Peter Judd
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Peter Judd


Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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"Peter Judd opens for Fred Eaglesmith"


By Robert Reid
Record staff
WATERLOO -- It always feels like home when Fred Eaglesmith performs in concert in Waterloo Region.

His solo appearance at the Princess Cinema last night was no exception.

Wearing a big, white, straw stetson, the affable roots artist repeatedly mentioned how delighted he was to be back in southwestern Ontario after spending 71 consecutive days touring Holland , Belgium and Britain .

Eaglesmith is often labeled an alt-country artist, but when he performs solo there’s no doubt he’s a folksinger in the tradition of Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly or early Tom Waits and acoustic Bruce Springsteen.

Moreover, his songwriting makes him worthy of such esteemed company.

He took the stage immediately after opener Peter Judd delivered five songs over 25 minutes.

With a nod from the headliner, Judd returned for an encore after receiving robust applause from the capacity crowd.

Then Eaglesmith negotiated his way through an uninterrupted, 95-minute set featuring 14 songs.

“Some people still have jobs,” he quipped, aware of performing on a week night.

He concluded with a two-song encore including an old favorite, Oxford County Line, and Willie P. Bennett’s Country Squall, which he introduced by saying, “here’s one by my old pal.”

Eaglesmith switched guitars between a vintage hollow body electric and a 1931 National Steel he picked up at an auction in Delhi , Ont., not too far from where he lives in rural Norfolk County .

The National Steel was suited particularly well for the material he offered from Tinderbox, his 17th release which should top numerous year-end roots music polls.

A concert highlight was Quietly, one of his patented, stop-dead heartbreakers.

Although the album is his latest release, he drew songs that spanned his career including 18 Wheels, Her Heart or Mine, I Still Look for You in Crowds, Wilder Than Her, Cumberland County, 49 Tons, Small Motors, Rodeo Boy, Codeine, Pontiac, and Sharecroppin’.

An Eaglesmith concert unfolds like train tracks.

One track consists of songs that give eloquent expression to hardscrabble lives of desperation.

The other track consists of witty goading and jokes that both contrast with and complement the songs.

He poked his pointed stick at the shenanigans on Parliament Hill, the war in Afghanistan and the perils of globalization.

After years of struggle and neglect, Eaglesmith is now acknowledged as a national treasure.

But you have to see him live to appreciate the full extent of his art -- his masterful songwriting, his raw, gravelly voice that scrapes emotion to the bone and his unique stage presence.

All but one of Judd’s songs were drawn from his debut release Ink Stains including Cigarette, How to Build a Wall, Rosita and Again and Again.

After playing the bars for decade, the Waterloo singer/songwriter confirmed he’s ready to take on the concert halls.
- K-W Record

"Peter Judd gets a lift from 'The Eagle'"

Robert Reid


You've got to admire a songwriter who compares a woman to a cigarette -- as a compliment.

As unlikely as it seems, that's what Waterloo singer-songwriter Peter Judd does in his song Cigarette, the opening track on his recording debut Ink Stains.

If you were a cigarette

You'd be a Players Plain

I'd miss my bus again

Just to smoke you in the rain

Judd is the first to admit it's not James Taylor or Paul Simon. But it does have a slice-of-life, blue-collar charm that has become his trademark.

It's the kind of song that has gained him fans in bars and taverns throughout this part of Ontario for most of the last decade.

He hopes it also demonstrates the songwriting skills that will help him transition from bar circuit to festival and concert circuit.

He's landed a couple of festival slots, including Summerfolk, and he's excited about opening for Fred Eaglesmith when the celebrated Canadian roots artist performs a solo concert tonight at the Princess Cinema.

"Hopefully the gig will take me to the next step," Judd says.

He views Eaglesmith as a creative comrade in arms.

"We're similar storytellers in song."

Judd recorded Ink Stains in 2006 at well-known roots artist Dave Teichrob's home studio in Guelph.

"I went over to Dave's house for an hour a week and after 12 weeks we had the album," he explains. "I'd like to do it again, but Dave has moved to the West Coast."

Judd has written enough material for another album, but has no immediate plans to record.

Meanwhile, he takes solace in what some established roots artists have said about his work.

"Peter has a command of the stage," says Richard Knechtel, a veteran folksinger who doubles as artistic director of Summerfolk. "With his charming songs, self-effacing humour and great chops, he knows how to entertain."

Adds Rob Ritchie, of Tanglefoot: "At first I just saw another man and his guitar . . . Before (Peter) had finished even a verse that man with a guitar had filled the stage with infectious personality."

Finally, guitar whiz Wendell Ferguson says: "Be it hilarious knee-slapping songs or heartfelt tearjerkers, Peter's music is always listenable."

In contrast, Eaglesmith needs no introduction.

He has been appearing in Waterloo Region for years and has a legion of loyal fans -- sometimes referred to as Fredheads.

He comes equipped with material from Tinderbox, which even by his usual high standards is a masterwork.

It's also the last album Eaglesmith's longtime musical sidekick Willie P. Bennett worked on before he died of a heart attack last February, a few days prior to appearing at the Princess.

"Willie's singing from the gate," Eaglesmith said in an interview last June.


Peter Judd

Opening for Fred Eaglesmith

Princess Cinema, tonight, 8 p.m.

Tickets: Sold out; 519-880-9595
- Rob Reid K-W Record


2006: Full length (11 track) indie release of "Ink Stains", recorded at , engineered and co-produced by Dave Teichroeb.



Peter Judd :Larger than Life! smaller than a fridge. Peter Judd's meticulous songwriting craftsmanship,comedic timing and commanding vocals - often compared to Johnny Cash- distinguish him from other Canadian solo artists mining a similar vein. With his debut CD "Ink Stains" he joins the short list of storytellers taking ordinary lives and turning them into memorable songs like his OCFF award winning " How to Build a Wall." "When Jory Nash phoned to tell me it won in the humour category I thought to myself- 'how nice...' people find humour in my depression. Golly. Thanks."It's this kind of self depreciating, tongue in cheek riffing that's winning over audiences at concert halls,festivals and pretty much anywhere that this emerging artist needs to play to earn a living doing what he loves. Having gained invaluable wisdom during his travels -mostly not what NOT to do- he eagerly shares it wherever he goes. "never attempt levity in an Oktoberfest hall with the words: 'so THIS is what the world would look like if Hitler had won the war.'"But thankfully with experience comes the wisdom to know the right things to say like he did recently after receiving an ovation in front of 200 "Fred Heads..." "Before I go I'd like to thank Fred Eaglesmith for graciously agreeing to be the closing act for my first sold-out concert performance."