Beth White, formerly a Detiveaux before this night, is the lead singer and keyboardist for Houma-based band Autumn High. Along with Beth’s husband, Caleb White, on drums, the couple are joined on stage with relatives. Caleb’s brother, Sam White, plays bass, while their cousin, Kenny Kreamer, completes their sound on guitar and assists Beth with vocals.
DIGGING HOLES … CLIMBING TREES … PLAYING MUSIC
Individually, they have all had a passion for music that has been there for much of their lives. Caleb and Kenny have played music together since they were young boys.
“We’ve been playing music since we were 12,” Kenny says. “I guess we went from digging holes and climbing trees to playing music.”
While Sam was the original bassist of the group, he was only a ninth-grader in high school at the time—his dad said he was too young to play with the group. As Caleb and Beth began to date in high school, she started to hang around with the group while they played music.
“We tricked Beth into being in the band,” Caleb says, laughing. “We never asked her to be in—she just came hang out with us while playing and it just happened.”
Beth agrees that she was surprised to find out online that she was in the band.
“I saw it one day on Facebook, that I was the vocals of Autumn High,” Beth says. “I said, ‘Oh, really?’ They really did trick me into it. I grew to be less shy about it.”
“We’ve all gotten better together,” Caleb says, the other three nodding in agreement.
At 24, Kenny is the band’s elder. With a bachelor’s degree in general studies, he is focusing his efforts on music and the band. The group has been playing under the name Autumn High for four years. At first, Kenny wrote the majority of the band’s music. Now it is more of a collaborative process in which each band member brings his (or her) own ideas and expertise to the stage.
“Sam will be working on a guitar riff that he will come and show everyone,” Kenny says. “Our song ‘Shake Up My World’ started as Sam’s guitar part before we wrote the rest.”
After collaborating with the other members, Kenny meshes different parts to create a full song. Before Beth joined the group, Kenny provided the band’s lead vocals and gave their sound more of an alternative feel. Now with Beth at front and center, Autumn High has taken on more of an indie rock and pop vibe. Think The Cranberries meets Florence + The Machine.
Individually, each band member brings his or her own influences to the table. Kenny gravitates toward the ’90s—Gin Blossoms, Tom Petty and Nirvana—while Sam prefers Counting Crows and Kings of Leon.
As for the name Autumn High, well …
“It is not a drug reference, like some people think,” Kenny says. “It comes from that feeling you get when you see an old friend—this awesome high you get. Also, that same feeling you get during the fall.”
Autumn High frequents the bar scene in Houma, usually The Brick House or The Boxer and the Barrel. They have also played for Houmapalooza, the Chauvin Culture Festival and Nicholls State University’s Crawfish Day.
“We really enjoy playing at The Brick House—we can bring a big crowd in there and they are really helpful,” Kenny says. “They care about the actual people in the bands.”
As for playing out of town, the band has done one show in both New Orleans and Lafayette. They have two recorded singles, “Jester” and “Shake Up My World,” as well as two music videos, the first of which the band put together themselves. Caleb says right now they are trying to gain more of an online media presence and hope to book shows out of town during the summer. They would also like to record a six-song EP in order to increase exposure of the band.
“We’d love to tour with Black Rose, a local rap group,” Caleb says. “We sometimes do mash-ups with them. They are extremely talented and creative.”
Sam, still a senior in high school, has plans to attend Nicholls, although he has yet to choose a major. Beth works as the manager of The Salon Rubicon, while Caleb is a physical science high school teacher and coaches a ladies’ basketball team.
“The rock star life,” he says, smiling as everyone chimes in with laughter.
SCHOOL OF ROCK
All of the band’s members have been playing music since they were young. Kenny was in his middle school’s band, and by the end of high school was making comedy songs before starting to write more serious music. He even passed along his musical knowledge to his younger cousin.
“Kenny actually taught me how to play guitar,” Sam says. “In the eighth grade, I picked up a bass guitar.”
Beth says she has been singing for as long as she can remember. Beginning in the fourth grade, she took piano lessons for five years. Caleb began playing the drums at school in the fifth grade.
“When I was 12, I said screw band because my parents got me a drum set,” Caleb says.
Being a member of Autumn High and performing on stage means something different for each of them. For Beth, it is about the thrill and fun of it all.
“For me, it is a release of emotions,” Caleb says. “You bang on the drums and can control what people do and feel in the audience. When you have written something and you see the crowd react and are just as excited as we are, it is an affirmation that we are doing something right.”
Kenny agrees: “With lyrics, you can express in a way that you can change the whole energy of the room. You can be reflective, dance, whatever.”
While showcasing their own music, Autumn High also perform covers from a variety of genres, including Aretha Franklin’s “Respect,” The Cranberries, The Rolling Stones, MGMT, Katy Perry, Tom Petty and Florence + the Machine.
“We have a lot of family members that attend the shows, so we try to appeal to everyone,” Beth says.
Though they all have other jobs and responsibilities, they all agree that music is a true passion.
“Plus, it is much more fun than a regular job,” Sam says.
IT FEELS RIGHT
While having a married couple in the band creates a different dynamic than most groups, the members of the quartet agree that it feels right.
“There is not really a difference—it feels the same to us since they were together before the band really got together,” Sam says.
Autumn High now gather for “band night” at Beth and Caleb’s house to write music and rehearse. But with a group of family and friends, these meetings sometimes turn into social hour more than anything else. As one can imagine, the bandmates have had their fair share of interesting moments.
“I once split my finger open right before a gig,” Kenny says. “I was skateboarding in front of Beth’s parents’ house and fell on a bottle. I needed stitches, but we were playing a show five houses down.”
“In 10 minutes!” Beth adds.
Not one to miss a show, Kenny wrapped his finger tightly with a bandage and the show went on.
“One lady at the front table kept staring at my finger,” Kenny says. “Blood started to flow down, and she was looking at it the whole time. One of my strings popped, too! It was one of my worst shows.”
Sam quickly adds: “Because I wasn’t in the band yet, of course.”
‘MUSIC BROUGHT US TOGETHER’
Beth and Caleb met while in 11th-grade math class at South Terrebonne High School. During their senior year, they teamed up to perform a song at their school’s Carnival tableau.
“She was different and cooler than any girl I ever met,” Caleb says. “She sang this one song, and I would go and listen to it on MySpace every day. I even showed it to my mom.”
The two went to rehearse their performance at Kenny’s house, and before the night of the tableau, they had already started dating.
“You never really know right away, but I knew in the beginning that I could definitely see myself with him forever,” Beth says. “Music brought us together.”
Together for five and a half years, music is still a big part of the young couple’s lives.
“Sometimes we will just sit on the couch and bust out in a tune,” Beth says. “Caleb will start singing and it’s natural for me to join in. Twenty minutes later, we look at each other like, ‘Oh, my God, we have been doing that for a long time!’”
Caleb adds, “Yeah, some people think we are weird.”
MARRIED IN MUSIC
Beth and Caleb tied the knot in early January. Alongside Caleb at the altar stood his brother Sam as his best man and Kenny as a groomsman.
“But I was the ‘better man,’” Kenny jokes.
In a moment of spontaneity at the reception, the band jumped on stage to perform.
“It was really awesome and actually turned into a concert,” Beth says. “Our photographer even wrote a blog that said the wedding was a concert atmosphere. The whole bridal party came on stage.”
In addition to performing their favorite covers, they gave their guests at the reception a preview of their original song “Shake Up My World,” which they released as a music video two weeks later.
“I loved performing in my wedding dress,” Beth says. “I wish I could do it all the time.”
In their wedding video, Beth and Caleb’s closest friends and family are seen and heard singing along to every word, dancing and jumping around to the beat, and enjoying every second. Beth turns back at her newly pronounced husband and smiles. The groom smiles back and then looks to his brother and his cousin—together, they are all in perfect harmony.
“Just playing music with her, getting to know her in that way and then more so as my girlfriend, I just knew there’d be nobody better for me,” Caleb says.
Watching Autumn High perform, anyone can see the love between a young couple, among family, among friends—beautifully married in music.
Click here to watch Autumn High’s “Shake Up My World” music video.