BRIAN WILSON – AT MY PIANO
By David Beard
Brian Wilson At My Piano is a sonic exhibit, and like any great painting framed and hung on the wall, it changes the room. This intimate fifteen-song collection puts you in the room next to Brian Wilson while he sits behind his Yamaha piano and plays. This album has little to do with fanfare, and everything to do with the intimacy of the notes and Brian’s touch.
Brian took the time to answer questions I had about the new album.
Endless Summer Quarterly: What inspired this collection?
Brian Wilson: I was inspired by doing something like this in a very pleasant way and in a very cool relaxing environment. The melodies gave me inspiration.
ESQ: How long did it take you to choose the songs you wanted to include in the collection?
Brian: I had the songs picked out in my head quickly. These are the songs I wanted. I really didn’t consider others but if I did, I just let them go once my mind was made up.
ESQ: Did you find that you needed to revisit any piano charts, or did you record the album by memory?
Brian: I went strictly by memory and did not need to see charts or anything else. These are my songs. They are in my brain forever.
ESQ: Where was the album recorded?
Brian: I recorded it at my friend Darian (Sahanaja’s) studio TomorrowLabs. He’s been in my band from the beginning. (He’s) a great singer and musician. It took a few weeks to record and finish.
ESQ: At times, there are piano overdubs. Did Darian record any parts?
Brian: Nobody played piano but me and I layered each piano part in the same way I always make records.
ESQ: How did it feel to just let your music (without words) speak?
Brian: The melodies speak. I let the melodies do the talking. And they do. I listened to each completed track, so I heard the finished record. Start to finish. I was very happy, and I thought okay, it’s done! and I love it!
ESQ: Why did you decide to call the Mt. Vernon piece, “Mt. Vernon Farewell”?
Brian: Mike (Love) lived on Mt. Vernon, and it was a long, long time ago and I just wanted to say goodbye to a cool memory.
ESQ: Do you think you would consider recording a volume two?
Brian: Yes, I would consider doing another record like this but there are no plans to do it.
ESQ: Do you have a new original melody in mind that you’d like to record? If so, what is it called?
Brian: There are always bits of new melodies in my head but nothing complete enough to inspire me to record.
As listeners, we haven’t been treated to an album like this by Brian, and as simplistic as it is, this collection allows us to know Brian more intimately. His touch on “Friends,” “Till I Die, “Love And Mercy” and “Mt. Vernon Farewell” is delightful, but the one song that grabs my emotional attention is “You Still Believe In Me.” This is as powerful in its current wordless form as it was on Pet Sounds in 1966 – when it was enveloped in Beach Boys harmonies.
So, the Godfather of vocal arrangements is releasing an instrumental album. I know, it doesn’t make sense on the surface, but boy does it work in the grooves. More Bacharach than Beach Boys, this is Brian channeling ‘feels.’ And we have a front-row seat at the piano with him. The album will be available digitally on Friday, Nov. 19, the CD is being released on Friday, Dec. 10, and The LP Friday, Dec. 17.
©2021 David M. Beard/All Rights Reserved