Kenny White — the pianist, singer/songwriter, producer and arranger — has been in the NYC recording scene for decades.  And lucky for us, he recently blessed us with a concert at Villa Cappelli. So we took the time to sit down and get his thoughts on the current music scene, his creative process, and even play a few songs.

Topics we cover:

• How Paul and Kenny met in the advertising business
• The Coke commercial that Paul and Kenny worked on:

• How Paul wanted a 60 piece orchestra for the spot and Kenny then had to write a piece for 60 pieces which he had never done before
• How Kenny had to stay up to write the song and miss his wife’s birthday
• A film had never been filmed at Rockefeller Center before
• Getting through the bureaucracy is by schmoozing people
• How people are buying vinyl again
• Kenny is doing a tour of his latest album Long List of Priors
• The countries he’s toured, including Belgium, Holland, Germany, Sweden, Denmark, England and Italy
• The title comes from the song “A Road Less Traveled”
• The song, “The Other Shore”
• Kenny’s song he wrote when leaving Italy, “The Olive and The Grapes”  Lyrics below:

The sun made good time today, broke the long night’s tension
It skied along the cloud tops, ’til it lit the starboard engine
Doesn’t matter how the coin lands, heads or tails,
With paradise dissolving into the vapor trails

Up here, you’d think we’d be much closer to the spot where heaven waits
No that’s down there, somewhere among the olives and the grapes

Lost under fedoras, dead smokes and worn out skin
The men stand at the bar and nod to every person hat walks in
Already on their 4th cup, the fraternity is clear
As they laugh at the same jokes they’ve told for 40 years

I’m leaving with a missing part, the story’s incomplete
So I’ll make up an ending with fewer bruises and scrapes,
‘The boy who traded in the blacktop for the olives and the grapes”

War has knocked on doors here, spilled its venom in the streets
And history’s been laid low between enemy drumbeats
A young girl sits by the water, like so many have before her
Imagining a life that reaches way beyond her border

I know that she has planned at least a hundred great escapes
But she belongs right there among them
Belongs right there among them
She belongs right there among the olives and the grapes.

Kenny White – vocal, piano, Antoine Silverman – string arrangement, Gary Schreiner – accordion, Marty Ballou – bass, Antoine Silverman – violin, Entcho Todorov – violin, Jonathan Dinklage – viola, Anja Wood – cello

• Which comes first for Kenny, the lyrics or the music when writing music
• Kenny’s songwriting theory
• How most music today is about nothing, has no real story
• Paul believes because music is not political today, it might be holding back political movements and causes
• The political songs that Kenny has written
• Why songs aren’t political today
• The movie “The Last Waltz
• The picture of the Pope’s visit to NYC where no one is “in the moment”
• Kenny’s experience with Woodstock
• Paul’s experience at the Watkins Glen Concert
• Kenny’s home in Brooklyn, New York
• Kenny’s experience growing up with a lot of Italian-Americans
• Kenny having to find someone to guard the stage during the homecoming dance
• Paul’s experience with music and Coke commercials
• To buy Kenny’s stuff:

• Kenny’s song with David Crosby and Peter Wolf
• Paul’s experience with Joe Cocker

Did you like our interview with Kenny White?  Any questions for him?  Let us know in the comments.

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You might think growing up in a small town in Texas wouldn’t prepare you to live the Italian lifestyle. But in many ways — the family values, the small town culture, the love of food — is very similar to what you’ll find in Italian culture. In fact, I expect it’s pretty universal. Having been married to an Italian for 20 years, it’s been fun to learn and explore the rich Italian culture and share it with you.