Sitting in with Former Piano Student and Present Day Rock Star, Gavin DeGraw.

I used to live in the Catskill Mountains. That’s where I first met Gavin when he was a high school student. I believe he was seventeen at the time. He was looking for a piano teacher and I was teaching at the time. He played me some songs he was working on and they were pretty good for a seventeen year old. What really impressed me was his singing. I was blown away and told his parents that he was definitely going to make it in the music business. And I didn’t say that lightly. He was that good as a singer.

So, I believe we worked together for about a year and then he went off to Ithaca College. Before the end of the year, Gavin came home and I gave him a few more lessons. He played some of the songs he was working on and they had come a long way from the first songs he had played for me. I told him he might want to try Berklee College of Music. He decided to give Berklee a go. He ended up coming back home after one semester, if I remember correctly. He then played me some of his new songs and they were really good. I said to him, “Gavin, I want to play with you.” So, we ended up playing a bunch of gigs at a local pub with me playing solos on the Melodica. It was a lot of fun and he kept getting better at performing.

Gavin decided to move to NYC. He started playing gigs there and I remember going down and playing a showcase gig with him at “The Bitter End” on Bleeker Street. From there he ended up getting management, a publishing deal and a record deal. His first record went platinum.

We lost touch for a while, but I had his phone number and from time to time we would text back and forth. Recently, I heard he was coming to Flagstaff and I texted him and invited him to Sedona. Unfortunately, his schedule was jammed doing one nighters. I asked him if he could get Christine and me into the show and maybe get us backstage passes. I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen, but Christine and I went up to Flagstaff to the Pepsi Amphitheater anyway. Sure enough, we got to the ticket booth and there was an envelope with two VIP tickets and backstage passes.

We went in and went backstage, but Gavin wasn’t expected in for a while. So, we hung out backstage and Gavin rolled in with his tricked out Mercedes RV and Airstream rig that he put together for this tour. He texted me asking where I was and we got together. It was the first time seeing him in maybe twenty years. It was really nice to see him again. We hung out until about five minutes before the show and then he went out to perform to a packed house.

Christine and I were sitting on stage right watching the show. It was just Gavin on keys, a guitar playing/bass playing singing guy and a drummer. They sounded great and tight. At one point in the show, I was uploading a picture of Gavin to Instagram, when it got quiet and the spotlight was on me. I looked up and Gavin was pointing to me and waving me over. He was telling the crowd that I was his piano teacher back in the day. I came up and the band was already vamping. I sat down and took a solo. It was so much fun!

Gavin had a “meet and greet” after the show, but we were able to take some photos with him. He was really grateful for all the support I had given him when he was just starting out. I was really surprised with how appreciative he was about those days. I wasn’t in the best of places back then and my memory of a lot of things was suspect, to say the least.

I am so proud of the career that Gavin has carved out for himself. He is most definitely a “Rock Star” in my books. He put out an hour and twenty minutes of high energy music. He sang and played his ass off. His fans loved him. He is a gifted singer, songwriter and performer. Keep it up Gavin!

Two videos of sitting in with Gavin. The first was shot by Christine from stage right. The second and shorter video was shot by a fan in the audience. It’s fun to see Gavin’s expressions while I’m playing.

View this post on Instagram

Gavin DeGraw live in concert Flagstaff, AZ

A post shared by Louis Landon (@louis_landon_solo_piano) on

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Ticket and backstage pass

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Gavin performing

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Sitting in

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Sitting in 2

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Selfie

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Selfie 2 – too much fun

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Christine, Gavin, Louis

1 Comment

Filed under Gigs, Music, News, Uncategorized

One response to “Sitting in with Former Piano Student and Present Day Rock Star, Gavin DeGraw.

  1. mcshepart

    Very cool Louis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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