Robin Meloy Goldsby may have been destined for show business. She had the requisite musical roots –- her father, Bob Rawsthorne, played drums for the PBS program Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. She also had the early childhood experiences: Through her dad's involvement in Pittsburgh show business, she had the opportunity to act and play piano in various local productions. Goldsby picks up the story on this episode of Piano Jazz, telling host Marian McPartland how a summer off from school, waiting tables on Nantucket Island, led to her first gig as a pianist in a bar.
Goldsby has spent much of her career in a seldom-considered corner of the music business: She's made a living "specializing in background music" and playing piano in bars, lounges and hotel lobbies ranging from the Grand Hyatt in New York to nightclubs in Haiti. Her experiences are chronicled in her hilarious and often poignant memoir Piano Girl: Lessons in Life, Music, and the Perfect Blue Hawaiian — which is how McPartland came to know about her.
Clearly, Goldsby knows the standards, and she and McPartland get together on a few classic tunes: Henry Mancini's "Charade" and Cole Porter's "Night and Day." But Goldsby also offers up a deeper glimpse into her musical mind — she performs several originals, including a tune honoring McPartland called "The Lady Plays." McPartland returns the sentiment with an elegant, spontaneously improvised musical portrait of her guest.
Goldsby now resides in Germany with her husband John, a jazz bassist. In addition to working on various musical projects and raising two children, Goldsby has just released her second book and first novel, Rhythm.
Originally recorded May 18, 2006.