Peter Alexander’s song “Vicksburg,” about his great-great grandfather, the Reverend Eben Blachly, was winner of the 2014 Maine Songwriting Contest. It tells the story of Rev. Blachly’s run-in with a group of Confederate soldiers at the end of the Civil War when he rode down south from Wisconsin looking for his son, a Union soldier who had been captured and was wasting away in a military prison. The experience Blachly endured changed his life forever, and he was so moved by it that he sold his Wisconsin Farm, bought land outside Kansas City, KS, and founded the first university west of the Mississippi for former slaves and displaced Native Americans. Peter is a fine storyteller, both in song and on stage, and coupled with his quiet virtuosity on the guitar, his strong tenor voice, and a wagonload of original and cover songs, he is an engaging entertainer. Peter also performs with his Hollowbody Electric Band, which features his wife Johannah Harkness. It is a rich musical partnership, for Johannah is, if anything, an even better songwriter than Peter, and the addition of her voice, keyboards, and occasional turn at the ukelele make Hollowbody Electric Band both versatile and eclectic. You can learn more about the band at www.hollowbody.us
Here are a few samples of their music:
Peter’s song “Begging for Change–the Heath Care Blues”, written in 2009 at the request of SEIU for their campaign for universal healthcare, has been featured several times on Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now program, most recently at the end of January, prompting an article about the song and its history in the Portland Daily Sun.
Peter also recently performed a solo concert as part of the 200th anniversary celebrations of Phippsburg, garnering this review: “Peter is a natural performer – a fine musician and singer, not to mention a gifted storyteller. He had the audience exactly where he wanted them.” – The Community Concert Series at Phippsburg Congregational Church
And here’s an excerpt from an article in the Brunswick Times Record:
“Alexander is well known as a solo performer and songwriter and is often featured at public events and on local television and radio shows around Maine. Many of his original songs are about the coast of Maine where he spends as much time on the water as he can. Over his long musical career he has shared the stage with many of the greatest names in folk and rock music, including Chuck Berry, Tim Hardin, Poco, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, and members of the Animals, Phish, The E Street Band, and others. Peter is highly regarded for his ability on the 12-string guitar and his versatile and emotive vocals. He has served since 2009 as president of the Maine Songwriters Association and when not playing music works as Executive Director of the Maine Alliance for Arts & Education.
“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 is 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. Drummer Tom Masucci is not alone in appreciating Sheldon’s talents. “His playing is superb,” said Alexander, “He’s the one I’ve been waiting for since moving back to Maine in 2008.”
“Johannah Harkness is a singer-songwriter in her own right, making her musical debut in Maine after performing with world beat bands in Austin, TX and Taos, NM. An accomplished artist, photographer and licensed psychotherapist, Johannah Harkness provided much of the artistic direction for the “Promised Land” CD, including all the photo art for the CD cover.”
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Peter’s acoustic CD “Sunlight on the Crystal Sea — Songs from the coast of Maine” is now available. This is a re-mastered and renamed version of “In Between Blues” which has been selling consistently well for a couple of years at the Center for Maine Crafts. If you’d like a copy you can order here for just $10 including shipping (US only). This CD contains acoustic versions of a few of the same songs that are on Promised Land, but also about a dozen others like “Red Bird”, “She’s So Good to Me”, “Dancing All the Time” and a rocking version of “We’ve Got to Change This World”. For international purchases ($15 includes shipping) please click here:
Peter’s new CD “Promised Land” has been getting good critical acclaim. Recorded at Jud Caswell’s Frog Hollow Studio in Brunswick, it is full of some of Peter’s best songs, like “While We Were Dreaming”, “Promised Land” and “Fade Away.” Buy it here for $10 plus shipping
Read this excellent review from the Portland Press Herald.
We are organizing a series of concerts and other events to promote the CD, so please take a minute to check out the performance schedule and sign up for updates.