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Kenny Loggins Asked Eugene Ruffolo Same Question I Did. How Come I Don't Know You?

The Debbie Nigro Show

Release Date: 05/18/2024

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If You Don't Know About Eugene Ruffolo I'm Hoping You Willl Now. 

He's not just any talent.  Eugene is a prolific and deeply personal songwriter. 

The world could use more of him. His music calms people down.

A mutual friend who went to school with him in NY back when, had no clue about his talent until a zoom decades later during Covid. He then became addicted to his music and kept insisting I needed to listen.

So, I did. I swear I could feel his music in my veins. I was taken aback by the beauty of his vocal gift and the genius of his songwriting. As good as any famous musical artist I’ve ever enjoyed. I honestly was shocked I had not heard about him. Apparently even Kenny Loggins was shocked he didn’t know about him after both collaborated on a segment of someone else’s record.  

In addition to his own songwriting, Eugene has shared studios and stages with many famous artists, drawn to his unique vocal talents. People like Garth Brooks and Tony Bennett and Kenny Loggins, Run-DMC, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Livingston Taylor, Spyro Gyra, just to name a few. 

He covers themes like forgiveness, the precious bonds of friendship, the search for existential truth. Among his many worldwide accolades his music has been referred to as “the jewel of folk pop’ .You’ll hear for yourself if you take a few minutes to listen to this podcast of our live in-studio bonding session.

Eugene even took a little musical departure recently to write and record a collection of Italian songs celebrating his Italian heritage and his love of Mediterranean and pop music, folk music. And he wrote a classy little book to along with it, on food, music, and Italian culture, which I thought was very cool. 

Eugene Ruffolo also has a great sense of humor as evidenced by how he handled my ridiculous opening of my live show. En route to the studio, I reached in blindly to my purse while driving and accidentally sprayed ‘Band Aid Antiseptic Cleansing to Go Spray’ in my mouth instead of the ‘Listerine Cool Mint’ which comes in the exact same pump packaging. Needless to say I was an idiot. 

Panicking that I might have poisoned myself but knowing that Eugene was coming into the radio studio, I decided to risk not going to the emergency room and instead spent a few hyper minutes on the phone minutes before the show started with the nurse from Band Aids 800 # who sweetly read off the chemical ingredients I sprayed on my tongue and suggested I contact poison control. Had no time for that.

Instead I played a few of Eugene’s songs to calm myself down LOL and give my audience a taste of his extraordinary talent including new songs he’s just released.

In order we sampled:

Late Bloomer (My personal favorite as the words were just so good!)

Bella Maria  

Closer To You  

Poor Lonesome Me  

 

Like many who were just about to launch 'something' right when the pandemic hit, Eugene's best laid plans got put on hold.

“Embarrassed to say it was actually because that little pandemic that pesky little pandemic got in the way because I finished the record in 2019 and I was just about to go on a tour to Europe, literally in April 1st of 2020, and then you know what happened there. So yeah, and I was about to release the record and then that happened and then I sort of just sat down."

"It felt like a strange time to do it and I couldn't figure out what the right time was and all this time went by and then I thought, well, I need to get this, I need to get this record out. I have more music to make.”

As far as Eugene Ruffalo's Italian songs go…his are quite beautiful. His Italian album is called ‘Canto per Mangiare’.

 “I’ve always embraced my Italian heritage, and I always had a sort of love of Italian music, because I started going to Italy when I was a child, and I went a lot during my twenties. I spent a lot of time there during my 20s. I had all these friends, and I didn't speak any Italian when I first started going. One of the ways that I learned how to speak Italian was through the music. I listened to a lot of music, and I would ask my friends, what does this mean and what does that mean.”

Eugene wanted to get to the roots of real Italian music not the stereotypical Italian songs.

“That's one of the impetuses behind this record was the fact that I think in America, people only know Italian music in two ways. They know it as classical, right? Let's just use Pavarotti. Bocelli is more of a pop guy, but he has sort of a classical, he has a classical aesthetic right? Or the Italian American Dean Martin singing Volare and that kind of thing. So, I wanted to get to more because there are a lot of other aspects of Italian music. So, my record really has a few elements to it. One of them is traditional Neapolitan folk music, which is really beautiful. And then the other is just singer-songwriters from the 70s, like the equivalents of the James Taylor, Cat Stevens that we have here, but that existed in the 70s in Italy. So, I covered some of their songs, and then I wrote a bunch of tunes myself.”

Eugene’s about to take his first trip in 4 years to perform. He's going overseas to Ireland. He's never been there. Then on to the Netherlands.

But I told him he had to come do my show first because I needed to know more about him and wanted more people to hear him so they wouldn’t have to say… How come I don’t know you?

You'll thank me for introducing you to Eugene Ruffolo on this podcast of our live conversation on The Debbie Nigro Show.