Peter Alexander Band
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Peter Alexander Band

Bath, Maine, United States | SELF

Bath, Maine, United States | SELF
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter

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Dec
03
Peter Alexander Band @ Andy's Pub

Portland, Maine, USA

Portland, Maine, USA

Nov
05
Peter Alexander Band @ Andy's Pub

Portland, Maine, USA

Portland, Maine, USA

Oct
08
Peter Alexander Band @ Andy's Pub

Portland, Maine, USA

Portland, Maine, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


As a card-carrying recovering political professional, I'm mostly beyond the reach of premise envy. But Maine's twist on a national healthcare campaign leaves me green. I teared up watching the rough cut of the "Begging for Change" YouTube video, which shows images of the heart-breaking fundraising jars, cans and piggy banks. You read bits of the stories taped to the containers while listening to an original song, written and performed by Portland's own Peter Alexander. (Being a musician, of course, he's recovering from the fact that the current YouTube video leaves out his guitar bridge, which he assures me kicks butt.)

The song, which is not called the Health Care Talking Points Blues but should be, is a Woody Guthrie-ish tune blasting millionaire CEOs, mocking Congress for having its own public health care while "we go begging" and noting that countries with public health care spend one-third of what the U.S. spends. Alexander, a stable of Maine's singer-songwriter circuit, said he was asked by the SEIU to do the song on a Friday, wrote it mostly on Saturday, then recorded it Sunday. He said the current YouTube version is evolving. The bridge, he predicts, will make a comeback. "I'm going to add it to my repertoire," promised Alexander, adding that it's difficult to write politically focused songs because the messages overcome the artistry.

During a press conference earlier this week, those in attendance began to clap along with the Alexander song, and by mid-week campaign workers had the YouTube version active. (It's at ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nonFMjU-iU8) And Alexander will be performing the song live at Andy's Pub Thursday, June 25 and at the St. Lawrence Arts Center Friday, June 26. I have no idea, musically, when something is about to make the big-time. But I will bet, politically, you will soon see the "Begging for Change" going national.

(Curtis Robinson is editor of The Portland Daily Sun.)

- The Portland Daily Sun


As a card-carrying recovering political professional, I'm mostly beyond the reach of premise envy. But Maine's twist on a national healthcare campaign leaves me green. I teared up watching the rough cut of the "Begging for Change" YouTube video, which shows images of the heart-breaking fundraising jars, cans and piggy banks. You read bits of the stories taped to the containers while listening to an original song, written and performed by Portland's own Peter Alexander. (Being a musician, of course, he's recovering from the fact that the current YouTube video leaves out his guitar bridge, which he assures me kicks butt.)

The song, which is not called the Health Care Talking Points Blues but should be, is a Woody Guthrie-ish tune blasting millionaire CEOs, mocking Congress for having its own public health care while "we go begging" and noting that countries with public health care spend one-third of what the U.S. spends. Alexander, a stable of Maine's singer-songwriter circuit, said he was asked by the SEIU to do the song on a Friday, wrote it mostly on Saturday, then recorded it Sunday. He said the current YouTube version is evolving. The bridge, he predicts, will make a comeback. "I'm going to add it to my repertoire," promised Alexander, adding that it's difficult to write politically focused songs because the messages overcome the artistry.

During a press conference earlier this week, those in attendance began to clap along with the Alexander song, and by mid-week campaign workers had the YouTube version active. (It's at ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nonFMjU-iU8) And Alexander will be performing the song live at Andy's Pub Thursday, June 25 and at the St. Lawrence Arts Center Friday, June 26. I have no idea, musically, when something is about to make the big-time. But I will bet, politically, you will soon see the "Begging for Change" going national.

(Curtis Robinson is editor of The Portland Daily Sun.)

- The Portland Daily Sun


Peter Alexander’s writing is solid as a rock: very engaging melodies, the harmony structure is varied and interesting, and the lyrical content is vivid, narrative, and with great use of fresh ideas as hooks.

Peter is a very entertaining guitar player; he obviously knows how to play the instrument from a technical point of view, but his embellishments, runs between chords, and use of the entire fretboard bring his playing to the audience in a way that makes his performance doubly entertaining.

Peter’s stage presence and engagement of the audience display his professionalism, but he does all that in a way that is personal, earnest, and sincere.

Polly and I just thoroughly enjoyed Peter’s performance at the St. Lawrence (where he opened for Ramblin’ Jack Elliott), in all of these ways; we both thought his first song, about the coast of Maine, was fantastic, and it hit home with both of us, who, while not native Mainers, love this place with all our hearts...

Bob McKillop
President, Maine Songwriters’ Association
- Maine Songwriters' Association


Peter Alexander’s writing is solid as a rock: very engaging melodies, the harmony structure is varied and interesting, and the lyrical content is vivid, narrative, and with great use of fresh ideas as hooks.

Peter is a very entertaining guitar player; he obviously knows how to play the instrument from a technical point of view, but his embellishments, runs between chords, and use of the entire fretboard bring his playing to the audience in a way that makes his performance doubly entertaining.

Peter’s stage presence and engagement of the audience display his professionalism, but he does all that in a way that is personal, earnest, and sincere.

Polly and I just thoroughly enjoyed Peter’s performance at the St. Lawrence (where he opened for Ramblin’ Jack Elliott), in all of these ways; we both thought his first song, about the coast of Maine, was fantastic, and it hit home with both of us, who, while not native Mainers, love this place with all our hearts...

Bob McKillop
President, Maine Songwriters’ Association
- Maine Songwriters' Association


Discography

"In Between Blues" --CD, private label, 2007
"Promised Land" --CD, Sheep Island Publishing, 2012
"Sunlight on the Crystal Sea"--CD, Sheep Island Publishing, 2013

Photos

Bio

Peter Alexander is a well-known guitarist, songwriter and performer in the mid-coast region region of Maine, often appearing as a soloist with his 12-string guitar. In his band he is joined by Tom Masucci on drums, Sheldon Bird on bass, and Johannah Harkness on keyboards and percussion. All four band-members also sing, providing variety and some very rich harmonies. Alexander put the band together specifically to perform the material from his “Promised Land” CD, which is currently in contention for a Grammy nomination in numerous categories, including Best New Artist, Best Rock Album, Best American Roots Album, Best Packaging (all the photographs and artwork are by Johannah Harkness), and Best Engineering and Mastering—the album was recorded at Frog Hollow Studio in Brunswick with Jud Caswell at the controls.

“Promised Land” has already been getting strong reviews from voting members of The Recording Academy (organizer of the Grammies) like this one from New York pianist Kevin Mongelli: “Took a good listen to “Promised Land” and wow, am very impressed! Excellent variety on the album. Your music has great rhythm and your voice has incredible depth and character. My favorite is your title piece Promised Land. I also especially enjoyed Marilyn, Johnny D, and the instrumental piece Christina but truly the whole album is very well done. When closer to voting time, please remind me where to find you on the ballot.”

Alexander has served as president of the Maine Songwriters Association since 2009 and is the executive director of the Maine Alliance for Arts & Education, a Kennedy Center affiliate. He brings a lifetime of musical experience, starting with piano lessons at the age of four. He began singing professionally in the choir of the Washington National Cathedral at nine, and at ten he began lessons on classical guitar with Aaron Shearer of the Peabody Conservatory. “I loved classical guitar, but it was a bit of a ruse to provide cover for my real love: rock and roll,” says Alexander. “My parents were both concert musicians—my father played cello with the Baltimore Symphony—so my departure into folk and rock was frowned upon.”

Alexander formed his first rock band “Peter and the Wolves” in the 7th grade and went on to found Claude Jones, one of the DC area’s top bands, often sharing the stage with Chuck Berry, Poco, Nils Lofgren, The Animals, and many other iconic names in rock and roll. “That was a heady time,” he reminisces, “But I walked away from it when I got into yoga and meditation. The two lifestyles just weren’t compatible. But now I finally have a band that is even better, and we’re having an amazing time together.”

Each member of the group has an impressive musical resume. Tom Masucci is an accomplished drummer, originally from New York where he had a career with NBC News and played over the years with many R&B, Folk Rock, Bluegrass, and Rock bands—including Shawn Colvin. Tom and Peter met at an open mic in Bath and took an immediate liking for each other’s musical talents and styles. "Peter's music offers me the opportunity to play wonderful, original music for the first time since the mid 80's,” says Tom. “And what a great treat to accompany Sheldon Bird as rhythm section, with Johannah Harkness on vocals.”

Sheldon Bird is a Director of IT for the State of Maine, and a longtime resident of Bath. He has performed with many groups in the region, including Cowpie & the Buffalo Chips, Kathy Stebbins & Bait the Hook, Iron Bridge, and Private Idaho. In addition to being one of the state’s finest bass players he is also an accomplished singer, performing with the Portland Symphony Orchestra, Vox Nova, and the Choral Arts Camerata.

Johannah Harkness is a singer-songwriter in her own right. She makes her musical debut in Maine after performing with world beat bands in Austin, TX and Taos, NM. An accomplished artist, photographer and licensed psychotherapist, she provided much of the artistic direction for the “Promised Land” CD, including all the photography for the packaging. Her “Visions of Johannah” studio and gallery is a popular destination during the Bath Art Walk. The most recent member to join the band, her clear voice adds a unique dimension, and, increasingly, she takes the lead vocal part on many songs.