teach yourself piano

teach yourself piano

BandFolkCabaret

“Built around the versatile piano-playing of Kevin Atkinson and his sister Sarah's luminous vocals, this musical art project borrows from cabaret, classical, blues, jazz and Broadway to create its own whimsical genre.” ~The Windsor Star, August 2006.

Biography

Sibling Songwriting Duo

Teach Yourself Piano [TYP] are
composer/pianist Kevin Atkinson and his
sister lyricist/vocalist Sarah Atkinson.
Performances also often include their sister
Anna on violin.

Writing and performing in their hometown of
Windsor, Ontario since 1995, TYP continue
to offer a fresh and exciting musical
experience for discerning music lovers.

The Atkinsons grew up in a musical
household with a mother who loves to sing
and a folk singer father who is rumoured to
have known over 500 songs.

TYP’s compositions are influenced by
Broadway musicals, as well as folk, classical
and jazz genres. “We were weaned on Pete
Seeger, Tom Lehrer, Rodgers &
Hammerstein, and CBC Stereo. Our patron
saints are Kurt Weill and Randy Newman,”
says Sarah.

Both siblings played with various other
musical groups before teaming up together.
Kevin played flute in Windsor Celtic band
Sawney Beane; Sarah was a founding
member of Vancouver worldbeat group
Ngoma.

Kevin has an uncanny ability for writing
infectious melodies that are informed by
classical training and a love for the tin-pan
alley classics of American popular music.

Sarah’s intelligent lyrics are matched by a
voice that ranges from smoky and subtle to
soaring and radiant.

Lyrics

Armchair

Written By: Sarah Atkinson

When I think that I'm getting better
Another drink and I'm feeling stronger

I feel like nothing when you walk through that door
But I don't think that I can stand anymore
But I don't want to go home

When I start and you get all distant
I don't know why
I still can't resist it

You see nothing
When you walk through that door
But I don't think
That I can stand anymore
But I don't want to go home

So here I’ll sit
In your big old armchair
It’s clear to me
Something’s just not there

I feel like nothing
When you walk out that door
But I don’t think
That I can stand anymore
But I don’t want to go home
I don’t want to go home

So please take me home

When I look and I think
I should leave this all behind
Try to break out of this
There’s some happiness to find
Then I’ll think of your face and say,
‘Just one more time’

So here I’ll sit
In your big old armchair
It’s clear to me
Something’s just not there
I feel like nothing
When you walk through that door
But I don’t think
That I can stand anymore
I just want to go home

Lemons

Written By: Sarah Atkinson

Lemons into lemonade
Water into wine
Give the people what they want
They'll crucify you every time

And gamble for your underclothes
You sacrificial lamb
Why give them steak and homemade cake
When all they want is Spam

They'll gamble for your underwear
You sacrificial lamb
If they bring up the Chelsea just say
'What I am is what I am'
This is my body take and eat
And wash it down with beer

Please, please, give me a Liberace afterlife
Leonard Cohen's coming at me with a knife
A silk purse, sow's ear
Who will ever know?
Because one man's poison
Is someone's ticket
To fame and glory
Pain and glory

Please give me a Liberace afterlife
Janis Joplin's coming at me with a knife
Old dog, new tricks
Who will even care?
Because one man's poison
Is someone's ticket
To fame and glory
Pain and glory

Lemons into lemonade
And water into wine
Give the people what they want
They'll crucify you every time
Don't wait for inspiration
Just connect the dots
What makes a hit is just a bit
Of guanxi, drive, and guts.

Iced Coffee Man

Written By: Sarah Atkinson

Every evening's a sad one
Even when he's having fun
His girlfriend, she's a rental
And her lease expires just after he does

She doesn't speak English
He can't understand Thai
They speak the universal language of cash

I can see him because the door's ajar
His pants are down around his ankles
He's lying on the bed
Too bagged to get it up anyways

And the skinny girl she's gone fetal
Curled up in the corner
So high and so low

And the rooms have no windows
And the walls are paper-thin
You can hear the sounds of tubercular phlegm
From the throat of Death in Venice Man

The next day starts late
He's trying to clear his tiny head
While she's still sleeping he gets up and dressed
Then he makes his announcement
"I'm going for an iced coffee."
"I said 'I'm going for an iced coffee'" he tells her again.

And the rooms have no windows
And the walls are paper-thin
You can hear the sounds of tubercular phlegm
From the throat of Death in Venice Man

Discography

Sweet Waltz, Bitter Waltz (2006)

Set List

There are twelve original songs on our first album. Our set list includes all of them and usually more of the original songs we have written.