Christopher O'Riley

Christopher O'Riley (official site, wikipedia entry) is a classical pianist and U.S. radio show host who has a blog. Although I normally wouldn't listen to classical piano music, I was put on to Christopher's site when I found out he had just released an instrumental cover album of one of my favorite artists, Elliott Smith (fan site, wikipedia entry).

I was initially worried that an instrumental cover of the late Elliott Smith would sound like muzak without Elliott's distinct, honest, self-harmonising vocals, Beatle-esque, melodic guitar and occasional, skillful piano. But it's clear when listening to Christopher O'Riley's arrangements that he has infused the songs with skill and played them as if they were written for classical piano (which either adds to the song, or takes away from it, depending on your opinion). Christopher has also done two cover albums for Radiohead, another artist I like.

There's free samples of both the Radiohead and Elliott Smith tracks at Christopher's audio downloads page. I recommend "No Surprises" (an 11MB MP3 file) which is a live piano performance of 3 Radiohead songs ("No Surprises", "Nice Dream" & "Let Down") - amazing.

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[Listening to: No Surprises - Christopher O'Riley - Syracuse University-Setnor Hall-1.20.04 (12:07)]

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