Effron White was born in West Memphis, Arkansas. He was exposed to the music of Bob Dylan in the early sixties, when the strange new sounds of that young folk singer came emanating out of the walls of his older brother's bedroom. A few years later, he staked claim to a neglected acoustic guitar his brother had gotten for Christmas.
In college, at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, he majored in art while writing songs and performing with his college musical partner, Elmo Sapwater, as the duo, Sapwater and White. After earning a master's degree in art in 1985, he began concentrating more seriously on singing and songwriting. In 1990 he began performing regularly in venues all around northwest Arkansas.