Amy White, Al Petteway and special guests perform Traditional Irish, Appalachian and original songs & instrumentals.

Vocals and instrumentals; original folk that taps into traditional Celtic sources. Lyrics and music from poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millet and William Blake.

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"Mesmerizing tone poems....White paints sumptuous portraits of life situations with a remarkable measure of clarity and color."


"Music of transporting power and beauty, lyricism and dynamics...a quiet soulfulness that continually draws in the listener."

- The Washington Post

Amy White, Composer, Performer, Artist, Multi-instrumentalist
Amy White

Amy White was featured on NPR's All Things Consideredwith her musical family that included GRAMMIE winner acoustic guitarist & husband, Al Petteway; her mom-Jane White, opera singer, a lyric soprano, and teacher; and her dad Richard White who held the post, for over thirty years, of oboist and principal English horn soloist in the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, D.C.

- NPR's All Things Considered Noah Adams, Host


Amy White ~ vocals, mandolin, guitar
Al Petteway ~ 
acoustic fingerstyle guitar, fretless bass, Irish bouzouki, harmony vocals, percussion

Guest Musicians:
Sally van Meter ~ 
Zac Leger ~ 
Uilleann pipes, Irish whistles

Golden Wing - A celebration of songs and instrumentals. Songs tell stories of wings of a fairy from an age-old tale, or the wings of a blackbird from a traditional ballad or poem and flight of fancy and imagination; flight from fear; even flight in migration as a metaphor for loss and bittersweet nostalgia.

Music is original and from traditional sources with lyrics and music from poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millet and William Blake, traditional Irish ballads, songs by contemporary singer songwriters- Jessie Winchester and Carla Bonoff. Music highlights both Amy's voice and performances on mandolin and guitar; and with Al's Petteway's signature fingerstyle acoustic guitar- a sound that has become a legend. The instrumentals are a brilliant convergence of Celtic, with hints of progressive bluegrass, rock, country, blues, jazz and classical idioms combined with Amy's fresh new voice in the acoustic music world described as capturing the intelligence of Joni Mitchell, the richness of Mary Chapin Carpenter and the intimacy of Sarah McLachlan.

Tune List

  1. All The Way There (4:42)
  2. Summer Sang in Me (4:37)
  3. Golden Wing (3:29)
  4. Raglan Road (4:55)
  5. The Blackest Crow (4:40)
  6. Let the Wind Carry You (4:33)
  7. The Snows They Melt The Soonest (5:02)
  8. If I Were a Blackbird (4:21)
  9. Home (4:02)
  10. Hide & Go Seek (3:19)
  11. Tabby Wings (3:34)
  12. Lagan Love (3:49)
  13. Songbird (3:42)

Amy White (Graduate of Kenyon college,''87) and husband Al Petteway pursue adventures in music

The music of Amy D. White '87 is an emotional experience--so much so that the composer and pianist often sees tears on the faces of her audience.

"I love being able to perform in a way that's emotional and powerful enough to move an audience to tears with instrumental music," says White. "It's such a treat to be performing and, even on the opening number, to see people weeping. It's great."

One of the most recent such experiences was the sold-out concert for the release of her latest recording, Bittersweet : An American Romance , at the Institute of Musical Traditions in Washington, D.C. The album, the second solo recording of her career, received positive reviews from the likes of the Washington Post and Jazz Times Review, while the concert resulted in an interview with Noah Adams that aired on the National Public Radio (NPR) program "All Things Considered" on Thanksgiving. This all adds up to success for White, who has been performing and composing since she was a member of the Owl Creek Singers at Kenyon.

A multitalented musician who sings, plays the drums, guitar, and mandolin, and loves trees, White sometimes seems like a latter-day flower child. She's dabbled in work for non-profit organizations such as Greenpeace and Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, but the arts have always been her first love. In addition to making music, she creates block prints and stained glass, as well as silver castings and carvings. But despite her many talents and her growing recognition as a musician, White has her insecurities, the biggest of which is that she can't read music. Describing her problem as "musical dyslexia," White says her frustration with reading notes on the page began in childhood and remains with her today. Does she plan to learn to read music? "Oh, sure," she says. "Are you asking me if I have feelings of illegitimacy because I can't read music? Yes, I do, but I won't let it stop me. From the response I've gotten to my music, I know it's O.K."

The response she refers to is more than emotional. She and her husband, Al Petteway, who collaborates with White on her music, received the 1995 WAMMIE (presented by the Washington Area Music Association for artistic achievement) for best new artist and the 1996, 1997, and 1998 WAMMIEs for best New Age duo. White has also won two grants from the Maryland State Arts Council for solo performance on mandolin and piano.

The easiest way to describe her music is to call it New Age, but that's only for the lack of a better term. It's tough to pigeonhole her eclectic sound, which draws from several different genres. If she had her way, you'd find her music filed under classical crossover, a relatively new category. "I'm really reluctant to use the term New Age, but that's what I'm tagged as," says White. "New Age has always had a stigma attached to it, but there have been some great innovators in the genre."

White lives in Tacoma Park, Maryland, a suburb just outside of Washington. "It's a haven of liberals," says White, who confesses that she and her husband, who performed with White on her latest album, fit in beautifully as local artists and musicians who make their living solely from their music. During the month of January, the couple were artists-in-residence at Washington's John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Millennium Stage. White says her two-and-half-year marriage to Petteway has brought a sense of completion to her life and career.

Petteway, who was already firmly rooted as a performer in the D.C. area, has helped White more firmly establish her own name. "It's difficult to start out on the coffeehouse circuit and make it," she says. "I was fortunate to meet someone I have an incredible connection with who's already established in the music world."

The tears shed by White's audience may be a result of her own emotions radiating through her music, such as the emotions she shares with Petteway. For years, White says, she wrote in her journal only when she was upset about finding a mate in life, one who could understand her music. Thanks to Petteway, she no longer makes those kinds of journal entries. "I'm so thankful this happened," she says of her marriage. "We're both so thankful. We both end up crying at least once a day because we're so happy. It's not something we take for granted."

Petteway, a guitarist, adds to the White family musical tradition. White's father, Richard White, was an oboist and principal English horn soloist for forty-seven years with the National Symphony Orchestra. Her mother, Jane White, a lyric soprano, has performed and taught in the Washington area, and her brother, Andrew White, is also musically inclined. Even White's sister, Lisbet Searle-White, who appeared on the NPR segment along with Petteway and Richard White, is part of the game.

Lisbet's claim to fame is her mastery of the hand-whistle, a whimsical tradition the sisters learned at camp as kids and developed into a full-fledged musical art form. Accompanied by their own laughter, the two performed the "Coventry Carol" on "All Things Considered." White likens playing the hand-whistle to blowing on a blade of grass. She makes a cavity with her hands, blows down the joints of her thumbs, and moves her fingers to produce a melody. She says it's the ultimate portable instrument.

Where does she see her career headed? "I have no delusions about becoming a great commercial success," she says. "It's pretty obvious I'm not in this business for the money. I just want to make enough money to live comfortably and to afford a grand piano someday. I also hope, very much, to reach that smaller but devoted arts-oriented audience that appreciates more adventurous, less formulaic music."

- S.P. Kenyon College

Liner Notes

1. All The Way There (never say never)
Inspired by Al's and my first drive through the winding S-Curves of Western North Carolina. After the first few switchbacks, I laughed out the first line of the chorus ~ partly from ecstacy & partly for comedic relief, just to ease our reeling tummies. (We don't have our 'mountain legs' yet!) The chorus stayed in my head for 7 years or more, until I was inspired to write the rest of the song for this recording. This is a love song & anthem for hedonists ~ at least for those who can bear to part with their beds. Carpe diem! Carpe corpus! Montani Semper Liberi! (OK, I don't recall much Latin but you get the general idea.)

Don't you turn over ~
There's time enough for sleeping ~
We can still dream on our way ~
Leave your pillow for the sunshine ~
And join me on this fine,f ine day ~


Have you hugged your curves today ~
Have you felt the wind blowing in your hair ~
Hold your lover from behind ~
And ride... all the way there ~
What happened to recess ~
When will the bell ring ~
Theclock that we're punching, it feels no pain ~
What will we do with that golden watch when we'll never have that time again ~
Joy is in the sharing~
Better to have loved and lost ~
A thousand mile journey ~
Hitch your wagonto a star ~
Hopes delayed hang the heart ~
If wishes were horses ~
Never say never ~
Never say never ~
A bird in the hand ~
Time flies ~
Don't put off until tomorrow ~
One today is worth two ~
While the sun shines ~
Don'thide your light ~
Never say never ~
Never say never ~


Amy: guitar
Al: mandolin, Vocals, fretless bass
Music & Lyrics by Amy White (BMI)

2. Summer Sang in Me
What lips my lips have kissed, and where and why I have forgotten ~
And what arms have lain under my head till morning ~
But the rain is full of ghosts tonight that tap and sigh upon the glass and listen for reply ~
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain for unremembered lads that not again will turn to me at midnight with a cry ~
Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree ~
Nor knows what birds have vanished, one by one ~
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before ~
I cannot say what loves have come and gone ~
I only know that summer sang in me a little while, that in me sings no more ~

Amy: Rhythm guitar
Al: Lead guitar, fretless bass
Lyrics, the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay
Music by Amy White (BMI)

3. Golden Wing
How sweet I roam'd from field to field and tasted all the summer's pride ~
Till I the Prince of Love beheld, who in the sunny beams did glide ~
He show'd me lilies for my hair, and blushing roses for my brow ~
He led me through his gardens fair where all his golden pleasures grow ~ With sweet May dews my wings were wet, and Phoebus fir'd my vocal rage ~
He caught me in his silken net, and shut me in his golden cage. ~
He loves to sit and hear me sing, then, laughing, sports and plays with me ~ Then stretches out my golden wing, and mocks my loss of liberty ~

Amy: mandolin
Al: guitar, bodhran, fretless bass
Lyrics , the poetry of William Blake
Music by Al Petteway (BMI)

4. Raglan Road
On Raglan Road of an autumn day I saw her first and knew that her dark
hair would weave a snare that I might one day rue ~
I saw the danger and I passed along the enchanted way ~
and I said let grief be a fallen leaf at the dawning of the day ~
On Grafton Street in November we tripped lightly along the ledge of a deep ravine where can be seen the worth of passions pledge ~
The queen of hearts still making tarts and I not making hay ~
Oh, I love too much and by such, by such is happiness thrown away ~
I gave her gifts of the mind ~
I gave her the secret sign, known to the artists who have known the true Gods of sound and stone ~
And words and tint I did not stint, I gave her poems to say ~
With her own name there and her own dark hair like clouds over the fields of May ~
On a quiet street where old ghosts meet, I see her walking now ~
Away from me so hurriedly my reason must allow that I had loved not as I should a creature made of clay ~
When the angel woos the clay he'll lose his wings at the dawn of the day ~

Al: guitar, Irish bouzouki, fretless bass
Sally van Meter: dobro
Zac Leger: Uilleann pipes
Trad., Arr. by Al Petteway

5. The Blackest Crow
As time draws near my dearest dear when you and I must part ~
How little you know of the grief in my poor aching heart ~
Tis' but I suffer for your sake believe me dear it's true ~
I wish that you were staying here or I was going with you ~

I wish my breast were made of glass wherein you might behold ~
Upon my heart your name lies wrote in letters made of gold ~
In letters made of gold my love, believe me when I say ~
You are the one that I adore until my dying day ~

The blackest crow that ever flew would surely turn to white~
If ever I prove false to you bright day will turn to night ~
Bright day will turn to night my love, the elements will mourn ~
If ever I prove false to you the seas will rage and burn ~

Amy: Rhythm guitar
Al: Irish bouzouki
Trad., Arr. by Amy White

6. Let the Wind Carry You
Although Al's and my repertoire has grown naturally to include vocals, instrumental music was our first love and is still our favorite form of expression. We included two upbeat instrumentals on this recording for a number of reasons ~ mainly for fun, to affect the overall cadence of this musical journey (sometimes free-floating, sometimes a little turbulent) and to introduce our 'instrumental side' to those of you who are new to our music altogether. This song is inspired by a lovely line from a Joni Mitchell song and by the sight of a hawk's flight, which never ceases to thrill us.

Amy: guitar, shaker, Ashiko drum
Al: Irish Bouzouki, Ashiko, fretless bass
Music by Amy White & Al Petteway(BMI)

7. The Snows They Melt the Soonest
The snows they melt the soonest when the winds begin to sing ~
And the corn it ripens fastest when the frosts are settling in ~
And when a man tells me that my face he'll soon forget ~
Before we part I'll wage a crown he' s fain to follow it yet ~

The snows they melt the soonest when the winds begin to sing ~
And the bee that flew when summer shone in winter cannot sting ~
And I've seen a man's anger melt betwixt the night and morn ~
So it's surely not a harder thing to melt a man's scorn ~

The snows they melt the soonest when the winds begin to sing ~
And the swallow flies without a thought as long as it is spring ~
But when spring goes and winter blows, my love, then you'll be fain ~
For all your pride to follow me across the raging main ~

So don't you bid me farewell, no farewell I'll receive ~
For you will lie with me, my love, then kiss and take your leave ~
And I'll wait here till the moorcock calls and the marten takes the wing ~
For the snows they melt the soonest when the winds begin to sing ~

Al: guitar
Zac Leger: whistles
Trad., Arr by Dick Gaughn

8. If I Were a Blackbird
If I were a blackbird, I'd whistle and I'd sing ~
and I'd follow the vessel my true love sails in ~
And in the top rigging I'd there build my nest ~
and I'd flutter my wings o'er his lily-white breast ~

He promised to take me to Donnybrook fair, to buy me fine ribbons to tie up my hair ~
He offered to marry and stay by my side but he said in the morning, he'd sail with the tide ~

If I were a scholar and could handle a pen, one secret love letter to
my love I'd send ~
I'd tell him my sorrow, my grief and my pain since he's gone and left me in yon flowery glen ~

My parents they slighted me, and would not agree, saying me and my true love married can't be ~
Ah but let them deprive me, Let them do what they will, while there's breath in my body, he's the one I love still ~

I know not the reason why women love men~
And I know not the reason why men do love them ~
For a man's been my ruin, he's been my downfall and he's caused me to sleep under these cold grey walls ~

Amy: mandolin ~
Al: guitar, fretless bass
Trad., Arr by Al, inspired by Bachue's arrangement

9. Home
Traveling at night, the headlights were bright and we'd been up many an
hour ~
And all through my brain came the refrain of home and it's warming fire~


Home - sings me of sweet things ~
My life there has its own wings to fly over the mountain, though I'm standing still ~
The people I've seen, they come in-between the cities of tiring life ~
The trains come and go but inside you know, the struggle will soon be a fight ~

Traveling at night, the headlights were bright but soon the sun came through the trees ~
Around the next bend, the flowers will send the sweet scent of home in the breeze ~


Amy: mandolin
Al: guitar, fretless bass, percussion
Music & Lyrics by Karla Bonoff (Sky Harbor Music)

10. Hide and Go Seek
Childhood is often fraught with peril. Even the jump rope rhymes we learned as children refer casually to these dangers. (Cinderella dressed in yellow - went upstairs to kiss a fellow - by mistake she kissed a snake -how many doctors will it take?) Over the years, I've grown to hold the jaded belief that abuse is a traditional rite of passage. I hope that I am wrong. It is encouraging to see so many children of this generation grow strong with confidence - confidence that is robbed from so many, so early. This song is dedicated to all of those who are struggling to find their strength again, and is in honor of those whose life-work keeps our children safe from harm.

Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy ~
All of thethings we used to sing to make it through the night ~
I went upstairs to kiss a man and promised not to tell ~
How many doctors will it take to make me well ~

Kick the can far and wide ~
Hide inside the neighbor's yard ~
No, not that one, 'cause he might get you ~
No ~
Ladybug, fly away home ~
Your house is on fire and your children are all gone ~
Cinderella dressed in red, her gown is torn asunder ~
She's left her slippers far behind, her feet are running bare ~
Olly-otts-in- free ~
You never knew me ~
Ready or not ~
Please come and find me

Amy: guitar
Al: fretless bass
Music & Lyrics by Amy White (BMI)

11. Tabby Wings
This is a new recording of an old instrumental. "Tabby in the Grass" first appeared on my debut solo piano recording which is now out of print. The playful melody was inspired by one of my kitten's first backyard romps after the butterflies. This tabby was aptly perhaps prophetically named. Phooka seemed to aspire to the mischievous reputation for which this particular fairy is most famous. I miss him. Al and I also greatly miss St. Clair,our sweet stray tabby from the Swannanoa Mountains. This new recording was inspired by Clair and her infectious, capricious spirit. May she enjoy flying through kitty heaven with her fine tabby wings.

Amy: mandolin
Al: guitar, bodhran, fretless bass
Olson the Kitten: Purr Machine
Music by Amy White (BMI)

12. Lagan Love
Where Lagan streams sing lullaby, there blows a lily fair ~
The twilight gleam is in her eyes, the night is on her hair ~
And like a lovesick Leanhaun Shee, she hath my heart in thrall ~
No life have I, nor liberty, for Love is lord of all ~

And when the beetle's horn hath lulled the eye to sleep ~
I steal unto her shieling lorn and thro' the doorway creep ~
There on the cricket's singing stone, she stirs the bogwood fire ~
And hums in sad, sweet undertone the song of heart's desire ~

Al: guitar ~ Trad. Arr. by Al Petteway

13. Songbird
Songbird in a golden cage, she'd prefer the blue ~
How I crave the liquor of her song ~
Poor bird who has done no harm, what harm could she do ~
She shall be my prisoner her life long ~

My songbird wants her freedom ~
Now don't you think I know ~
But I can't find it in myself to let my songbird go ~
I just can't let her go ~

O Lord, when thy jeweler's eye peers into my soul, O Lord, I am overcome with shame ~
Take me lord and purify me, heal me with a word ~
Lord, I beg a gift I dare not claim ~

My songbird wants her freedom ~
Now don't you think I know ~
But I can't find it in myself to let my songbird go ~
I just can't let her go ~

Al: guitar, fretless bass
Sally van Meter: dobro
Music & Lyrics by Jesse Winchester (WB Music Corp.)

Golden Wing
  1. All The Way There Amy White, Al Petteway and special guests 1:03
  2. Summer Sang in Me Amy White, Al Petteway and special guests 1:08
  3. Let the Wind Carry You Amy White, Al Petteway and special guests 1:05
  4. The Snows They Melt The Soonest Amy White, Al Petteway and special guests 1:57