The penalty phase of the Charleston church massacre trial begins today. With attention focused on perpetrator Dylan Roof, here’s an opportunity to pay tribute to the victims, with a song from LONG LIST OF PRIORS, the CD that shipped to radio in October. Kenny White, NYC pianist/singer-songwriter (and album producer/arranger) describes his reaction to the news that terrible day in the song, "Charleston," a duet with former Motown recording artist, Ada Dyer. Kenny White comes to the world of the touring singer-songwriter following a long and successful musical journey as pianist, producer and arranger in the NYC recording scene. LONG LIST OF PRIORS is the latest collection of original songs: indelible snapshots of the human condition, from heart-wrenching to humorous. His years of studio work enabled him to assemble a who’s who of musicians and guest artists. 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 often tours with Cheryl Wheeler and with Judy Collins, who released 3 of his CDs on her Wildflower label to critical acclaim. He has been compared to performing songwriters as diverse as Randy Newman and Leonard Cohen, and is currently on tour in support of the album.

Song Lyrics:

I heard the words coming from my radio
singing, “If you’re ready, (come go with me)”
the pulse was steady and the rhythm slow
Mavis, tearing up the melody

Then the news broke my reverie
and turned the summer heat to frost
with words I’ve heard too frequently;
nine good people paid the cost.

you brought me water when I needed to drink
you held out a net when I was near the brink
you covered me up when I thought I might freeze
now they’ve taken you, and left me on my knees

who are these devils with hearts of coal
and empty rooms behind their eyes
how many bells still need to toll
how many suns still need to rise

and my blood sped up and my body shivered
for the angels lining up at Heaven’s Gate
when nine in Charleston were hand delivered
by the cold fingerprints of hate
this peaceful house has lifted souls
by teaching how to rise above
now each and every bullet hole
shall be filled with grace and sealed with love

I’ve raised this voice for all these years
been rewarded for the sound it makes
it won’t mean a thing if I can’t dry the tears
when the gun shot rings and the levee breaks

and my blood sped up and my body shivered
for the angels lining up at Heaven’s Gate
when nine in Charleston were hand delivered
by the cold fingerprints of hate
200 summers’ healing hands
200 winters’ open door
200 autumns, and may you stand
for at least 200 more


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