Old Piano, New Ukulele Tribute

Old Piano, New Ukulele Tribute

Chip Withrow's picture



Liner Notes: 

Last week, I was in Ohio for a memorial service for my grandmother. I stayed at my sister's house and got to play around on the family piano.
When I got home to Florida, I combined my first instrument with one of my most recently learned. Then I wrote a poem.
I'm going to get at least one more song out of the piano improv I recorded.


I got to play the piano I grew up with
when I visited family in Ohio in July
for my grandmother’s memorial.
She made it to 99 on July 2 and
passed away peacefully on July 4.

That piano –
the one you are hearing now –
has been in the family for maybe 100 years.
When I sat down, this was what
my hands instinctively started playing.

I saw Dr. John perform in 1990
in a bar in Columbus, Ohio, in a neighborhood
that was supposed to be up-and-coming but
never really got there.

It was just him and a piano, and now
that I know more about his life, maybe
he had fallen on hard times to be playing
in a place like that.

But he gave it his all, for sure.
At one point a friend said to me,
“These are songs you really want to hear on piano!”
And at times it sounded like two pianos going at once.

Afterward he hung around and signed
my ticket stub and my friend’s concert poster.
And we couldn’t understand a single
hoodoo-bayou-drenched word he said.

I don’t claim to be in anywhere near the same
piano universe as Dr. John, but he and his
New Orleans buddy Professor Longhair are two of
my heroes. And they have influenced my approach
to other instruments, too – like the ukulele I just started playing.

A humble tribute, this is.

Please keep your comments respectful, honest, and constructive. Please focus on the song and not the demo.


cindyrella's picture

So much of your life is woven into this treasure! The influence of your heroes is just wonderful. Thanks for sharing this!

coolparadiso's picture

i like the whole idea and the musical history link very nice

kahlo2013's picture

Love the intimacy in the story and your spoken word is perfect on the lovely musical riff you have going. Wonderful!

Acousticmaddie's picture

Treasurous little piece. I really like it a lot. It has a good rhytm and great and intimate storytelling. Love your storytelling voice.

Fuzzy's picture

Lovely little spoken word piece.
A really engaging story.
The piano line combined with the ukulele adds a lot of sweetness to your words.
Yes, now that you explain it I can definitely hear the influence.
Really well done!!