The Beach Boys Brian Wilson will be releasing his first solo piano album on Friday, November 19, 2021. The album entitled At My Piano features fifteen tracks and fourteen Beach Boys classics written by Brian Wilson and played in very simple fashion by Brian Wilson himself on the piano. Fans should not be expecting a very high quality recording as this record sounds like he recorded it in his living room. It seems actually to be the point of the album. In talking about his upcoming record Brian Wilson has spoken about having an upright piano in his living room when he was a young child. He has stressed that he never took piano lessons but played the piano every day being practically self taught. Many musicians and legendary songwriters share the same story about being self taught and not even knowing how to read music. You don’t have to read music to be a great songwriter. Just listen to the music of the Beach Boys and other great artists who couldn’t read or write down music on paper. It’s not about technique when it comes to songwriting. It’s all about heart, soul, passion and above all desire that will forever trump technique.
We already listened to a lot of tracks on the record before it has been released and it’s quite obvious that Brian Wilson is anything but an accomplished pianist. Yet none of that really matters because the man is one of the greatest songwriters of all time. What we love about this record is that Brian Wilson doesn’t try to really rearrange any of the songs or reharmonize them or use alternative chords or any other that nonsense. He basically just play the chords in the left hand and the melodies in the right hand. One of the great tests of how good a song really is, asks the question “does it sound good just basically played on piano in simple form?” The answer to that question is quite obvious on the record At The Piano where all the songs still sound just as amazing in the most simplest form. This is as bare as it gets and it’s simply wonderful.
The album At The Piano opens up with the classic Beach Boys song “God Only Knows.” The song was released as a single during the fall to generate interest in the album. The sound quality is a little muddy but the soulfulness of his right hand is so full of spirit you can feel the love he still has for these magical songs he wrote so long ago. On repeated listenings the simple piano arrangement just becomes more and more captivating. The new album digs into Pet Sounds which is the album so many Beach Boys fans call their favorite. Other songs from the Pet Sounds album that have been recorded for the new record At My Piano include the songs “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” “You Still Believe In Me,” and “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times.” The original Pet Sounds album was released on May 16, 1966.
While the new album At My Piano contains fifteen tracks, one of them entitled “Sketches of Smile,” is actually a medley of four songs from the album including “Our Prayer,” “Heroes and Villains,” “Wonderful” and “Surfs Up.” It’s a really nice medley that Brian Wilson put together for the record. The original Smile album was supposed to follow Pet Sounds but was never released originally. The Beach Boys issued the album Smiley Smile instead in 1966. There have been many versions of Smile released over the years as the record has a complicated history.
Brian Wilson’s At My Piano album stands as his thirteenth solo album outside of The Beach Boys. Interestingly, most of Brian Wilson’s solo albums have been released during the 1990’s and into the 21st century. His debut solo album was not released until 1988 entitled Brian Wilson. It was a phenomenal record hailed by critics and fans as a masterpiece and a welcome return of the pen and voice of Brian Wilson. One of the songs from the album entitled “Love And Mercy,” appears on the new solo piano album At The Piano.
Brian Wilson has continued to tour with his versions The Beach Boys with Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin. The group has been doing shows in the States this fall and will cross the Atlantic onto a European tour during the summer of 2022.
Brian Wilson Releasing Solo Piano CD 11/19/21 article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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