Saturday, January 30, 2010

Weekend Tunes: George Winston

I'm going to start a series of musical selections every weekend off this blog.

Music has meant so much to me but one of the things I love to do with music is to share the artists that I truly love. The first - pianist George Winston.  Here's a quick description of his talents.

His melodic impressionistic style comprises much of his recorded output, choosing to record albums with specific themes and it is this genre, a cross between the range of traditional American folk music and the instrumental pop/R&B that he grew up with, that he calls rural folk piano. George also plays in two other styles that he has studied for many years, the earlier-mentioned stride and rhythm and blues piano.

If you want to know more about George, here is his Wikipedia Page.

I came across Winston when I was 11 years old. My mother was about to get remarried and she was looking for wedding songs to walk down the aisle to.  My step dad brought home an album called "December" and put on a song called Variations on the Kanon by Pachelbel. They loved the song and chose it for their wedding the next summer.

It was in late fall/early winter when his notes first awoke something inside of me. It moved me. I remember that I took the tape of the album as soon as it was lying around, slapped it in my walkman, and listened to it for hours. I had never heard piano music played with such emotion. I literally have cried listening to that album for years since. It was the only lyric-less music that I enjoyed as a teenager.

Over the years, I've lost the album either in moves or people borrowing it and not returning it. I can honestly say I've purchased "December" on either tape of CD around 10 times. Thank god for IPods now and MP3s. Won't have to worry about that anymore.

If you haven't heard Variations it is:

Christmas and George Winston are synonymous for me. Every year, I drive around, in what ever town I'm living in, listening to the entire album to check out the lights and festivities. "December" is one of the 10 most influential albums in my life. There are just so many memories attached to it.

It wasn't until I was in my mid 20's that I was informed that Variations was not unique to my mother and step-father's wedding. I was laughed at for believing that they were unique in that song's selection. Turns out, it's a rather popular track for weddings. It was good for a laugh for many days afterwards at my expense. It's ok though, it's still special to me and my family.

However, it didn't decrease my attachment to George's music once I learned of the popularity of the track. I've seen over 500 concerts in my life but I've never seen Winston perform. I really hope one day I get to see him play in person before he hangs it up. My Brother and Sister-in-Law bought me his box set this year for Christmas which is simply amazing.

Once again, Winston is associated with December 25th for me.  I'm now addicted to the album "Plains". Not surprising, that's where I currently live.

So here's another track that I love by George. I hope you find him as wonderful as I do.

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