Gary Girouard

Gary Girouard

 Falmouth, Massachusetts, USA
BandClassicalAcoustic

Music Style: Neoclassical, with strong 'Pop' influences. If Norah Jones and Josh Groban had a piano-playing baby, it would sound like Gary. Girouard's music fuses elements of classical, jazz, and new age into a highly melodic 'intellectual pop-piano'.

Biography

It is said "you don't find your passion, your passion finds you" - and for Gary Girouard that passion has always been the piano. His first piano was a blue 'junkyard' upright that he convinced his parents to buy for $50 (actually, they never thought he'd stick with it!). But Gary never lost the passion for black and white keys...

Girouard's musical career began after living and backpacking through Europe - writing music on a battery-operated keyboard. When he returned to the US, he landed a job at a Boston piano store - where he developed his style "after-hours" on a fleet of Steinway pianos while playing local bars and clubs. It was here he began writing the material for his "naked piano" project...

The Naked Piano is a tribute like no other - exposing the timeless qualities of the piano. Girouard comments; "People lead increasingly stressful lives. The Naked Piano is a simple response - high-lighting a beautiful instrument in its most pure and natural form." Paul Breeden, the Editor of Boston Live, hails The Naked Piano as "a masterpiece...a testament to the gracious sounds of a fluid live recording" and Wilton Syckes, President of the Piano Travelers Association heralds The Naked Piano as "the most expressive, relaxing piano music I have ever experienced".

Giving a nod to past experiences and worthy causes, Girouard donates a portion of all album sales to charities including the Team Bryce Charity (http://www.brycefund.org) - and the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp (http://www.holeinthewallgang.org) - two organizations that benefit seriously ill and disadvantaged children.

Girouard just completed his 4th album titled "The Naked Piano Light & Dark" - inspired by people everywhere struggling to find hope and light in difficult times.

Lyrics

Naked Piano Album Notes

Written By: Gary Girouard

1. Viva (1993) - "Viva" means "life" in Italian. This composition was written for the wedding of Gary's older sister - Karyn. It is a celebration of life's major events - including weddings and births.

2. Sorella (1998) - "Sorella" means "sister" in Italian. This composition was written for the wedding of Gary's younger sister - Kristen. The piece is meant to show timeless love of family and an appreciation for siblings.

3. Renaissance (2003) - This piece was improvised on location during The Naked Piano recordings in March of 2003 - meant to capture the mysterious mood of the abandoned performance hall.

4. Florence (1991) - Gary spent more than a year living in Italy from 1990-1991. The opening and closing lines are meant to imitate the 'flow' of the Arno river that surrounds the city.

5. Trilogy (2001) - This composition is based on the simple melody of a wind chime. The piece was composed two months before September 11th and reflects an innocent serenity.

6. Esposa (2000) - "Esposa" means "wife" in Portuguese. Gary and his wife - Margarida (who is from Portugal) were married in September of 2000 and this piece was part of the wedding ceremony. This piece is about expressing love.

7. Black Goose (1998) - This piece was written while Gary was playing regularly in the Boston music scene. The Black Goose is a hip local eatery located next to the capital building in downtown Boston.

8. San Gimignano (1991) - Another piece that was composed while Gary was living in Italy. San Gimignano is a quaint medieval village (founded in the 8th century) located in the hills of Tuscany that truly takes you back in time. You can also find a wine produced by local monks called "Vernaccia di San Gimignano".

9. Opus (1990) - this piece was written as a suprise for Gary's mother who was attending a recital at the University of Connecticut. Originally titled "Piano Piece No. 1 in C Minor" - the entire composition is based on only four notes.

Naked Piano Vol. II Album Notes

Written By: Gary Girouard

Track 1 – The Thinker (Gary Girouard, 2005)
As the Thinker sits, his mind is searching, pondering. He’s looking for answers, solutions. Aha! A “brainstorm” – a majestic breakthrough! What a wonderful thing is the human mind! Alas, the monumental thought is now eluding him and the Thinker goes back into deep thought waiting for his next inspiration…

Track 2 – Gabriel (Gary Girouard, 2003)
Gabriel – our little angel. As a small infant, his mother would sing a soothing lullaby. 1-2-3 go to sleep…precious little Gabriel. You are hope, you are potential, you are spirit, you are love.

Track 3 – Prairie (Gary Girouard, 1996)
It’s on a wide open prairie where horses run free and a young husband and wife begin their lives together. Written for my brother (Keith) and played at his wedding in 1996.

Track 4 – The Ring (Gary Girouard, 2004)
Originally, The Ring was an exercise piece that was used to practice creating melodies in all keys. It developed into a three-note melody that was created while performing a live concert in Southern Vermont. Jokingly, a member of the audience had asked for an improvisation on “Three Blind Mice” – and these three notes became the melody you hear repeated in The Ring. The melody keeps recurring, in different keys, never quite the same, but constantly connected.

Track 5 – Sanctuary (Gary Girouard, 2004)
Everyone needs a place to go where they can be alone with their thoughts, problems, hopes and dreams –

Track 6 – Paragon (Gary Girouard, 2003)
My grandmother used to take us to Nantasket Beach. She loved the beach. Nantasket had a real cool amusement center called “Paragon Park” where we played skee-ball and rode the huge wooden roller coaster. After winning stuffed animals, we’d hang out at the beach. We’d body-surf waves and make sandcastles until the sun went down. The sights, sounds and smells of those days are some of the best memories I have. The melody in Paragon is based on a tune by Enigma called “the dream of the dolphin”.

Track 7 – Americana (Interlude) (Gary Girouard, 2005)
While doing the recordings for this album, I was taking a “break” and just noodling around on the piano. I remember thinking about the current state of America (the Iraq war, the economy, global-terrorism, the environment) and how difficult it is to escape the negative influences of the media. This piece is meant to be a “breather”, a “calm in the storm”. Although the piece opens very calm, it deliberately ends in an un-settled state. America is a great country – but we’re not out of the storm yet.

Track 8 – Siena (Gary Girouard, 2004)
Our daughter Siena was born on February 04, 2004. She’s a beautiful little girl with big, smiling brown eyes and wavy brown hair. When she smiles, my heart skips a beat.

Track 9 – Mountain Mist (Gary Girouard, 2004)
My wife is from Northern Portugal (Atilho) – about 10 miles from the Spain border. This area is known as “Tras os Montes” – or “Behind the mountains”. While visiting in the Summer of 2004, we had come across a group of traveling musicians playing some traditional American Indian music. One of these melodies really resonated with me. It reminded me of the area around Atilho – rolling countrysides and lush glades opening up to rivers, valleys and mist covered mountains.

Track 10 – Blue (Gary Girouard, 2005)
I like to read and learn as much as I can. I had purchased a book called “Metaphors for the Musician” and one of the sections was talking about blues progressions. I am not a blues musician. I am intrigued as much about the color “blue” as I am the music style “blues”. In both cases, it’s all about expression. In any case, this piece is based on an F minor blues progression.

Track 11 – Driftwood (Gary Girouard, 2004)
Sometimes you just like to float along without any destination in mind.

Track 12 – After the Rain (Gary Girouard, 2005)
I like the rain. I especially like that calming time just after the rain has stopped – when plump rain drops parachute from the windowsill. There’s a soothing silence. I think it’s because your ears had become accustomed to the percussive sound of the rain – and now – silence. If you listen close to the middle of this piece, you’ll find this moment.

Track 13 – Heritage (Gary Girouard, 2004)
I’ve had the unique privilege to play regularly at a place called Heritage of Falmouth. This is an assisted living facility in my town. Getting to know these folks, I became extra appreciative of the history and experience they have to offer. Our elders have a unique and special story to tell – if we are able to slow down and listen. It’s not just wisdom – it’s heritage.

Track 14 – Strollin (Gary Girouard, 2005)
Have you ever taken a walk by yourself, in the woods, away from the noise of the city? At first, there’s a special feeling that time is moving slower – you have a new-found appreciation for nature! Your legs slowly warm up and your breathing becomes rhythmic. Soon your body is on

Discography

The Naked Piano
The Naked Piano, Volume II
The Naked Piano, Christmas
The Naked Piano Light & Dark

Set List

Viva, Sorella, Renaissance, Florence, Trilogy, Esposa, Black Goose, San Gimignano, Opus - BREAK - The Thinker, Gabriel, Prairie, The Ring, Sanctuary, Paragon Americana, Siena, Mountain Mist, Blue, Driftwood, after the rain, Heritage, Strolling --- performance time 1 HR 15 Min