Diana Redux Part 2 What Happened to Diana White?

Updated: Oct 15, 2022


Diana White, late seventies. Courtesy of M. Manzo

Back in April, I wrote the following about Diana White in this post when I knew very little about her. In the previous post to this one, I shared new information I learned about Diana since Pluck was published, all within the last month or so. I have stayed on the Diana topic because I suspected she was important to David's story. Thanks to recent discussions with Diana's friends and family, I feel confident asserting that Diana and David were very close friends, and that she was likely one of David's first and most important collaborators as he developed as a musician and singer/songwriter in the mid seventies. I am working on a second edition of Pluck and will expand on their relationship in the next edition.


Diana plays her mandolin. By freshman year in high school Diana's many friends considered her a virtuoso on the instrument; she was largely self-taught. Photo courtesy of C. Powell.













1980, Diana at a festival with friends. Courtesy of M.Manzo.

In the mean time, here's what I can tell you. Diana was born in St. Louis, MO. During an era when many young people were excited about learning to play folk instruments and sing, her friends considered her playing exceptional; she was largely self-taught during her freshman year in high school and became a highly skilled player within a matter of months. Her singing impressed as well. Her music tastes were broad and refined: she started playing early European music; then, she fell in love with folk music. After graduating high school, she adopted the troubador lifestyle, traveling in her green van from gigs to festivals to gigs across the country. David and Diana were likely together for at least a year, starting in 1976; they eventually parted ways in 1977 to continue their own respective journeys, although they kept in touch occasionally until Diana married an Australian whom she met when one of her friends picked up the hitchhiker and introduced him to Diana. Diana and her husband moved to Australia in the early eighties. She kept up her writing and music career for a while, performing at festivals and on the radio. However, by the time she had her fourth child, she put her instruments aside. Unfortunately, like David, she suffered from serious health issues as she grew older, and passed away passed away in her early sixties on July 3, 2017.


I have grown particularly fond of Diana as I listened to her family and friends describe the young girl of the seventies' folk revival. She and David had much in common: both were driven to become virtuosos on their chosen instruments, and both were cultivating an encyclopedic knowledge of music genres and music history despite their young age. Diana's songwriting, especially, is impressive from the same time that David was expressing himself through his music. I am not surprised that Diana and David had such a close bond for a time. Both were highly sensitive people who were kind and well-received by strangers, and are still remembered and loved by many, many friends even today.


I am honored to be able to shine a little light on this remarkable young woman. Her brother believes that had Diana stayed in the U.S. and moved to the Nashville music crucible of the early eighties, she would have been at the top of her game as a session musician.


Listen to Diana sing and play her original songs on the three tracks below, courtesy of her brother R. White. Note that David titled the song, "Have Mercy on the Turtle in the Road" after Diana wrote it.

The Rain Song

Have Mercy on the Turtle in the Road

Summertime, Summertime/Old Fashioned Waltz



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