Peter May
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Peter May

Band Americana Blues

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Sep
29
Peter May @ Tate Street Festival / UNC-G

Greensboro, North Carolina, USA

Greensboro, North Carolina, USA

Sep
08
Peter May @ The Garage

Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA

Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA

Aug
26
Peter May @ Rubber Soul Music Bar

Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA

Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
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Music

Press


North Carolina can take pride in homeboys Peter May & Terraplane. On Straight Drive (self-release), they bring to life a batch of Delta blues from William Harris (a scorching “Bullfrog Blues”), Sleepy John Estes (Diving Duck Blues), Charley Patton, Blind Boy Fuller, and more. It sounds in-the-moment and unfussed over – just great players performing great songs. May’s guitar playing is transcendent. Not to be missed.

- Blues Revue Magazine


**** Raw. That's the way you can describe Peter May's second blues-related release, ``Straight Drive.'' May's bassist, Bobby Kelly, admits he went ``a bit crazy.'' He mixed their 11-song CD using cheap analog gear to come up with a recording that sounds as gritty and authentic as a Mississippi juke joint. May will roll out ``Straight Drive'' in a series of CD release parties next week: May 14, Ham's on Friendly Avenue; May 17, Summer on Trade in downtown Winston-Salem; and May 18, Red Lion Blues and Jazz Club in High Point. He'll introduce a CD that's not as raucous as his first blues-related release, ``Black Coffee Blues,'' which May recorded with his electric band, the Rough Band. For ``Straight Drive,'' May brought in his acoustic group, Terraplane - Kelly on bass and Mike Wesolowski on harmonica - to capture a recording that's back-porch subdued. May picks his National guitar like some jazz-cat drummer as Wesolowski's harp dances around May's playing and Kelly holds down the bottom with an acoustic bass. May recorded tunes from Blind Boy Fuller, the Rev. Gary Davis and May's mentor, Charley Patton, and cut them live on a 16-track digital recorder in his living room. The one omission? Engineer John Pfiffner edited out his yelling to May's four girls - ages 7 to 14 - camped out in the next room during one take. ``Girls, sssh!'' Pfiffner said. Other than that, everything is all here. - Jeri Rowe - Greensboro News and Record


TRIAD BLUESMAN'S NEW TRIO GOES STRAIGHT TO THE HEART IT'S REAL Publication: Winston-Salem Journal Byline: Ed Bumgardner, JOURNAL ARTS REPORTER Date: Friday, May 16, 2003 Edition: METRO Section: Features Column: Spins Peter May & Terraplane, Straight Drive, This Collection Records. * * * * (out of four). Peter May has become a fixture in the Triad blues scene, the local equivalent of a Mississippi Delta bluesman, with all the baggage that accompanies that description. May is a bluesman to the depths of his soul, a true student and disciple of the form. But his blues come in many different shades. There's his more eclectic and electric side of blues heard with his Rough Band. There are May's solo shows, in which his acoustic performances of 60-year-old blues songs boast a haunted authenticity that, though firmly devout, still manages to put his stamp on every song. And there is his work with Terraplane, the trio he formed with acoustic bassist Bobby Kelly and the ubiquitous blues-harmonica player Mike "Weso" Wesolowski. Straight Drive is May's first recording with Terraplane, and his second disc devoted to blues music (the excellent Black Coffee Blues was his blues debut). Black Coffee Blues mixed traditional songs with May's own hard- scrabble work. By comparison, Straight Drive, produced by John Pfiffner and recorded in May's living room, finds May and band interpreting tunes by such revered bluesmen from the 1920s and '30s as Rev. Gary Davis, Sleepy John Estes, Tommy McClennan and Charlie Patton, probably the single greatest influence on May (as well as a wealth of other bluesmen). Few of these songs were ever done with a band - or if they were, they were drastically taken away from their original raw sound. Not so on Straight Drive. May's interpretation of "Banks of the River," an acoustic spiritual by Davis, captures the immediacy of the to-the-bone spirituality of the original, even as Wesolowski's harmonica shadings add fresh dimension to an otherwise straightforward reading. Kelly's bass playing throughout is a pleasure, a portrait of economical and unobtrusive playing that helps propel up-tempo juke blues without weighing it down. May remains in fine fettle, playing acoustic guitar and mandolin with the authority and skill that comes from a true understanding of not only the Delta form but also of the life and mythology that informs the music. He is a naturally great singer, experience and ease taking the place of imitation; where lesser blues singers struggle to emulate the sound of a 70-year-old black bluesman, May does so without effort. To that end, Terraplane's performances of such songs as "Diving Duck Blues," the stirring "I Shall Not Be Moved" (recorded with Logie Meachum), "Shake 'Em On Down" and "Step It Up and Go" - will stand with, if not eclipse, any recording other than the originals. Straight Drive was recorded in a manner that sounds like it was captured under a full moon in a Mississippi juke in full swing. As such, it adds to an amazing package of unpretentious and darn-near perfect country blues that honors the root, even as it inches toward a fresh route or two.

- Winston-Salem Journal


Reviewer: Bill Moore, ESP Magazine
PETER MAY & TERRAPLANE CD: THE FLESH AND THE SPIRIT By Bill Moore "It felt like the roof was going to blow off-it made you feel like you were floating-it took you somewhere else," blues artist Peter May explained recently about his earliest musical experiences at Trinity Moravian Church in Winston-Salem. "I still look for that…to hide in, or to let it wash over you," he continued during a conversation about his music at his home recording studio near Clemmons. May--who gave up majoring in music for English, when he had trouble with ear training at UNCG-is passionately spiritual about the blues. He has been exploring the complex emotional terrain of human existence, stretched between the dirt of the earth and the purity of the heavens, in live and recorded music for the majority of his 38 years. As a boy he sang in the Moravian choir and played French horn in the Moravian band on street corners for Easter. His father, the Rev. Henry E. May, played some guitar-as did May's brothers. May took up guitar in his teens, and soon he was admiring Led Zeppelin and playing rock 'n' roll. In college, he played blues with The Creeping Gizroids, and after graduation he and a bunch of talented Winston-Salem musicians started the rock band Worried Sick, playing around the Piedmont and making CD's. In 1996 Worried Sick, with May among others on vocals and guitar, came out with its last CD, "It Rained Fire Today," an accomplished, Stonesy array of thoughtful songs; but by early 1998 May had transitioned away from the band into an independent career in blues. He had read a biography of the Mississippi legend Skip James and had seen himself-like James the musical son of a minister--in the hard-living religious bluesman's image. May realized he had to try the blues on his own. "If it wasn't blues guitar, it felt like it wasn't worth listening to," said May of his transformation, leaning back in the studio control room, sporting a red and white "Worried Sick" T-shirt. He got deeply into the music, playing the guitar the classic way with his fingers, and studying the moving, complex lyrics of Robert Johnson and Charlie Patton. Soon, for May, it was all about blues-and gospel music. "I have this feeling that the blues is a way of speaking to God," explains May, rolling a home-made cigarette. For him, gospel music expresses the human aspiration for a better life--while the blues expresses life here and now, with its imperfections and struggles and prayers. After some serious wood-shedding--and lessons with Boston's folk blues guru Paul Rishell, courtesy of a Forsyth County Arts council Emerging Artist grant--May started playing solo in clubs and restaurants. But soon experienced musicians were asking to back him up. The Rough Band, including guitarist Sam Moss and a raft of Winston-Salem musical luminaries, sprang up playing mostly original May and Darrell Blackburn blues songs. May's 2000 CD "Black Coffee Blues"-an earthy, rocking electric blues romp seasoned with a moving gospel song--used the Rough Band extensively. Then the band Terraplane-the name alludes to a raunchy Robert Johnson song-arose with Winston-Salem's Mike Wesolowski on harmonica and Greensboro's Bobby Kelly on upright bass. The focus of Peter May & Terraplane is traditional acoustic blues mainly and gospel, from Charley Patton and Sleepy John Estes to the Reverend Gary Davis, as the newly released CD "Straight Drive" reveals. "Straight Drive"-recorded mostly live in May's paneled living room late at night, before he built the home studio in his garage with a State of North Carolina Artist Fellowship grant-is a feast of varied tones and emotions, featuring May's rough, sincere vocals and powerful '34 National resonator guitar, along with Wesolowski's wailing harp and Kelly's solid bass thump. The CD will be released this *Wednesday in Greensboro, Saturday in Winston-Salem, and Sunday in High Point. May hopes to make another blues CD with The Rough Band soon--and another Terraplane CD, with mostly gospel songs, when he can. He's been reading up on his spiritual southern roots in "The Christ Haunted Landscape: Faith and Doubt in Southern Fiction"-but under the tissue box in the bathroom, near the kitchen in his house, is another book, "The Devil's Music: A History of the Blues."
- ESP Magazine


Discography

Black Coffee Blues CD - Peter May w/the Rough Band and Terraplane.
Straight Drive CD - Peter May and Terraplane
RootWork - Peter May, Mike Wesolowski & BWO. Sountrack from The Root Doctor movie.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

PETER MAY: THE FLESH AND THE SPIRIT

Peter May has become a fixture in the blues scene, the equivalent of a Mississippi Delta bluesman, with all the baggage that accompanies that description.
- Ed Bumgardner

“It felt like the roof was going to blow off - it made you feel like you were floating - it took you somewhere else,” blues artist Peter May explained recently about his earliest musical experiences at Trinity Moravian Church in Winston-Salem. “I still look for that…to hide in, or to let it wash over you,” he continued during a conversation about his music at his home recording studio near Clemmons. May—who gave up majoring in music for English, when he had trouble with ear training at UNCG-is passionately spiritual about the blues. He has been exploring the complex emotional terrain of human existence, stretched between the dirt of the earth and the purity of the heavens, in live and recorded music for the majority of his 38 years.
As a boy he sang in the Moravian choir and played French horn in the Moravian band on street corners for Easter. His father, the Rev. Henry E. May, Jr. played some guitar-as did May’s brothers. May took up guitar in his teens, and soon he was admiring Led Zeppelin and playing rock ‘n’ roll. In college, he played blues with The Creeping Gizroids, and after graduation he and a bunch of talented Winston-Salem musicians started the rock band Worried Sick, playing around the Piedmont and making CD’s. In 1996 Worried Sick, with May among others on vocals and guitar, came out with its last CD, “It Rained Fire Today,” was an accomplished, Stonesy array of thoughtful songs.
By early 1998 May had transitioned away from the band into an independent career in blues. He had read a biography of the Mississippi legend Skip James and had seen himself-like James the musical son of a minister—in the hard-living religious bluesman’s image. May realized he had to try the blues on his own. He dove in with vigor. “For a while, If it wasn’t blues guitar, it felt like it wasn’t worth listening to,” said May of his transformation, leaning back in the studio control room, sporting a red and white “Worried Sick” T-shirt. He got deeply into the music, playing the guitar the classic way with his fingers, and studying the moving, complex lyrics of Robert Johnson and Charlie Patton. Soon, for May, it was all about blues-and gospel music. “I think that the blues is a way of speaking to God,” explains May. For him, gospel music expresses the human aspiration for a better life—while the blues expresses life here and now, with its imperfections and struggles and prayers. After some serious wood-shedding—and lessons with Boston’s folk blues guru Paul Rishell, courtesy of a Forsyth County Arts council Emerging Artist grant—May started playing solo in clubs and restaurants. These exclusively solo shows continued for two years. May and a band of acoustic blues purists including: Jim McCollum, Ira DeCoven, and Allin Cottrell played at every opportunity in songwriter type circles.
Eventually, May became interested in his electric guitar again. He soon found musicians from Winston-Salem’s upper class interested The Rough Band, including guitarist Sam Moss, bassist Henry Heidtmann, pedal-steel guitarist Rick Nathy and drummer Jay Johnson was formed. The Rough Band began playing locally and focusing on original May and Darrell Blackburn blues songs. May’s 2000 CD “Black Coffee Blues”-an earthy, rocking electric blues romp seasoned with a moving gospel song—used the Rough Band extensively.
The band Peter May & Terraplane-the name alludes to a Robert Johnson song-arose with Winston-Salem’s Mike Wesolowski on harmonica and Greensboro’s Bobby Kelly on upright bass. The focus of Peter May & Terraplane is traditional acoustic blues and gospel, from Charley Patton and Sleepy John Estes to the Reverend Gary Davis, as the newly released CD “Straight Drive” reveals. “Straight Drive”-recorded mostly live in May’s paneled living room late at night, before he built the home studio in his garage with a State of North Carolina Artist Fellowship grant-is a feast of varied tones and emotions, featuring May’s rough, sincere vocals and powerful ‘34 National resonator guitar, along with Wesolowski’s wailing harp and Kelly’s solid bass thump.
May has been reading up on his spiritual southern roots in “The Christ Haunted Landscape: Faith and Doubt in Southern Fiction”-but under the tissue box in the bathroom, near the kitchen in his house, is another book, “The Devil’s Music: A History of the Blues.”
- Bill Moore