The Sad Truth

“To Risa + Paul, Kenny White, 11-15-13”. 



That’s what it said on the front cover of the used CD that I had just ordered via mail.  I hadn’t listened to one song and already I was depressed in that special twisted depression that only songwriters feel.  Lucky us…


A month earlier I had been in New York City and took in a Peter Wolf concert at the Bowery Ballroom.  Great show, with Wolf and his band turning in a fine performance; enough that I even bought a concert tee (something that I rarely do).  Adding to the great night was the opening act, a guy I never heard of, Kenny White.  He was a New York singer-songwriter who was also filling in on keyboards in Wolf’s band.  Apparently the headliner thought enough of White to let him open the show with a 30-minute set.


I was glad I was there, because I was blown away.  Kenny White was a fabulous pianist, solid showman and above all a great songwriter.  He played about 5 tunes, each one colorful, poignant and absorbing.  A couple of them made me wish I had wrote them.  I was impressed with his insightful lyrics and catchy melodies.  So much that I grabbed my I-phone, found his CDs for sale on line (new and used) and ordered a couple.  When I returned home to California they were waiting for me in the mailbox.


The first package I opened contained White’s “Comfort In The Static” album, which disclosed the personal note and autograph I mentioned at the beginning of this lament.  I was confused, then depressed and then a mixture of confused depression.


First I wondered, who were Risa and Paul?  Okay, they, or at least one of them, thought enough of White’s music to purchase one of his CDs and petition him for an autograph.  I can only assume that this happened at a merch table following a show, where the artist sits and glad-hands with various fans and weirdos pretending to be happy to meet them, while actually hoping to meet groupies or talent scouts that just so happen to have caught the show. Were Risa and Paul a longtime couple?  First date? Music lovers?  Bored, stranded yuppies who just wandered in when they couldn’t find a taxi?


Then I thought, what the hell happened that caused Risa, Paul or both to want to sell a CD that they obviously spent at least a mild amount of effort in obtaining?  Did they take it home, put it on and then were disappointed?  Did one of them pass away, and that one being the one that actually wanted the CD in the first place, and the other deciding to get rid of all old memories?  Did they break up and the one that ended up with the CD decide to move on emotionally by dumping all their “couple shit”?  Did they both drop dead and leave their CD collection to their ungrateful kids who sold everything on the internet?  I guess I’ll never know.


But I do know this, the music on the CD is great.  It has some really fine songs that are touching and well preformed.  It’s really a minor treasure of a collection that I will hang on to for the rest of my days. I also know that who ever sold it didn’t make a profit, I bought it used for $2.99 (sorry Kenny—I know ouch!). 


So the saddened songwriter in me has to ask: If a CD containing songs of such quality can meet such a bargain-basement fate, what hope is there for the rest of us?


Randy, July 2016