Matt White

Matt White's story is truly a grassroots one, in both the prehistoric analog and 21st-century digital senses. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin a couple of years ago, the Englewood, New Jersey native headed back to his teenage stomping grounds: New York City. But rather than immediately duke it out for the ever-elusive Manhattan club gig, White took his thoughtful, tuneful guitar pop directly to the streets. Literally — street corners, subway stations, anywhere. When he wasn't busking, the indefatigable dynamo with the distinguished Dylanesque profile set about building up his MySpace fan base. His smooth, breathy near-falsetto and radio-ready musical love letters hooked enough people into clicking "accept" until his friends list had grown to 50,000-plus and the more-clued-in types at the majors had taken notice. White finally inked a deal with Geffen and last year released the EP Bleecker Street Stories, a positively Village creation that paid homage to his freewheelin' idols in sound as well as in name. A debut full-length, Best Days, followed this past September. There couldn't be a better matchup than White with Jacob Miller, a hometown hero and Robert Zimmerman acolyte who has made waves the DIY way too (see this week's music story "Bringing It All Back Home").