Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Piano Man, At Last

Note: Don't get excited by the title of this post. I am still a girl.


The next few songs are from a cabaret show I'm accompanying next week: Weds 1/20, 7 p.m. at the Stonewall Inn, for fabulous singer and Stonewall Sensation champion Akilah Williams.

This is a chance to see me in a tux singing "Piano Man". Lord help us all. I kind of dig playing with the whole flamboyant-male-accompanist-with-vampy-female-singer cabaret stereotype. It's such a strong stereotype that when my writing and performing partner, Nat, used to tell people about our performances, they would assume I'm a guy. Um, whoever heard of a guy named Kat?

(Speaking of working with Nat, a moment for shameless self-promo:

"Piano Man" was yesterday's song, and I should look at it a little more tonight. I have it pretty well memorized, but I wanna do the piano solo, and if I'm gonna sing it in front of actual people, even if they are drunk people... Also, I don't think I'm going to sing it in Billy Joel's key. I'm not sure what key I will sing it in, because right now I pretty much don't have a voice, thanks to some amazing green crud I have in my chest. This will be interesting when I have to shepherd five 9 year-old-girls through their voice class in a half hour. I'm an emergency last-resort sub at a music school where I work as an accompanist.

I left the house this morning at 8:30, and will get back around 11 p.m. Typical freelance day, just kinda ping-ponging around Manhattan for various gigs and appointments. Very grateful for all the work, even as I curse the subway system and the green crud that thrives on long days like today.

Today's song is "At Last". I worked on it between Tweenie Bopper Choir and grown-up choir rehearsal. I contemplated how best to capture the lushness of the string arrangement from Etta James' version on solo piano, or how to otherwise futz around with it, try different things. The structure of the song (in fact, the structure of many pop songs) is so basic you can kinda do anything with it. Or nothing. Tastefully simple can be good.

These are the things I have the mental energy to think about now that I've dropped one major project and postponed another one. I feel decidedly more sane than I did a just a few days ago, when I was thinking I needed a leave of absence from my life. Not in a suicidal way, just in a sort of cabin-in-the-mountains-with-no-connection-to-the-urban-industrial-complex-for-several-months kind of way. Today I rode the subway and didn't write lyrics, or answer emails, or make hyper-organized, cross-referenced to-do lists on my phone, or, most significantly, feel guilty for not doing any of the above. I just listened to my ipod. It was kind of awesome.

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