BiographyAbout Kenny White
Astonished audiences often ask KENNY WHITE after a live performance, “How come I’ve never heard of you?” when in fact, the pianist, singer/songwriter, producer and arranger has been very well known in the NYC recording scene for decades. He comes to the world of the touring singer-songwriter following a long and successful musical journey. LONG LIST OF PRIORS, his aptly named new album, is the latest collection of original songs: indelible snapshots of the human condition, from heart-wrenching to hilarious and observed with the precision of a diamond cutter. As on his past recordings, Kenny White’s work in the studio enabled him to assemble a who’s who of musicians and guest artists, including David Crosby, Peter Wolf, Larry Campbell, Amy Helm and Catherine Russell, along with his regular band featuring the dexterous Duke Levine on guitar, shape-shifting Shawn Pelton (Saturday Night Live) on drums, and the masterful Marty Ballou on bass. Now add the horns, strings, and other surprising arrangements, and LONG LIST OF PRIORS is a refreshingly original and multi-layered singer-songwriter recording.
White spent five song-less years before catching the first spark that would soon lead to LONG LIST OF PRIORS. Kenny says, “As usual, this became a deeply personal record for me. A chronicle of how the heart copes with the passing years, these tumultuous times, and the struggle to find simplicity in a complex world. It took being able to tune out the noise and interference of that world before I could hear what was inside me. That’s the trick. I also wanted to make a pure ‘sounding’ record. Where you can lose yourself in the sonic landscape and feel like you are in the room with the musicians and singers.”
Born in New York City and raised across the river in Fort Lee, New Jersey, Kenny White began his career in the 1970s, touring exclusively as the keyboard player for Jonathan Edwards and Livingston Taylor, with whom he opened Linda Ronstadt’s legendary, “Living in the USA” tour. He then became a fixture in the NYC studio scene throughout the 1980s and 1990s, producing and arranging literally hundreds of commercials for TV and radio, beginning with “The Unsinkable Taste of Cheerios,” nearly seven years of Chevrolet’s “Heartbeat of America” campaign, and countless ads for the Coca Cola company. Commercial work enabled White to direct artists as renowned and varied as Gladys Knight, Ms.Ronstadt, Mavis Staples, Ricky Skaggs, and Aaron Neville. He even was tapped to conduct a portion of the London Symphony Orchestra for a series of commercials for Greyhound bus lines.
White worked on many film soundtracks as a contributing writer/musician including Message in a Bottle, Where the Heart Is and four films by Indie-director laureate, John Sayles. His piano solos set the scenes throughout the beloved A Walk on the Moon, which often gets a resurrection on the anniversary of the Woodstock Festival. Kenny also appears on dozens of recordings of other musicians, including Marc Cohn’s platinum debut album.
Whenever he could break free from the four walls of the recording studios, Kenny would often support other musicians in live concerts. After being hailed by reviewers from the New York Times to the San Francisco Chronicle for his “thrilling” and “unique” piano playing, White chose, in 2001, to devote himself to making his own album, one that not only showcased his talent as a musician, but also as a lyricist. Friends such as Cheryl Wheeler invited White to tour as an opening act on behalf of his first album, UNINVITED GUEST. Both the album and White’s skill on piano and guitar, coupled with his warm and charming on-stage personality were met with critical acclaim. An early copy of his follow-up record, SYMPHONY IN 16 BARS, landed in the hands of Judy Collins, who then signed him to her own Wildflower Records label, releasing the CD in 2005.She often invited White to open her concerts. The standing ovations he received in those large concert halls, encouraged White to follow up with the EP, NEVER LIKE THIS. His subsequent recording, COMFORT IN THE STATIC, was released in 2010 to wide-ranging praise, landing on many “Favorite Album of the Year” lists. The late Pete Fornatale declared on his WFUV-FM show, Mixed Bag, “I know by June what my favorite album of the year is. I cannot imagine hearing a more riveting or compelling recording between now and December. It’s all locked up.”
Kenny White’s record producing credits include Shawn Colvin’s Grammy-nominated song, “I Don’t Know Why,” as well as the last four solo CDs for Peter Wolf, formerly with the J. Geils Band: FOOL’S PARADE, SLEEPLESS (named one of Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”), MIDNIGHT SOUVENIRS, which debuted at #45, and the 2016 release A CURE FOR LONELINESS, which reached #23 on the Americana chart in its first 6 weeks. Kenny often joins Wolf’s Midnight Ramblers band on tour, honing his celebrated rock & roll keyboard skills, and to play onstage alongside his own LONG LIST OF PRIOR musicians, Duke Levine and Marty Ballou.
The productions with Wolf afforded Kenny the opportunity to work with an array of guest artists including Mick Jagger, Merle Haggard, Shelby Lynne, Steve Earle, Neko Case, and to record a track side by side with Keith Richards.
White’s music has been discovered in the UK and Europe, and he recently traveled to Livomo, Italy, to accept the International Songwriting Award at the Annual Premio Ciampi music festival. He often attracts an intriguing patronage to his concerts. Robert Plant was recently sighted in rapt attention at one of White’s solo shows in the UK and Jackson Browne, the same, at one of Kenny’s L.A. shows.
He still, from time to time, tours with Judy Collins throughout North America and performs the duet “Veterans’ Day” on her recent BOHEMIAN CD. He often shares a stage with his good friend Cheryl Wheeler, appearing on her live recording, GREETINGS, which he also produced. And though he has all but given up his days as a sideman, in 2014, he accepted an offer by none other than Tom Jones to play in his ‘soul quartet’ for a sold-out, three week US tour.
Kenny is currently touring in support of LONG LIST OF PRIORS.
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