Foxy Shazam are a Cincinnati based experimental/progressive rock band that sound like some unholy mix of the Misfits and Meatloaf. Guitars blast and then are occasionally quiet to make way for Sky White’s virtuoso piano playing. They claim to be influenced by Evil Knievel, their childhood, Elton John and Alanis Morissette. Listen and decide for yourself.
Jack’s Mannequin began as a side project for something Corporate frontman Andrew McMahon. in 2004 McMahon was tired from touring non-stop with something Corporate and began to write songs as therapy and planned on recording them but not releasing them. Eventually an album began to take shape and in 2005 ‘Everything in Transit’ was released. Plans for a tour to promote the album were scrapped after McMahon was diagnosed with Leukemia and had to undergo a stem call transplant. He has since gone into remission and is doing shows with Jack’s Mannequin as well as something Corporate.
Tori Amos doesn’t exactly rock but she is an amazing pianist, and she certainly is working within the rock/pop idiom. most people know her from her 90′s work like the album Little Earthquakes and songs like Cornflake Girl but she is still putting out albums of incredible piano music to a rabid fan base.
Gavin DeGraw is a pianist/songwriter who is best known for the songs ‘Chariot’ and ‘I Don’t Wanna Be’. DeGraw has built a career from being a touring monster, you’ve heard the aforementioned radio hits but live is where DeGraw really shines and has been building a loyal fan base for years.
Crash Kings are a classic power trio but instead of a guitarist they have Antonio Beliveau making keyboards loud and distorted enough to satisfy the head bangingest rockers. definitely the rawest, loudest, poundingest group on the list. Sounds kinda like the Black Keys with a piano guy instead of a guitarist.
The Fray are a Grammy award winning band from Denver, Colorado who achieved massive success in 2005 with their debut album. The self titled album was certified gold in several countries and their second album How to Save a Life debuted at number one on the Billboard charts in 2009. The Fray are often compared to bands like Keane and Coldplay for their use of the piano as a lead instrument but the band also cite the Wallflowers, Counting Crows and U2 as influences.
Sara Barellies is sadly one of the few females on this list, not many females are taking up the piano as a lead instrument in the post millennium music biz. Thankfully Sara Barellies, celeb judge on TV’s The Sing Off, is cranking out memorable piano riffs for the 2000′s. other females can play piano, we’ve all probably seen Lady Gaga on TV playing piano, but not many females are really championing the piano like Sara. Hopefully she will inspire more girls to follow suit.
Ben Folds is this generations Elton John or Billy Joel. with his Broadway meets punk rock style he has positioned himself as the top piano man in this field. He was kind of underground for a lot of his career, he had some radio hits, you’ve undoubtedly heard Brick, but he was mainly bolstered by fans who bought the albums and soaked up every word and piano phrase. Tunes like Philosophy and Zack and Sara were never on the radio or TV but giant hits with fans. currently he is enjoying some more mainstream success as a co-host of TV’s The Sing Off
Keane are a massively popular UK band who came on the scene in 2004 with their album Hopes and Fears. in addition to excellent songwriting the band eschewed guitars for the album which gave it a unique, distinctive sound. in 2008 the band had 2 albums in the Top 20 British Albums of all Time according to Q Magazine. The only other acts with 2 albums in the countdown were the Beatles, Oasis and Radiohead. The inclusion of a distorted piano effect in 2006 and various synthesisers were a common feature in their music that back then combined the piano rock sound used during their first album and the more electronic sound which developed on the second and third albums. in 2008 they added some electric guitar which gave them a more traditional rock sound without abandoning the piano.
Coldplay what’s to say about Coldplay that hasn’t already been said. They released 3 EP’s between 1996 and 1999 before they stormed onto the music scene with their debut album Parachutes in 2000. As one of the worlds best selling artists they have sold over 50 million albums worldwide. They have many hits fronted by memorable piano riffs like Clocks and Speed of Sound