Since I’ve started playing the piano again, I have (intrepidly) been adding some of the videos to YouTube. It is a good way to keep track of my progress. I’ve been watching a lot of boogie woogie piano videos by Brendan Kavanagh, a boogie woogie and blues piano master in the U.K. who stages the most fantastically random-seeming videos playing rollicking boogie woogie at pianos set up in subway stations, often inviting passersby to join in. The following is probably my absolute favorite video of his, including a Mary Poppins lookalike and punk rockers:
Since I was trained in mainly the classical style of piano, I am now more interested in learning the kinds of music styles that I more often write about in this blog, like blues, boogie woogie, country, jazz, and overall Americana. Brendan has been a huge inspiration–as well as Professor Longhair, Swedish pianist Micke Muster, and now Floyd Cramer, who helped popularize the “slip-note” country piano style heard in his famoous instrumental “Last Date,” as well as in Patsy Cline’s version of “Crazy”-(the piano playing in that song always intrigued me and I’m so glad I finally found out who was behind it).
Anyway, please be kind, because here is my first foray into blues piano with Elvis’ “Blue Christmas,” recorded on Christmas Eve, 2020:
And for something totally different–my “classical piano” version of Britney Spears’ “Oops I Did It Again.” This “ain’t Americana,” but it is more the style I grew up playing (note the nod to Beethoven’s “Fur Elise”). To my ear, I always thought Britney Spear’s “Oops I Did it Again” had the right chord progressions to sound great as a work of classical music, and could be so much more than just a pop song. When I researched the song’s producer, a Swede who goes by the professional name Max Martin, I noticed that one of his main musical influences is Swedish pop and disco band ABBA. Interestingly, ABBA also drew from classical influences–notably church hymns–which you can hear in the song “Lay All Your Love On Me.” (1) If you listen to that song on the organ, you’ll notice that it really has an eighteenth-century church music style. I believe that the same can be said for “Oops…I Did It Again,” which to me also sounds similar to “The Swan Theme” of the Tchaikovsky ballet Swan Lake. Maybe you hear it, too? Anyway, without further ado, below is my version, complete with very serious (not so innocent?) facial expressions. After all-a heart is a very serious thing to play with!
I hope you enjoyed these videos–or maybe you can’t wait til get back to posting about other peoples’ music :-p
Whatever the consensus, I am greatly enjoying playing piano again (and guitar–unfortunately I deleted the video from when I taught myself slide guitar or I would’ve posted it for you too). It has given me a lot of joy in our often unpredicatable times especially with the extra time spent at home. I hope you’re finding things that bring you joy, too.
Until next time,