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Well cool – Heartbreaker Benmont Tench will be releasing his first solo album. What I like about ol Benjamin Montgomery is the dichotomy he creates by playing in an understated, yet completely indispensable manner. He rarely plays “in your face”, but TP and the Heartbreakers would be average at best without him.
Looking forward to hearing it!
All worthy entries on rock keyboard’s Mount Rushmore, to be sure.
One name not yet mentioned is Jordan Rudess, formerly of the Dixie Dregs and longtime keyboardist for Dream Theater. He’s technically brilliant, and is big, fat poke in the eye to the notion of the “shrinking violet keyboardist”. He goes toe to toe with the great guitar virtuoso John Petrucci every night, yet plays with fluidity and grace.
Also on my list, in no particular order – Chuck Leavell (OK, he’s actually at the top of my list, lol!), Billy Powell from Skynard, Benmont Tench of TP and the Heartbreakers, Steve Walsh of Kansas (possibly the most underrated rock keyboardist in history), Billy Joel, British royalty Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman (of course), Dr. John. Finally, I want to mention a guy that I saw on a live DVD by surf rocker Donovan Frankenreiter – there is a keys player by the name of Eric Brigmond that gives an absolute clinic on rock and roll keyboards – great B3, piano and Rhodes playing throughout, commanding the stage with his solos at the right time and being that “wall of sound” when needed. Very inspirational.
Just found this site via that latest issue of Keyboard Magazine. I’ve been looking for a site like this for a long time, and was thrilled to learn that it is a project of one of my top keyboard inspirations, Chuck Leavell.
I’ve been playing keys since 1972, but am just getting back to being serious about music in the last few years. In addition to this site, I’m also studying with a teacher in person, learning jazz and classical styles. I own a Roland RD-700 stage piano and a Nord Electro 4 clonewheel. I’m also beginning the process of purchasing an awesome upright piano, since I don’t have the space for a grand.
I guess I’m living proof that it’s never too late to pick up and dust off an old dream that you might have left by the side of the road earlier in life. Mine was to be an awesome rock keyboardist, play with a tight, driving band and have a lot of fun in the process.
Time to get busy…