Nonno Lorenzo

from by Gregg Cagno

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For my paternal grandfather Lorenzo, still the best whistler I've ever heard...


We met back in Brooklyn in 1969
but Nonno on the Cagno side came from another time
Born there 1917 the middle son of 3
1st of his generation in the new country

there were 7 all together filling up the house
a small railroad apartment with homemade pasta strung around
he became metal worker, bringing home an honest wage
but music lived inside him and came out on the days

C In the alley with his Garcia Vega, Whistling in his folding chair
H with the birds up in the trees, he’d be trading melodies
O & blowin off of Gravesend Bay, there was always a cool breeze
R & that’s how I remember him, on Bay 11th Street

It was at 23rd and 4th, where he met his future bride
in a candystore in South Slope while the dogs waited outside
took her down to Coney Island, on a Nathan’s date
quickly married her at 18, her shoe broken on the way

In 1941, with their 1st born coming soon
Uncle Sam sent him a letter, & told him “I Want You”
& The day before he had to go, they told him he could stay
So they brought up 4 sons, fishing by the Belt Parkway
His 4 sons had 8 others, not a girl among the crew
he taught some geometry, & others to shoot pool
He taught me piano, as I watched him play by ear
Bing Crosby, Willie Nelson or whatever you’d wanna hear

He had a giggle like a jester, when he’d get you going
drove a bright orange ford maverick, by the time I got to know him
We weren’t ready when he left, but I guess you never are
and I think of him each time, I smell a cheap cigar

© 2014 Gregg Cagno, ℗ Greggnotes Music ASCAP


from Worth the Wait, released July 9, 2014
Banjolin: Jimmy Heffernan
Percussion: David Anthony
Vocals, Whistling & Guitar: Gregg Cagno



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Gregg Cagno Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

With laid-back soul and an open-tuned mind and guitar, Gregg Cagno is a journeyman acoustic troubadour. Cagno can deliver deep-muscle-groove, fluid and creative finger-style and just about everything in between.


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