Even now as the record plays though my earphones, it is easy to forget that Jeff Pianki is not a household name and doesn't have a catalogue of albums spanning decades. The truth is, Jeff Pianki is an unsigned musician; a man at the start of what is looking to be a promising career in music.
It seems with this album Jeff has put his all into every second. There isn't an average song to skip, or a best one to jump to, just a collection of equally but individually, amazing pieces of music. The production on this record is also as impressive as the songs. All the warmth and depth has been captured in all the right places, swallowing you up as you lie back and listen.
With lots of artists releasing singles and "hits" it is refreshing to have an album to listen to from start to finish. If you've not already, you can download the album from http://www.jeffpianki.com/ paying however much you wish to. You can even download the album for free if you like, because Jeff's nice like that.
I recently got in touch with Mr Pianki and asked if he would answer some questions for this blog and he kindly agreed.
Q. How Long have you been writing and playing your own music and what drove you to start?
A. I started playing piano in my last year of high school after my parents got me a keyboard for Christmas. I spent a lot of time learning Ben Folds and Coldplay covers that year. I didn't start writing music and playing guitar until I got surgery on my wrist in 2007, and played guitar as a sort of physical therapy thing. It definitely developed into a lot more than that, considering I haven't gone a day without playing since.
Q. Which three recording artists inspire you the most?
A. That's a tough question. The obvious first choice would have to be the Beatles. Aside from that, I love Cat Stevens (now Yusuf Islam). His playing style and songwriting style have been a huge influence on me. The last of which is probably Sufjan Stevens. Listening to him made me want to learn how to play as many instruments as I possibly could. Plus he writes really beautiful songs.
Q. If you had to form a band, which musicians would you have join you? famous or not.
A. I wish I had a band. The first person I'd want in my band would be this guy Noah who plays cello on a couple of my songs. I've never met him in person because he lives really far away from me, but that would be awesome if we could play together live. I'll try and be more fun with this answer now. Sufjan would play piano, Ben Kweller would play second guitar, my friend Rick would play drums, and my other friend Joe Hertler would play stand up bass. That would be the dream band for me.
Q. Apart from Folk and Acoustic music, what other genres do you enjoy?
A. I love genres all over the map. I love jazz artists like John Coltrane, I love real hip hop like Talib Kweli, I really enjoy electronic music like Aphex Twin, and good pop music is a wonderful thing. I listen to more of other types of music than I do acoustic and folk music.
Q. Where is your favourite place to practice?
A. I love playing music outside on a sunny day, or in a really echo-filled room. I suppose the echo-filled room wins though. You can't beat natural reverb.
Q. When you're not playing music, what would you be doing?
A. I love film, so there's a good chance I'm watching a film. I spend a lot of time with my family and friends, and I really enjoy that. Aside from those, I love outdoor things like camping, skateboarding, playing sports, etc.
Q. How does it feel now that you have a following of people you have never met and people who choose to buy the music you write?
A. Overwhelming, to say the least. Sometimes it's hard for me to make that connection because I can't really fathom some stranger choosing one of my songs over all of the incredible music that is out there. Words can't express how grateful I am. I think that's one reason I give people the option to get my music for free. Honestly, it just means the world that they would pick my music to listen to.
Q. Where in the world would you most like your music to take you performing?
A. I would love to make it to England, Ireland, and the west coast of the United States. I've never been to California, but I would love to visit there and play a show.
Q. If you was told you could only play one song and then never play again, what song would you make your last?
A. I'm not sure if I can really answer that. It's like a game of would you rather but with a bunch of different scenarios. I think the last song of mine that I would play would be "Sun Will Rise". That song means a lot to me every time I play it, and it's a fun song to play as well.
Many thanks to Jeff for taking the time to answer the questions and also for all of the wonderful music.