Who wouldn’t love to travel the country playing music every day of the year while honoring one’s country, getting paid and having the opportunity to rub elbows with foreign dignitaries and heads of state?
For those who would, take a trip to the Manette Saloon around 9 p.m. Saturday night and Drew Williams might just tell you how it is.
He’ll be playing a Rock and Roll Piano Man Show — featuring himself, his ivories and a stage drummer.
“I’m active duty Navy, but my job is musician,” Williams said. “I get the same pay but I don’t go on the ship and I don’t carry a gun.”
This Manette gig is more of an edgy, piano-man side project, Williams said, but playing for the Navy during the past few years has been quite an experience. He plays the piano regularly for nine different Navy-centered groups, combining for about 400 gigs per year, he said. (That’s more than once a day).
Then on the side, he likes to get wild on the black and whites, playing sets of well-known piano rock at clubs and restaurants around Kitsap. Some may have already heard his stylings Sunday mornings at the Bayside Broiler or on weekends at the Magnolia Cafe in Poulsbo or JWs Steakhouse in Bremerton.
“I’d do things like name that tune, honor their requests and just have fun with the audience, it’s the whole piano bar atmosphere,” Williams said.
He’ll be undoubtedly be touting that kind of air along with a debonair smile at the Manette this weekend. And in addition, Williams said he’ll also be turning up the energy, cranking on Elton John, Billy Joel, the Beatles and Ben Folds Five tunes. And one shouldn’t be surprised to hear some Jerry Lee Lewis, Stevie Wonder or even a little Harry Connick Jr. as well.
“I’ve been a fan of Elton and Billy for so long. Elton pretty much taught me how to play piano,” Williams said. “Since I’ve got such a history with those two players … and all these great entertainers with the piano, I try to hold the arrangements true to them.”
Though he’s been known to go off, taking song like Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” and turning it into an improvised 10-minute jam, Williams sticks to cover songs with his audiences in mind.
“I’m all about playing to my audience man, because there is no use taking a gig and playing something that they don’t want to hear,” he said.
Sounds like an invitation Kitsap, an invitation to head to the Manette Saloon Saturday, grab a martini and let this piano man know what you want to hear.