05 August 2015

A Short Interview With The Extraordinary SARAH McCOY of New Orleans, Louisiana.

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I can't remember now how I happened to see this Sarah McCoy video but I don't think I shut my mouth the whole time it was on. 
In it she holds nothing back and lays her sound down artfully, with great blues power, and a strong sense of good old-fashioned raw art and soul. 

Part Miss Simone, part Waits, part the carnival barker showman, part the carnival's sad trapeze artist, she is all Pianist and all her own voice. Ms. McCoy is an original talent with a sound that might recall standing five feet from a passing train, or a distant memory of someone you heard singing gospel from across the street one night, or the sound of someone breaking your heart with a blues and soul mixtape, or a bar full of lovers moving hot sweaty in the moonlight to the music of Sarah McCoy...
I had to find out more.

A brief interview is below the video:

RS:: Rick Saunders : I stumbled across a video of you in France playing the piano and singing your song Merry-Go-Round with your Glockenspielist Alyssa Potter in France. I'm still reeling my jaw back up. It's a thrill to see someone play so full-on. I've always held that one should be prepared to kick up there, or get off the stage.

What's your story, Sarah McCoy?
Where are you from, how long have you been playing piano?
Do you play other instruments?
And why not a glockenspielist, for crying out loud?
Do you augment with other instruments when available?

SM:: Sarah McCoy:
 My story, huh? Well, I came wailing into the world May 27th, 1985 to a retired police offficer and an ex-nun who met as recovering alcoholics. As funny as it sounds, it really is a beautiful story. We moved to charleston, South Carolina in the early 90s after hurricane Hugo. When I was 11, a traveling carnie gave my parents a piani for me, when I was was 12, my pops was diagnosed with cancer, and when I was 15, he passed away at the age of 72. By this time I was in a local charter school for music and theater, but I ended up ditching it to try and feel normal in an average public school where no one knew. 

Fast forward a few years and I'm turnin 20 and hittin the road with my thumb out. I hitchiked and landed in California.

That's where I met Alyssa, my glockenspiel player. She was my supervisor in a Pizza joint called Pizza My Heart. She was sleeping on my couch when I won an online auction for a glockenspiel. (i was in a phase of aquiring lots of tiny instruments). Anyhow, she would sit down during my band practices and dink out the waltzes on it while we played. Anyway,  I ended up just throwing her on stage with it one night and she never stopped playing with me after that. We ended up  running around the country for a while then coming back to Monterey. But for many good reasons and personal circumstances, we decided to randomly move to new orleans where the grand adventure really began to take off.

I have been playing piano for about 15 years now, and the glockenspiel has been there for me thick and thin.
Its bizarre because for some reason it works and it always has. Which is perfect because the chick that plays it is my best friend in the universe.

I do have a fluctuating band. I've played with bass players, cellists, horn players, drummers, mandolins, guitars and even an admittedly crappy ukulele. But it's always boiled down to alyssa and I.
We kind of rule with the power of friendship.

Thanks for your time, Sarah. One should never underestimate the power of friendship. You make really incredible, legit work and I hope I get to see you play live sometime. Bonne chance!

This is the only official recording of the terrific Sarah McCoy at this time. 
Sit down and Listen it to it, as soon as you have the time. While highly melodic, with a moody groove that suggests some rare string-laden Motown heartbreaker, this is no pop confection. This is six minutes of classical-infected New Orleans piano blues played at an early Winehouse level.


Sarah McCoy @ la Maroquinerie (Paris) from David Unger on Vimeo.
Extrait du concert de Sarah McCoy à la Maroquinerie (Paris) le 14 février 2014, dans le cadre du festival "Les Nuits de l'Alligator".
filmé par David Unger

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