Kenni

Kenni

BandAmericanaAcoustic

What you might get if you put Jonatha Brooke, Gillian Welch, and Susan Werner in a blender and added all-acoustic, no-drum-kit instrumentation and 4-part close harmony.

Biography

Kenni & Co, San Francisco's all-acoustic Americana/contemporary folk quartet, has just released it's second album, Shine Shine Shine. "Back at Your Father's House," the first single from the album, is already in garageband.com's all-time top 10 best female vocals, top 10 best lyrics, and top 25 songs in the Americana category. Reviewers have been asked to answer the age-old "sounds like" question, and the answers are all over the map--Joan Baez, Sheryl Crow, Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris, Stevie Nicks, Norah Jones, June Carter--but there is no doubt that they like what they hear. "These are the kind of vocals that make me wonder how record labels choose who to sign. This girl's voice is like liquid silver. Absolutely beautiful. Hypnotic." (garageband.com)

Maybe listeners hear the voices of their favorite musical storytellers in Kenni's songs because Kenni works hard to be a storyteller. "Whether it's fictional or not, if it's a good story, if the emotions in it are real, the performance takes care of itself." Kenni puts the song first, the words and music together creating a world unto itself. Kenni writes songs that speak to listeners. And listeners speak back. . . and a conversation is born.

Another album cut from Shine Shine Shine--"You Did a Number on Me"--just won an award in Billboard Magazine's national songwriting contest, in the jazz category. This is only the most recent in a string of songwriting accolades that began at Berklee School of Music in Boston, where Kenni won songwriting awards and a Songwriting Department scholarship. Since then, she has taken an award in the Eudora Welty Songwriting Contest, had songs placed in two independent films, and had a song pitched to Alison Krauss.

"I'm still finding myself as a writer," Kenni says. Not surprising, when she feels the pull of so many different influences: the sweet-voiced intimacy and raw emotion of singer-songwriter-storytellers like Joni Mitchell and Jonatha Brooke; the harmonic sophistication and lyrical precision of American songbook writers like Cole Porter and Hoagie Carmichael; and the rootsy accessibility and multi part harmonies of newgrass and trad country. What all the songs have in common is that "lyrics here are real life stories... pieces of life pulled into sound, and it is in this that [Kenni] shines brightest. You feel as if you've lived each story yourself, and care just as much about it... each piece carries its own personality, sorrow, and hope." (Fly Magazine)

Between growing up in and returning home to California, Kenni paid dues on Boston's thriving folk scene, opening for singer-songwriters like Patty Griffin, Jonatha Brooke, Patty Larkin, and Livingston Taylor as half of duo Back to Back. Kenni arrived in San Francisco in 1997 with her guitar and a pocketful of songs. She collected her band over a patience-testing five years, playing in Bay Area clubs, bars, and coffeehouses and building her fan base and her repertoire until fate introduced her to bass player/vocalist Joshua Zucker. The connection was immediate, and when Joshua called in drummer/percussionist and lifelong friend Josh Greenberg, Kenni & Co was born. Since then, the ranks of Kenni & Co have swelled to include keyboardist/vocalist Anne Schrager.

Patience has paid off. Kenni & Co's shows have an intimate, toe-tapping, old-timey feel, whether they're in cozy coffeehouses or cavernous clubs. "Often bands line up across the stage," says Kenni. "We perform in a tight semicircle, so we can all see each other, and so those of us who sing can hear each other acoustically, not just through monitors." The sound is rich and satisfying, and the band's joy in sharing the music is contagious.

"My ultimate professional goal is to have Bonnie Raitt cover one of my songs. Maybe I should start hanging out in Mill Valley," quips Kenni. Kenni & Co will get there, one song and one fan at a time.

Lyrics

Back at Your Father's House

Written By: Kenni

Back at Your Father's House

Back at your father's house
Did you see your life scrawled on the bedroom wall?
Did her cries bring your little-boy feet down the hall?
Did you see his fist fly, see her slow-motion fall?
Back on the bedroom wall
Back at your father's house
Back on the bedroom wall
Back at your father's house

Back to your father's house
As you ran for your life in the Lam Dong hills
Did you scream through the tracer light, counting the kills?
Do the nightmares that chase the sleeping pills
Take you back through the Lam Dong hills?
Back to your father's house
Back through the Lam Dong hills
Back to your father's house

Back at your father's house
When you come to the place where it all began
See yourself in her eyes as you raise your hand
Do you think you can't stop it?... Know you can
Leave it back where it all began
Back at your father's house
Back in the Lam Dong hills
Back at your father's house
Back on the bedroom wall
Back at your father's house
Back at your father's house

Shine, Shine, Shine

Written By: Kenni

Shine, Shine, Shine

In the bright whitewashed mornings on Spain's southern coast
Abuelas step outside with pails rags and soap
Every doorstep and windowsill spotless as snow
And I wonder if they wonder where doesn time go
There's no way to be sure
But there's evidence been seen
If you shop every day
Your doorway will be clean

So I spend my time with you
It's the only thing I wanna do
And we stare up at stars, they're just dust in the heavens
And they shine, shine, shine

La abuela watches the street, doesn't like what she sees
Young girls lost to fast boys and shopping sprees
She's got gold under floorboards but a pittance of fun
And I wonder if she thinks what she might've done
There's no way to be sure
But the evidence is strong
If you shop every day
Your money will be gone

So I spend it all on you
It's the only thing I wanna do
And the coins feel light when they leave my fingers
And they shine, shine, shine

Well I've stayed in the best house, the worst bachelor pad
And I've stretched every penny and I've spent like mad
But brokedown or lofty, it's love that comes through
And I've looked long enough to know love looks like you
There's no way to be sure
But the evidence suggests
You won't get what you want
If you settle for less

So I spend my life with you
It's the only thing I wanna do
Oh and there's nothing sweeter when your eyes come to meet me
And they shine, shine, shine

So I spend my life with you
It's the only thing I wanna do
And there's a million sunsets, all different, all perfect
And they shine, shine shine
And there's a million sunsets, all different, all perfect
And they shine, shine shine

A Thousand Heartland Acres

Written By: Kenni

When Daddy drove the old John Deere, he was master of the farm
He'd sweep me up to ride beside him in the crook of his big sunbrowned arm
"This black gold soil is ours," he said, "as far as you can see"
That flat expanse, that dome of sky was the universe to me
It was a thousand heartland acres
A thousand heartland acres

My sixteenth summer Daddy changed, when Mama died that June
He never spoke except to whisper, when he came at night to haunt my room
"How you gettin' on?" the neighbors said; I smiled as I lied
There were endless field of corn and beans; couldn't find one place to hide
In a thousand heartland acres
A thousand heartland acres

The letter came last week; it said he's left it all to you
So I drove back from Chicago, like I swore I'd never, ever do
I felt a stormcloud break in me, as I crossed the Iowa line
Feel the blood rush through my hands, know I'll work this soil, make it mine
All a thousand heartland acres
A thousand heartland acres
A thousand heartland acres
A thousand heartland acres

Discography

Shine, Shine, Shine -- 2005
Preview -- 2003 (EP)
Kenni -- 1997

Set List

All-original set:
(50 minutes)*

1. Make It Without You
2. Rain's Gonna Come
3. Hills
4. Hands in the Dark
5. Breakfast Blues
6. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
7. You Did a Number on Me
8. Back at Your Father's House
9. Five Points of a Star
10. Shine, Shine, Shine

*Kenni & Co. can also do a 90-minute all original set.

Kenni & Co. can play up to three 50-minute mixed cover/original sets. Cover repertoire includes americana, classic rock, contemporary folk, AAA, country and alt country.

Samples:
Gillian Welch -- Orphan Girl
Rolling Stones -- Wild Horses
Catie Curtis -- Memphis
Patty Griffin -- Time Will Do the Talkin'
Dixie Chicks -- Truth No. 2
Lucinda Williams -- Something About What Happens When We Talk