“There are periods when you’re not always willing to look into your heart and take inventory. But, in time, that day does come, and if you can give an honest account of what you find in there, you’ll come out with something true. That is my aim.”
Kenny White has driven a long and interesting road to bring him to this moment. At eight years old, upon being asked whether he’d practiced this week’s piano lesson, Kenny remarked, “yeah…but HERE’S what I wrote.”
Those songs have not always come easily, however, after many successful years of various musical endeavors, they have led to White’s new Wildflower Records release, “Comfort in the Static.” A collection of wonderfully crafted songs, this album continues to follow the human condition with both unbridled detail and humor.
For many years, White was a fixture in the NY studio scene, writing and producing literally hundreds of commercials for TV and radio. In this capacity, he worked with artists like Gladys Knight, Linda Ronstadt, Dwight Yoakam, Ricky Skaggs, Kim Carnes Felix Cavaliere, Dobie Gray and Aaron Neville among many others.
His relationships with Marc Cohn and Shawn Colvin led to his producing Colvin’s Grammy-nominated, “I Don’t Know Why” and to his involvement in Cohn’s eponymous platinum debut record. White went on to produce three records for legendary J. Geils Band leader, Peter Wolf. The second of which, “Sleepless,” garnered the distinction by Rolling Stone magazine of being one of “the 500 greatest albums ever made,” as well as giving Kenny a chance to work with Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, and Steve Earle. A brand new release with Wolf entitled, “Midnight Souvenirs” will be released in the Spring of 2010.
As a contributing writer/musician, White worked on many a film soundtrack including, Message in a Bottle, Ed TV, Forces of Nature, A Walk on the Moon, Where the Heart Is, Edie & Pen, and four films by indie master, John Sayles.
After being hailed by reviewers from the NY Times to the SF Chronicle for his thrilling and unique piano playing, White chose to devote himself to making his first album and subsequently, “hitting the road.” His work in the studio enabled him to assemble an A-list team of players for that release, 2002’s “Uninvited Guest.” He traveled and opened shows for many mainstays, including Cheryl Wheeler, Shawn Colvin, Peter Wolf, Richard Shindell and Jonathan Edwards, quickly gaining a reputation as a ‘dazzling’ and ‘not-to-be-missed’ performer. An early copy of his follow-up record, “Symphony in 16 Bars” landed in the hands of folk legend Judy Collins who then signed White to her own Wildflower Records and released the CD in the winter of 2005. Showcasing another remarkable ensemble of talent, Symphony in 16 Bars picked up where Uninvited Guest left off, following a main character whose story, set in New York City, navigates the heart’s complexities through an ever changing urban landscape.
This year, in addition, Kenny is proud to announce his first non-musical publication. He joins a group of renowned essayists in a collection called, “The Black Body,” published by Seven Stories Press.
Early praise for “Comfort in the Static”…
“I’d have to say that Kenny White has earned a place among my favorite singer/songwriters…and particularly, lyricists. As we say in the trade “he goes deep.” A true wordsmith AND musician who reveals a fine sense of humor, as well. Put on your headphones and listen carefully.”
– David Crosby
“Songs of tragedy, comedy, life and death…Kenny White is the troubadour of our sometimes sweet, often troubled times. ‘Carry You Home’ is the big song I’ve been waiting for. Bravo, Kenny, in all categories…writing, playing, singing. Could I have some more, please?”
– Will Jennings (multi Oscar and Grammy winning songwriter)
Kenny White’s latest album Comfort in the Static, containing eleven new tracks from the experient songwriter, leads the listener on an intimate odyssey, the spotlight focused on our commonality as humans. From the first haunting melody of the opening track, Useless Bay, which begins as if White were letting us in on a bittersweet secret, to the catchy pop sensibility of the beautifully melodic Please. From the Dylan-esque sound of Who’s Gonna Be the One, to the plaintive musings of “I was fine until love got in the way” from Where You Are Tonight, Comfort in the Static is an arrestingly candid and personal collection of songs.
White’s Comfort in the Static is soulful singer-songwriting at its best; lush piano melodies combined with vulnerable vocals and smart, insightful lyrics make for a seminal recording that observes the boundaries between jazz, blues, rock, pop and folk…and then proceeds to step over them. With such seasoned, interpretive musicians as Duke Levine, Shawn Pelton and Marty Ballou backing him up, as well as the contributions of Big Al Anderson and ubiquitous T-Bone Burnett collaborator, Stephen Barber, White wrote and produced this new album with the listener in mind. Comfort in the Static showcases White as a deft storyteller employing striking arrangements and spot-on vocals reminiscent of Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan and early Randy Newman. This CD is a feather in the cap for Kenny White whose fan base continues to grow along with his talent as a singer-songwriter. Comfort in the Static is a powerful, sophisticated album that will stay with you long after the CD has stopped playing.