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Piano Girl: A Memoir Paperback – May 1, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Backbeat Books (May 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879308826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879308827
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,192,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

'Goldsby has seen it all from her piano and she dishes it up with a true storyteller's gusto. As refreshing as a frozen daiquiri . . .' Jeff Yanc, Book Sense Picks and Notables

Pianist, composer, and author Robin Meloy Goldsby mesmerizes listeners with her three solo piano CDs: Somewhere in Time, Songs from th Castle and Twilight. The recordings
frame Goldsby's career as a pianist in some of the world's finest hotels and restaurants.

Goldsby's first book, Piano Girl: A Memoir, made its hardcover debut in spring, 2005. The book presents a collection of autobiographical short stories' some funny, some poignant'that explore the life of a working musician. Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, hailed Piano Girl as 'big-hearted, funny, truly eye-opening memoir.'

Book Sense, the leading organization representing independent bookstores in the United States, chose Piano Girl, now available in paperback, as one of the 'Picks of the Summer, 2006.'

Goldsby has appeared on NPR's All Things Considered, the Leonard Lopate Show in New York City, and the Mark Farrell Show on CD 101.9. Recently she taped two installments of Marian McPartland's NPR Piano Jazz, which aired in October 2006 and December 2007. Marian McPartland says, 'Piano Girl is certainly one of the funniest books I've ever read.'

Robin performs live, in a variety of settings. Her performances in the past year have included a reading and concert in the rotunda at Steinway Hall in Manhattan, a performance at the Salt Lake City International Jazz Festival, a reading at the Bechstein Concert Hall in Cologne Germany, and an Advent Concert in Candlelight at Schlosshotel Lerbach, a beautiful castle and 5-star hotel in the hills of Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, where she appears regularly.

A cocktail-lounge pianist for 30 years, Goldsby worked her way through Chatham College, an elite women's school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, by playing piano in local hotel lounges and roadhouse bars. After moving to New York City in 1980, she began playing in many of Manhattan's leading hotels where she cultivated her skills and captivated audiences with her unique musical style. In addition to her five-star experiences in New York City and her no-star gigs in small regional lounges, Goldsby's musical adventures have taken her to exclusive island resorts, Third World countries, and the castles in Europe where she currently performs.

Goldsby's second book, a novel called RHYTHM was published in October 2008: Meet teenage drummer Jane Bowman. She's fifteen, funny, and wounded by the loss of her famous percussionist mother. Robin Meloy Goldsby's touching and humorous coming-of-age musical odyssey invites us to tap our toes in time to Jane's powerful music'cheering her on as she mends her shattered heart, finds her groove, and discovers the tragic beauty of human resilience.

'Goldsby, who marries the pathos of her plot line with the whimsy and near-magical-realism of her characters, deserves comparison with John Irving, a modern master.'
Marion Winik, NPR commentator and author of First Comes Love

'Rhythm conveys the magic of sound plus the transformative power of music, and the words'like a well-played melody'ring true.'
Peter Erskine, drummer and author of Time Awareness for All Musicians

Robin is married to jazz bassist John Goldsby. They have two children, and live near Cologne Germany.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
You won't learn anything technical about piano playing from reading this memoir, nor is there an abundance of great profundity, but darn if I didn't breeze right through this book, not missing a beat and enjoying every page.

Here's how it is: Imagine meeting a smart, attractive woman at a party, learning she makes a respectable living playing piano in lounges, lobbies and private parties around the world, and finding she can tell charming, frequently quite funny stories about her most memorable adventures and misadventures plying her trade, dealing with a colorful mix of memorable clients, bosses, co-workers and weirdos.

Never boring, this woman--with her compelling yin-yang mix of insecurity, spunk, humbleness and bravado--knows how to tell a bright, tight story, keeping things light-hearted with her sharp sense of irony, but grounded in a passion for her work and the artistry she struggles to refine, understand and appreciate amidst the jumble and chatter of cocktail hours with an audience that may or may not be listening to, let alone care about, the beauty and witty nuances (or occasional stumbles) of craft she shares with the world.

If you think you'd enjoy spending a few hours with that kind of woman--content in knowing she's never going home with you and that her most intimate and revealing stories are bound to be reserved for that someone very special who is not you--then you will likely enjoy this book as I have. And from ever on you will feel a special connection when you come across a piano girl plying her art. You will be one of those who listens in a knowing way, having a special respect for her work, respect she deserves and will likely truly appreciate.

(And don't forget to make note of the Piano Girl's large brandy snifter tip jar: It's for no-obligation cash, not damp napkins with your hotel room number scrawled on it!)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Richards HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is the paperback edition of Piano Girl: Lessons in Life, Music, and the Perfect Blue Hawaiian

Like the good old Barbra Streisand staple, Robin Meloy Goldsby shares with us the memories that light the corners of her mind, and true to the lyrics, it's the laughter we will remember, whenever we remember this personal and funny autobiography.

Beginning her working career as a waitress, the author's inability to balance food and beverages without causing grievous bodily harm quickly prompted a switch to another occupation. When practice sessions on the piano at the Club Car lead to an offer to play for the patrons five nights a week, Ms. Goldsby exchanges her hair net for beach-blanket Barbie attire, and delights the audience with her collection of 12 songs and her "fake book" which is used when you need to bluff your way through a musical request.

Eventually, tube tops evolve into cocktail dresses, and cocktail lounges become ritzy hotel lobbies, luxury island resorts and even castles, but Ms. Goldsby continues to amaze and amuse with her observations from the business side of the piano.

Designing agents, questionable bookings and embarrassing situations are all described here in glorious detail, but above all, the colorful, eccentric and certifiably crazy characters encountered make for an enjoyable reading experience.

It's obvious that if Ms. Goldsby had the chance to do it all again, she certainly would.

Amanda Richards
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Emilee Floor on May 25, 2006
Format: Paperback
If you like to laugh, and enjoy sightseeing, Piano Girl is a journey I would highly recommend! This collection of anecdotes will introduce you to unforgettable people and places. What's more, even though you'll often find yourself laughing out loud, you might also shed a few tears. You don't have to be a musician to relate to the stories, either. This book is so brilliantly written, that even though the stories are told from a piano player's perspective, you will still undoubtedly catch glimpses of your own life. In fact, reading Piano Girl is essentially reading life. As you travel through her memories, you will have a sense of witnessing the author's own transformation and growth. When you finish this book, which you won't be in a hurry to do, you will have the satisfaction of just having leafed through someone's cherished scrap-book. Most likely, you'll want to keep it on the same shelf as your own.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Greg Thymius on May 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
I laughed, I cried, it was better than "Cats" (although I'm sure Robin's had to play "Memory" more times than she can count!) Don't read this book in public unless the idea of strangers watching you laugh out loud all by yourself doesn't bother you. Have a favorite beverage handy, but don't drink and read at the same time; solo spit takes aren't pretty. Lastly, don't read too quickly, because you'll be sad to leave the company of this wonderful lady and this hilarious, often poignant memoir. As for me, I'll never leave the house without a roll of duct tape and an extension cord again.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Howard M on September 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
OK folks, you think you know what this book will be about. I can tell you already -- you are wrong. This book far surpassed my expectations. I thought it would be a cute, mildly entertaining memoir of some chick who played the piano-bar circuit. I cannot even begin to tell you what I experienced while reading PIANO GIRL. I am a pianist/singer/composer so of course I related to the handful of musical references -- but more importantly, what shocked me was the universality of this novel. She does not dwell on the music aspect in that hoity-toity high-brow way. She focuses on what you would never expect! The every-woman's adventure thru the Big, Bad City and how playing the piano in every possible venue gave her a front row center seat to some of the most interesting if not peculiar people who inhabit this planet. I found her to be part Carol Burnett, part "Amy" on "Everybody Loves Raymond" -- mixed with the class and sophistication of an obviously savvy, cultured musician/stylist. She is so incredibly humble yet after hearing her piano samples online and reading about the effect she had on some of the most promiment people in society -- it confirms the fact that being a "musical stylist" takes precedence. When she ultimately leaves New York, I found myself saddened for two reasons: I didn't want her to leave all the crazy shennanigans of the Big Apple since it was so entertaining to read about, but also because I was hoping that someday I would meet this wonderful lady in a local New York hang-out and share what this book meant to me. But alas, she has gone overseas and has found a successful career playing at the most regal, if not medieval places. I laughed out loud many times, yet I was surprised who fast she could turn that around and evoke the lump-in-your-throat feeling as well.Read more ›
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