There's nothing I'd rather do than play music. I write my own songs, but also enjoy playing the work of Kate Wolf, Richard Thompson, the Grateful Dead, and many other musicians too numerous to mention. The songs I write tap into the same veins of insight, inspiration, and ecstasy that my favorite musicians channel so well.
I have been playing piano ever since I was tall enough to reach the keys, largely by ear--got theory training as a teenager and started playing songs on piano. Moved to Nashville by accident seven years ago and got infected with Nashvirus--got a 4-track, then a 12-track, and been learning how to use them ever since. I view music making as an art form akin to painting. People don't gather in cafes to watch painters do their thing. I'm quite happy working in my studio and presenting finished products to the internet public.
I play at Ragweed Festival on the Farm once a year. As I don't like being around people who are smoking tobacco and drinking, and few coffeehouses have acoustic pianos (my solo instrument of choice), I make little attempt to "play out." If there were Amsterdam-style cafes in this country, I would be more inclined to seek gigs. If you got one, get in touch!
Imagine the Grateful Dead as a jazz quintet--bass, drums, keyboard, piano, sax, and vocals...my inspiration as a piano player comes from Robbie Basho, John Fahey, Keith Jarrett, and Jerry Lee Lewis. My sax playing is influenced by Jerry Garcia, Ornette Coleman, Coleman Hawkins, John Coltrane, Louis Armstrong, and Ludwig von Beethoven. As a songwriter, I like Hunter-Garcia, Leonard Cohen, Richard Thompson, and Robin Williamson.
I view style as subservient to message. Some of my songs are very folk-rocky, others jazzy, others feature the keyboard equivalent of howling guitars, others a string quartet or symphony orchestra or spooky electronics. Variety is the spice of life.
I have an old upright piano that's loads of fun to play but isn't quite up to recording standards, a martin indiana sax that dates from the twenties, an offbrand bari sax i'm hoping to replace soon, an ashiko and a set of tablas, and a Roland Juno D keyboard, and a Korg D12 12 track recorder
African proverb: "if you can walk, you can dance; if you can talk, you can sing"
I am firmly in favor of amateur music--it's more fun to enjoy yourself being creative than sitting around absorbing somebody else's creativitiy. I think it is important to break down the audience-performer dualism and make music participatory as a political/spiritual/psychological revolutionary act.