“One of the very best performers in the field of English traditional song and music” (Steve Winick, Dirty Linen magazine)
Brian Peters grew up with parents who sang for fun, and fell in love with English folk music as a teenager: first with folk-rockers like Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span, then with soloists including Martin Carthy, Nic Jones and John Kirkpatrick, and soon after with real traditional singers such as the Copper Family (who later became good friends) and Walter Pardon.
Brian could never quite decide whether he wanted to be a ballad singer or an instrumentalist, so he's continued with both over many years, and has become a true all-rounder. He's a passionate singer who believes strongly in the power and relevance of the old songs, specializing particularly in the great ballads of the British Isles, rivetting stories in music. “Brian Peters plunges deep into the ancient songs, finds their power, mystery, evil, drollery and courage, and brings them to us fresh”, declared one American writer. His ballad singing has taken him to prestigious Summer Schools such as Augusta, Swannanoa and Pinewoods in the USA, the Celtic College in Ontario, the Baring-Gould Song School in Devon, England, and to the formidable company of Scottish singers at the Glasgow Ballad Workshop. His live presentation, 'Songs of Trial & Triumph', focusing on ballads from the Child collection, has won much acclaim. He has a particular skill in crafting song accompaniments on each of his instruments, giving a wide range of musical textures, and he’s not a traditional diehard, being happy to include modern songs of struggle or comedy alongside the old ones.
Brian is also a multi-instrumentalist, best known to many as a squeezebox virtuoso, and a skilled guitarist as well. He's acknowledged as one of England’s leading exponents of the anglo concertina and melodeon (button accordion) specializing in traditional Northern English dance music, which he's researched extensively to unearth tunes from centuries-old manuscripts. At the same time he's composed many new tunes in traditional style, several of them now being played in sessions across the world. He’s also known for daring forays into ragtime, blues and rock’n’roll on his squeezeboxes, making for a repertoire of sometimes startling variety.
Having started out in the folk clubs of England, which he still thinks can be the perfect venues for his kind of music, Brian has taken his performances to festival and concert stages all over the world, touring regularly in America, Europe and Australia. He's been described in the folk press as “one of British folk music’s finest ambassadors”.
Brian has made many recordings, from the concertina-centred Anglophilia to the ballad-themed Songs of Trial and Triumph, all of which have received a warm reception from reviewers. He’s also the accordion player heard regularly on the TV cartoon Spongebob Squarepants!