Peter is an award-winning songwriter, a virtuouso on acoustic, electric and 12-string guitars and plays in a variety of styles from classical to country blues to rock. He is a consumate entertainer with an amazing tenor voice that is both emotive and versatile, equally at home on English Madrigals, American Roots, or Rock ‘n Roll. Peter has shared the stage with many of the greatest names in folk, rock and classical music.
Peter served for four years as president of the Maine Songwriters Association and is well known in midcoast Maine, both as a muscian and as the music columnist for the Coastal Journal. Peter’s song “Vicksburg,” which is featured on Hollowbody Electric Band’s “Prickly Stickers” CD, was the winner of the 2014 Maine Songwriting Contest.
Although Peter Alexander continues to perform as a soloist, most of his time and energy these days is going to his “Hollowbody Electric Band.” Hollowbody Electric Band features original songs written by both Peter and Johannah Harkness, who bring very different, but complementary influences to their work. Peter’s musical tastes ranges from Lead Belly to Jimi Hendrix, and from John Lennon to the Rolling Stones, with influences from The Who, Tom Petty, The Beatles, and many others from the classic period of folk and rock music. Johannah is heavily influenced by Kate Bush, Annie Lennox, Grace Slick, and other iconic women of rock and roll.
Hollowbody Electric Band was originally put together to perform a series of CD release parties for Peter’s solo album, Promised Land (released in October 2012), and has quickly expanded its repertoire and gained a reputation for creativity, musicianship, and fun, high energy concert performances. Drummer Tom Masucci and bassist Sheldon Bird add vocals to create rich three and four part harmonies and a wide range of textures to the group’s sound.
This is one band that is not afraid to take on social and political causes. Alexander has gained prominence as the author and performer of “Begging for Change—The Healthcare Blues,” which Amy Goodman has featured numerous times on her nationally-syndicated Democracy Now television and radio program. His We’ve Got to Change This World has been adopted by many in the Occupy Wall Street movement as an anthem celebrating the “Ninety-nine Percent.”
Hollowbody Electric’s upcoming CD, currently being recorded at Frog Hollow Studios in Brunswick, will feature several other songs with strong social justice messages. “We’re living in challenging times,” says Alexander, “And we can’t turn our backs on all the troubles this world is facing. We would like our music to be a part of the soundtrack for a better world.”
Here’s what Antion Meredith, former lead guitarist for the Animals had to say about “Promised Land”:
“Peter Alexander’s “Promised Land” is an exuberant, rockin’ collection of his own compositions presented with a heavy helping of guitars, both acoustic and electric. Opening with a powerful invitation to party (Promised Land), Peter takes us through many moods, touching on family feuds (Red Dirt Town), deep introspection (In The Quiet) and even a gently, bluesy instrumental (Christina). I’m delighted to see that Peter has accessed his inner Rock and Roll Wildman.”
Peter talks about his own musical background:
“Music has been central to several generations of my family, and I’ve been at it since I was 4 years old when I started learning piano with my mother, who was an excellent pianist and teacher. I started as a choirboy at Washington National Cathedral when I was 8, began classical guitar at 10, and a few days later started playing folk and rock and writing my own songs. In junior high I had a terrible band with a great name (Peter and the Wolves), and in high school had a really good band with a lame name (The Fringe). I went on to form Claude Jones, arguably Washington, DC’s best band (check out www.claudejonesarchive.org). We shared the stage with some amazing musicians, from Tim Hardin to Chuck Berry and Poco. Getting into the 1980’s I played mostly solo, inspired greatly by Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. In about 2002 my songwriting started taking off in new directions and has led to the recording of ‘Promised Land’ and the wonderful pleasures of playing and performing with Johannah, Dave and Sheldon in Hollowbody Electric Band, releasing our “Prickly Stickers” CD in September 2015, and working now on a new CD (a rock opera about a trip to Mars).
Special thanks to Johannah Harkness for her great photography.