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Kenny White and Liz Longley to Close Out the MUSIC for a CHANGE series


Posted 04/11/2011
Posted by David Isgur

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Kenny White, renowned for his piano playing and his skills as an insightful lyricist, and Liz Longley, one of the freshest and most engaging new voices in the singer-songwriter genre, will co-headline a MUSIC for a CHANGE concert on Saturday, April 30, at 7:30 p.m. in Wilde Auditorium, Harry Jack Gray Center, University of Hartford, 200 Bloomfield Ave., West Hartford. Tickets for the show are $20.

White is often described as one of the most famous people nobody knows. A highly successful producer, arranger and performer of music for advertising, major motion pictures and top recording artists, White abandoned that lifestyle to go on the road performing his songs throughout North America and Europe. He comes to Hartford after a recent four-week Saturday late show residency at New York City’s iconic Carlyle Hotel, where one of the reviewers said “this too little-known singer-songwriter plays smart, wry songs too hip for most audiences — and yet he tore the place up.” (Jesse Kornbluth, Head Butler Reviews.) Marc Cohn dropped in that night as a guest performer: “If there were justice,” Cohn said, “Kenny would do the half-time show at the Super Bowl and the Black Eyed Peas would be playing here.”

White began his career in the 1970s touring extensively as the keyboard player for Jonathan Edwards and Livingston Taylor. He then became a fixture in the NY studio scene throughout the 1990s, producing and arranging literally hundreds of commercials for TV and radio, which enabled him to work with such artists as Gladys Knight, Linda Ronstadt, Ricky Skaggs, Aaron Neville, and the London Symphony Orchestra. After being hailed by reviewers from the New York Times to the San Francisco Chronicle for his thrilling piano playing, White chose to devote himself to making his first album, one that not only showcased his talent as a musician, but also as a lyricist. His work in the studio enabled him to assemble an A-list team of players for Uninvited Guest, released in 2002. 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 label and released the CD in 2005. White’s latest CD, Comfort in the Static, April 2010, has received extensive airplay and made many “Best of” lists for the year.

Longley, a recent graduate of Berklee College of Music, offers a unique style crosses over several genres including acoustic pop, blues, jazz, and even a little country. She has won many honors and awards, including the 2010 BMI John Lennon Scholarship, 2010 Grand Prize International Acoustic Music Award (amongst 9,000 entries), 2010 Chris Austin Songwriting Award, and first place in the Rocky Mountain Folk Fest Songwriter Showcase. Longley has opened for acclaimed artists such as Shawn Colvin, Paula Cole, Colin Hay, Nanci Griffith, Jonathan Edwards, and Jesse Colin Young.

Longley also has industry insiders singing her praises noted the Boston Globe in a recent feature story on Longley. Livingston Taylor called her “one of the best’’ singers he’s ever heard and said she has the ability to write “very, very singable pop songs.’’ When John Mayer heard her sing recently, he called Longley’s voice “gorgeous, just gorgeous.’’  Taxi.com called her “a rare find with phenomenal vocal ability. Longley’s lyrics have the spark and spunk of Patty Griffin, her voice has the eloquence and mastery of Alison Krauss.”

Last summer, she performed at the Newport and Rocky Mountain folk festivals, and is now selling out venues such as Club Passim in Cambridge and Tupelo Music Hall in Londonderry, N.H., regularly. Longley describes herself as a “folk-pop singer-songwriter who likes to do a bit of jazz, blues, and some scatting if I get the chance.’’

The University of Hartford launched the MUSIC for a CHANGE series in the spring of 2000, with the goal of using music as means of helping the Hartford community. To date, more than $150,000 has been raised for a number of Greater Hartford nonprofit organizations.

To purchase tickets to the show, contact the University of Hartford box office at 860.768.4228 or 1.800.274.8587, or purchase online at www.hartford.edu/tickets. For more information or to see a list of upcoming MUSIC for a CHANGE concerts, visit www.musicforachange.com.

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