New York is full of talented musicians, songwriters, and vocalists who pay their bills by working behind the scenes. Some are recording engineers, some are publicists, some write or sing jingles for commercials -- in other words, they earn a living with music-related activity, but not necessarily by performing or recording. Singer/songwriter Kenny White, for example, has found jingles to be a very lucrative field, and he has also done some producing for Shawn Colvin and others. But it wasn't until he was about 47 that the native New Yorker finally got around to recording an album. The title Uninvited Guest refers to his age; White reasoned that no major label would want to release a debut album by a singer/songwriter who was in his late forties -- labels would consider him an uninvited guest. So he put the album out himself. A likable adult alternative/pop/rock effort, Uninvited Guest draws on influences that range from Tom Waits and Randy Newman to Elvis Costello. Depending on the mood he is in, White can incorporate anything from jazz to country. But whatever he is being influenced by, White thrives on subtlety -- both musically and lyrically. White's vocal style is low-key and understated, and his lyrics aren't the sort of lyrics that beat you over the head. But don't let White's use of understatement fool you; his songs have a lot of meat on their bones. Like Newman, White can be cynical -- he brings a world-weary outlook to original songs like "Ready to Leave All This Behind" and "One Step Up." But if White is sometimes world-weary and cynical, he isn't morbid or maudlin; he's simply letting you know how he feels about the world around him. Uninvited Guest is a fairly promising debut; it's too bad White didn't record his first album 20 or 25 years earlier.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson