Creating an original point of view with his music and lyrics, Brian Peterson brings together a unique mixture of influences. Over the years, Brian has always been at home with many styles of music.
Original music was the motivation for Brian to organize rock bands when he was still in high school. Music from the Beatles, the Eagles and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young was a big influence for him. In learning songs from these groups, he was able to study the form and structure that make up a good song. There was a gap of several years between Brian's first efforts at songwriting and when he resumed again in the mid-nineties.
Playing electric guitar and singing, he performed for years with dance bands throughout the Midwest. These bands, usually playing for parties and receptions, could play rock 'n roll, country western, old time - polka music and everything in between for dancing. "Dancers have a way of giving energy back to musicians," explains Brian. "I have always enjoyed playing for dancing."
There are more places Brian has shared his music. Playing as a singer-songwriter for coffeehouses and colleges has been very satisfying. There will always be the kind of listener who really cares about the lyrics. Words are a special passion for Brian. Earning a B.A. degree in Journalism at the University of Minnesota took him on a career path that has always involved working with words. He is fond of great writing in novels, poetry, drama and works of non-fiction. "It's funny, but I really enjoy reading the ideas of op-ed writers in the papers," he says. "People like George Will, Molly Ivins and Art Buchwald can be tremendously stimulating for a songwriter. These are writers who care deeply about how they put words together to express their thoughts. I enjoy seeing a great movie as well. The screenwriters must have a passion for a concise, clear way of expressing feelings in words, and a good actors' reading of the lines often demonstrates a jazz-like instinct for timing, dynamics and emphasis."
Dixieland jazz, the kind of music so dear to moviemaker Woody Allen, is another favorite of Brian's. He has played banjo with an assortment of dixieland musicians through the years. Jazz players have been some of his closest friends and deepest influences. Banjo music is typically so upbeat, so happy. As comedian Steve Martin observed, it's hard to imagine a sad, depressing song played on a banjo.
Folk music has been alive and well in the Twin Cities for years, and Brian has participated with many acoustic folk artists. Most notably, the Homestead Pickin' Parlor, Song Circle and the Gingko Coffeehouse are places that he likes to attend open stages and folk jams.
Finally, Brian enjoys sharing his music with others at church. The essential meaning of music relates to mankind's deepest spiritual longings and hopes. What better place to play and sing than in the house of God? People familiar with Brian's music know that many of his lyrics express his relationship with God. He continues to write songs of inspiration, hope and above all, humor. "Most of my songs are in a major key," observes Brian. "They're upbeat and happy . . . that's the kind of song I naturally want to write."
There's lots more music to play, lots more to hear. We hope you'll enjoy the music Brian Peterson has to share with you.