Mr. Duritz and Me features 12 instrumental arrangements including Round Here, Rain King, Sullivan Street, A Long December, Colorblind, American Girls and more.
a counting crows piano tribute
MR. DURITZ AND ME
Eleven months after the release of his instrumental record Downpour, pianist John Baumgardner will soon debut his latest collection of piano solo covers. As a tribute to the band Counting Crows, the album is appropriately titled Mr. Duritz and Me, giving a nod to the band’s lead singer Adam Duritz.
Even though all of the songs were originally performed by an alternative rock band, John sticks with the quiet, contemplative sound of Downpour – minus a couple of louder, faster tracks.
“I was first introduced to the band around 1994, and like everyone else at that time, I joined BMG and got 19 free CDs in the mail, one of which was August and Everything After," John explains. “It was the first album where I would listen to every song from start to finish on repeat – with not a single song skip. It was love at first listen.”
Before 2005, John played Counting Crows’ songs on the piano mainly for personal enjoyment. And then as he was getting to play at a wedding, he realized he forgot to bring his wedding prelude music to the church. Frantically, he ran to his car to see what music books were laying around in the back seat and he found his copy of August and Everything After.
“I think I can make this work.”
For the next 30 minutes, John played a good portion of the album in an appropriate pre-wedding style: soft, slow and sparse. Much to his surprise, he got the best comments he’s ever received at a wedding.
“Some people that loved it had no idea what I was playing. Others that loved it knew exactly what I was playing.” This solution to the problem of forgetting his music book actually helped him book more wedding bookings. “I unintentionally became a traveling Counting Crows cover artist at wedding ceremonies.”
When John began to choose songs for this record, it was difficult for him to narrow down.
“For this collection, I chose my favorites. Some are hits. Some are not. Some of the arrangements are totally turned on their heads, and others stay pretty true to the original. For those who aren’t Counting Crows fans, but enjoy solo piano music, I think they’ll appreciate the beautiful melodies that came from Mr. Duritz and the rest of the band. Whether I’m performing at a wedding or at a gig where the crowd is slim and quiet, whenever I play these songs, they always get an impressive response.”