Symphony in 16 Bars

(Credits & Lyrics)


produced by kenny white
except:
closer, letter from x-ray, produced by paul bryan
might as well leave, produced and mixed by david barratt

recorded 6/03 – 3/04
at bailey building & loan by: ben wisch
at crushing by: john squicciarino, michael golub
at abattoir of good taste by: david barratt
at shelter island sound by: dave winslow

mixed by ben wisch
mastered by fred kevorkian, absolute audio

all songs written by kenny white (mvp music ASCAP) 2004
except ‘might as well leave’ written by kenny white and jill donnelly (bluebop music ASCAP) 2004
amy helm appears courtesy of dmz/columbia records
merrie amsterburg appears courtesy of zoe/rounder records

art and design: monica crigler
photography: todd chalfant

Wildflower Records

Buy Symphony in 16 Bars – $18

International Orders please email kennywhitenews@aol.com

Lyrics

1. Until You Learn

Until you learn to give your heart away
The moon’s just something big that hangs above the bay
You won’t even notice
If it’s not there one day
Until you learn to give your heart away

Until you learn to give your heart away
A song is just some pretty words
A melody you play
And comfort is a bottle
In some all night cafe
Until you learn to give your heart away

Until you learn to give your heart away
Love is just a visitor
A guest that couldn’t stay
And the mysteries of tomorrow
Are scenes from yesterday
Until you learn to give your heart away
Until you learn to give your heart away


jay bellerose…drums
paul ossola…upright bass
duke levine…resophonic guitar
joe shepley…trumpet
larry farrell…trombone
rick depofi…bass clarinet
kenny white…piano, harmonium

2. Shoot the Moon

I keep you under wraps
Like I was CIA
and you were some covert mark
There’s nothing as cold
As the light of day
When you’re standing in the dark
You can have them hold your mail
You can turn the ringer off
Pull the sheets over your head
Sooner or later you’ll stop shooting yourself
and shoot the moon instead

Never slowing down as Hudson curves around Horatio
Cabs are in a hurry for a fare
But summer being what it is,
and this night’s a beauty
Folks just want to get a little air
The harder I listen, the less I hear
The more I search, the less I find
But it feels like love is one part lightning
and two parts making up your mind

Start up the Chrysler, point it East
Let’s see how fast this baby goes
You know it’s often said
The one you need the least
Is the one you want the most

I’m getting tired of coming close
tired of the chances I don’t take
The thing about the heart that hurts the most
Is when you just can’t feel it break

I swear when I drink and
I’m cursed when I don’t and
Like everyone, I want to be rich
I guess it would be to stay in love,
yeah, that’s it…If I had one wish


shawn pelton…drums, loop
paul bryan…bass
larry saltzman…c. guitar
larry campbell…el. guitar
duke levine…el. guitar loop
rick depofi…tenor sax
kenny white…piano, wurlitzer

3. Anabel

I’ve got no more stories
To tell you here tonight
I’ve relived all my glory and
Should’ve left this bar while it was light
Oh but Annie babe, those smokes are gonna wreck
that creamy skin of yours
I’ll give you 5 to 1
that you don’t even taste them anymore

Anabel I hope you split this town
Before it kicks the daylights out of you
Babe, you’re like a jewel I found
I’ve never known a heart near as true
And I would sooner swallow fire
Than be the reason for your tears to fall
It’s coming to the wire
You better go before you lose it all

Hey, look at all these poseurs
We think the world owes us when we’re kids
My hair was long, my hands were strong
I could show you pictures…I already did?
Then we’ll isten to this saxophone,
sweet as the day they laid it down
You know, it kills me when you get that look
Like you just discovered sound

Anabel I hope you split this town
Before it kicks the daylights out of you
Oh babe you’re like some jewel I found
I’ve never known a heart near as true
I would sooner swallow fire
Than be the reason for your tears to fall
It’s coming to the wire
You better go before you lose it all
I said it’s coming to the wire
You better go before you lose it all
I say you better go before you lose it all


dan rieser…drums
paul ossola…upright bass
al anderson…el. guitar
kenny white…ac. guitar, piano, wurlitzer, B3
marc cohn…harmony vocal
ada dyer, catherine russell…backing vocals

4. Might As Well Leave

You can’t call it right
Just cause it’s not wrong
You can’t call it love
Just cause we get along
If you don’t see me now
Like you saw me before
There’s no use in calling me baby no more

Your far away eyes, the words you don’t say
I’m looking for something that time took away
You’ve played the last card up your sleeve
You’re already gone you might as well leave

Am I keeping you from saying goodbye
By trying to drink from a well that’s gone dry
You’ve pulled away, that’s just a fact
There’s really not much I can do about that

Your far away eyes, the words you don’t say
I’m looking for something that time took away
And it’s getting harder to breathe
You’re already gone, you might as well leave

I’m seeing the light and it looks so dark
The holding me tight, I miss that part
And there’s not much left to talk about
You found your way in; you can find your way out

You can’t call it happy
Just cause we’re not crying
You can’t call it living
Just cause we’re not dying
You don’t see me now like you saw me before
My heart cannot take that anymore

Your far away eyes, the words you don’t say
I’m looking for something that time took away
You played the last card up your sleeve
You’re already gone you might as well leave


kenny white…bass, guitar, percussion, harmonica, piano
david barratt…ambience
larry campbell…pedal steel
jay bellerose…snare drum
amy helm…harmony vocal

5. Different Today

They say the light from a star
can travel for centuries
how come your smile fades
before it ever reaches me
tell me if there’s something you need to say
or if you think everything’s ok
but things just feel a little different today

you got one eye going left
& one that’s going right
if i didn’t know you better
i’d say you were looking for a fight
ordinarily, i would not stay
i’d grab my coat and walk away
but things just feel a little different today

i don’t spend my time wishin’
and i’m not one for superstition
but i woke up this morning
with my fingers crossed

cat was barking, the dog meowed
the kitchen clock, it laughed out loud
said, “you know something new is found
when something old is lost”

i don’t expect you to laugh
at every word i say
if everything was black and white
god wouldn’t have made gray
thinks just feel a little different today


shawn pelton…drums
paul bryan…bass
al anderson…el.guitar
larry saltzman…resophonic guitar
candace debartolo…tenor sax
kenny white…wurlitzer, B3
amy helm…duet vocal
ada dyer, catherine russell…backing vocals

6. Five Girls

Five girls leaning on the bar tonight
Five tattoos at the small of their back
Since when has our skin become a canvas
I want to ask the one with the cellophane back pack
Yeah and I think that I might tell her that she’s
looking like a billboard
With that shirt that is cute,
but oh, so inappropriate for the season
Instead I drag my hand across the bar
and grab my keys and walk away
But you can’t be crucified
for the things that you don’t say

There’s something going down on 7th Avenue
Some dude handcuffed and down on his knees
These boys couldn’t be less interested
A bunch of Kojak wannabes
Yeah, well you could shave your head and suck a
lollipop and still end up a traffic cop
Trying hard tonight to choose between
the Chocolate Glaze and Boston Cream
But you can’t be crucified
for the things that you don’t dream

He’s lost in austerity in his forty-story tower
Rolling in prosperity and grateful for his power
He’s no maverick but sleeps just fine
And he once told me if he said no ten times
He’d be right at least nine

I said, Hey
If Edison had said no
If Jonas Salk had said no
If Debussy had said no
If Jesus Christ had said no
If Willie Mays had said no
If Shakespeare had said no
If Sigmund Freud had said no
I’ll tell you where we’d be
We’d be sick and in the darkness
With no one to inspire us
And nothing on TV
And even less in the fridge
We’d be blaming dad for everything
And not even have our Sundays off to barbeque
But you can’t be crucified
for the things you don’t do

So you might as well put it on the line once in awhile
Maybe leave something more than ashes in a pile
You got a brain, You got style
So you might as well put it on the line once in awhile
Yeah well, I forgot my glasses
So it’s back to that bar I go
Another chance to tell that girl
She shouldn’t let a stranger
stick a pen into her ass
But no, instead of being helpful
I realize what I really want to do
Is see the whole tattoo
Trace it with my lips
Erase it with my tongue
Finger paint the remaining Chinese alphabet
With the hot fudge I saved from Boule Bakery
that took a month to get a reservation
Plus I didn’t know I had to slip Pierre a fifty
not to be put next to the bathrooms
with the pictures of the little hen
and rooster on the door
Now I found my glasses
And instead of fessing up
I catch her eye and give a half way smile
and mumble something
about an early day
But you can’t be crucified
for the things that you don’t say


kenny white…piano

7. Letter From XRay

If I ever needed you
I need you now
Imagining this billet doux
could fall into your hands somehow
now the ice is finally melting
at the end of a long season
as we measure life in victories
yeah, like that gives us a reason

it’s like the blue fell from the sky
or the dark wouldn’t give back the light
If I did a million things all wrong
at least i’d know i did one right

yeah, i rode into this storm myself
and i’ll get out of it somehow
and home’s a place i just might see again
but it’s so far away right now

your skin was velvet in my hands
and your voice, a bird on a wing
and when i’ve taken my last breath
i will feel like i had everything
yeah, i had everything
and I’m thinking of this old song
and that you’re probably at home
not even conscious that you’re singing along
and that will get me through this night alone

but if some fate should change my plans
and destiny fools us after all
look for me where the breezes blow
keep your voice down
so you can hear me call


jay bellerose…drums, percussion
paul bryan…bass, chamberlain
duke levine…guitorgan, baritone & el. guitar
kenny white…piano, harmonica
merrie amsterburg…backing vocals

8. Heart of the City

He sleeps through half his days
But he acts like he’s expecting something soon
air guitar, purple haze, reruns in the afternoon
Profane and hard to please
His shelves are bare
Hard up so he relieves himself
right in the chair

(Chorus)
And the sidewalks grooved by the years
Oiled with the drops of broken hearts
This town is all deaf ears
Basically concerned with looking sharp
Ah but they’re pulling out the heart of the city

These streets have always been the ink that fills the pen
These faces are the paint we dip our brushes in
Lately everyone’s so clean
Everyone’s so mild
Is this the same place that use to drive the poets wild?

CHORUS

It’s all about a fast one
It’s all about a buck
I may feel a bit miscast sometimes
But never really stuck

Night is an alto riff
Cascading down
Steel rubs against itself way below the ground
Where the Redbirds have been running
Since a nickel let you ride
The concourse of bloodlines
All crammed up inside

But it doesn’t get as dark these days
At least that’s what I found
Broadway is a theme park
And the ashtray’s all skipped town
And artists on life support
Glamour is the star
You can’t raise the conscience by lowering the bar

CHORUS

They’re towing away the heart
They’re extinguishing the heart of the city


jay bellerose…drums
paul ossola…upright bass
duke levine…baritone guitar, mandola
larry campbell…el. guitar
kenny white…ac.guitar, B3
ada dyer, catherine russell…backing vocals

9. Workin' On A Way

It’s not that I don’t want to walk you all the way tonight
I’ve got this thing in the morning, alright?
I want to be rested, need to look sharp
Get a better version of myself to show
The one you said you liked so much
A few nights ago

Here’s five bucks, take a taxi or
Spend it on an ice cream cone
Something sweet like you,
but you’re gonna have to eat alone
I gotta find something decent to wear
All my crap’s so old, I swear
This eye twitch came from nowhere
Makes me look jumpy and scared
Like I need a fix
Like I get my kicks
Touring with Styx
So I can get chicks
Damn these ticks
I’ve got to get out my Schick and shave

I’m working on a way
To get us out of here
They’ll all show up one day
And we’ll be gone shifting gears
You can’t get nothing here but old
we’re gonna turn rust into gold
It might seem like we’re doomed to stay
But I’m working on a way

What do you mean? We make love plenty
It’s just not as urgent
Could you say it a little louder
I don’t think that guy in the semi heard you
While we’re on the subject
I had another dream about
How I get so far up there
And can’t find my way back out
When I finally do
I have one less particular

And guys, you know, we like things big
If only just vehicular
You suck for saying I’ll never change
And I suck for never changing

I’m working on a way to get us out of here
They’ll all show up one day
And we’ll be gone shifting gears
You can’t get nothing here but old
We’re gonna turn rust into gold
It might seem like we’re doomed to stay
Well, I’m working on a way

I like those bluegrass licks
I’m crazy about the way they sing
I love it when the banjo picks that
dingdikadingdikadingding
Hey come here, look at this map
Maybe we’ll head toward Blue Ridge
Somewhere South like that
Where Billie Jo jumped off that bridge
Did they figure that one out
I think it was suicide
It’ll feel so good when we can ride ride ride
I always think it’s nice down there
The trees and the sky so big
Then I get this picture of Ned Beatty
Squealing like a pig

I’m working on a way
To get us out of here
They’ll all show up one day
And we’ll be gone shifting gears
You can’t get nothing here but old
But we’re gonna turn rust into gold
It might seem like we’re doomed to stay
But I’m working on a way
(repeat)


dan rieser…drums
paul ossola…upright bass
antoine silverman…violin
riley mcmahon…el. guitar
kenny white…piano

10. Closer

I’m not a missionary guy
I just like the view from up above
Don’t worry when I close my eyes
It’s mostly you I’m thinking of

On a Tuesday, you smiled
It’s wild how one look
Can shake up your world
the shiver, embracing
the racing heart that needs us
Hoping it will lead us

Closer to the things we love

What could I be thinking of?
Your heart so black and blue
Just tell me when you’ve had enough
and this time maybe I’ll hear you

On the table getting dusty
Is just another half-developed photograph
No lines or definition
Just wishing for your head on my pillow
Familiar, but still no

closer to the things we love

I’m sold now, a believer
Either way we’re all just travelers
No start, no ending
Just bending with the winds that blow
Only we can truly know

If we’re closer to the things we love

Closer to the things we love

are we any closer?


jay bellerose…drums
paul bryan…bass, chamberlain, ac. guitar
duke levine…guitorgan, mandola, el. guitar
kenny white…piano, wurlitzer
merrie amsterburg…backing vocals

11. Symphony in 16 Bars

How do I put this down?
How can I make it clear?
What I am feeling now.
How I wish you were here.
How do you fit an ocean
Into a riverbed?
How do I turn your memory
Back into you instead?

I might as well try naming all the stars
Or write a symphony in 16 bars


symphony in 16 bars
shawn pelton…drums
paul bryan…bass
larry saltzman…12 string, ac. guitar
kenny white…piano
mike harvey…backing vocals
antoine silverman…string arrangement
strings performed by:
christopher cardona
david creswell
stephanie cummins
peter donovan
antoine silverman
anja wood
paul woodiel
krystof witek

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