What the ?

I think my son was five years old when he came up to me and said “Dad, I know what the ‘F’ word is.”

This took me by surprise. How did a kindergartener even know there was such a thing as an ‘F’ word. I played it cool, though.
‘OK, son,” I said, whisper it to me”. I leaned down and he put his mouth up to my ear.
“Fart,” he said.
It was all I could do not to bust out laughing. I also breathed a huge sigh of relief. What innocence.
“Yes, son. That’s it.” Let’s not use that word, OK.”
At that point I told him, “If you ever hear other words that you don’t know, come ask me first. If they’re bad words, I won’t be mad if you ask me. If I hear you using bad words, though, I won’t be happy and you will be in trouble.”
He agreed.

A couple of years later, he came up to me and said kind of nonchalantly, “Dad, what’s a motherf&%$#$?”
I almost choked.”Where did you hear that?”
“Charles said it.”
I composed myself, remembering our agreement. “Well, son, let’s DEFINITELY not say that again. Remember when you told me you knew that the ‘F’ word was fart?”
“Yeah.”
‘Well, the part of that word after ‘mother’ is the REAL ‘F’ word, and I don’t wont to hear it again. Thanks for coming to ask.”
“OK,” he said and went on his way.

So what does an F word story have to do with my music journey?  Two words – Ben Folds.  You may not know who Ben is or maybe you’ve only seen as a judge him on NBC’s “The Sing Off”.  He has been a solo artist for some time now, but apparently he and his band mates from Ben Folds Five will be touring again soon.  A new album is due out in September.

Anyway, Ben is my go to guy when I need piano inspiration.  Sure, Jim Brickman has his place in my iTunes, but Ben is one of the great rock pianists.  I may never play like him, but listening to his tunes usually gets me pumped to practice again.

I first heard of Ben from a friend who found out I restarted piano as an adult.  He said to check out Ben Folds.  Later that week, in a bookstore’s music section, the only Ben Folds CD they had was called Ben Folds Live.  I love live music, so I bought it.  I was blown away from song one.  This particular album was only Ben and a piano, and I couldn’t believe what I heard.  This definitely wasn’t New Age solo piano.  If you only buy one Ben Folds album, this would be my recommendation.

Unfortunately, Ben likes to drop an F-bomb or two.  And some other words I won’t print here. They weren’t lying with that parental warning sticker on the CD.     Sure, I’ve let my share slip, but I try not to these days.  I think Ben does it with the sole purpose of keeping his music off mainstream radio.  Oh well, I’ll just look for him for piano playing inspiration, not necessarily lyrical inspiration.

So here are a few of my favorite Ben Folds songs with no profanity:

Lullabye: A tune from Ben Folds Five days.  This video is a great version of it with the Western Australia Symphony Orchestra
Landed
My Philosophy

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