Saturday, December 7, 2013
By Aimsel Ponti email@example.com
Veteran singer-songwriter Peter Alexander plays acoustic and electric guitar, and his sound is a multifaceted blend of folk, blues and rock.
Peter Alexander plays Hoxter’s in Hallowell on Aug. 31.
WHEN: 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Aug. 31
WHERE: Hoxter's, 122 Water St., Hallowell
HOW MUCH: Free
WHAT'S ON PETER ALEXANDER'S iPOD
"I'm Yours," Jason Mraz
"Little Wing," The Jimi Hendrix Experience
"All You Need is Love," The Beatles
"19th Nervous Breakdown," The Rolling Stones
"In the Pines," Leadbelly
"You Are the Best Thing," Ray LaMontagne
"Love Shack," B-52s
"Psycho Killer," Talking Heads
"A Lighter Shade of Pale," Procol Harum
TURN YOUR RADIO DIAL to 102.9 WBLM every Friday at 8:30 a.m. to hear Aimsel Ponti wax poetic about her top three live music picks for the week with the Captain and Celeste.
Alexander learned piano from his mother when he was 4. He was a choir boy at Washington National Cathedral by age 8, and took up classical guitar at the age of 10. He formed his first band, Peter and The Wolves, when he was in junior high. He started playing solo gigs in the '80s.
GO caught up with Alexander to learn more about his new CD, "Promised Land," and what makes him tick as an artist.
Where are you from originally, and where do you now live?
I often say that I grew up on Sheep Island, just off Cundys Harbor, but spent the school year in Washington, D.C. Most of my neighbors on the island, wherever they were from, felt the same way, and most are now living in Maine. My wife, Johannah, and I currently live in Bath.
How do you like to describe your style of music?
When I play solo, it's pretty much "rock 'n' roll without bass and drums." That's in part because of the big sound of the 12-string guitar, and in part because I always hear all the other instruments in my head, and that seems to come across when I'm playing. Big influences have been Leadbelly, Hendrix and British Invasion (from Rolling Stones to The Who). I have also written a lot of songs about the coast of Maine and ballads about some of my ancestors that will be on my next CD, which will be all acoustic -- a big departure from the rock 'n' roll of "Promised Land."
Where can people purchase a copy of "Promised Land"?
I prefer folks to buy it directly from me or from my website (peteralexander.us), but it's also available electronically at Amazon.com, CDbaby.com and other online retailers. The Music Center in Brunswick has it, as well as Bull Moose stores in Portland, Scarborough, Brunswick and Lewiston, and Dube's Music in Lisbon Falls.
What do you consider to be the primary themes of the album?
The joys and tribulations of love and attraction are dominant themes in "Promised Land," but there are healthy portions of introspection, anxiety and hope. Ultimately, the CD is a celebration, and it's my hope that the album leaves folks feeling really good. Based on the feedback I'm getting, it's working, and that makes me feel really good.
What did you grow up listening to?
I always loved The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Who, Cream and Jimi Hendrix. My first professional band performed a lot of Dylan, The Band and Grateful Dead covers. I was also exposed very early to the music of Ramblin' Jack Elliott. His performance style was a big influence on me.
What's one of the biggest ways the music biz has changed from your perspective over the past 30-plus years?
When I started playing professionally, it was a much smaller field of working musicians, and we were paid a lot more money. Now the market is so flooded that you've got to play a lot of free gigs to get any exposure at all, and unless you're a big-name act, it's hard to get much more than gas money. I'm exaggerating a bit, but the trend has been pretty clear. It's even worse in big cities like New York.
There also doesn't seem to be as much of a market for original material. There's such a huge repertoire of great rock 'n' roll everyone wants to hear, that most venue owners are only interested in cover bands. Also, the emergence of electronic media has turned the market on its head. We used to perform to promote album sales; now it's the opposite.
Staff Writer Aimsel Ponti can be contacted at 791-6455 or at: