"King has brought a fresh approach to the city’s singer-songwriter scene, with an accessible style that encompasses blues, jazz and Brazilian rhythms." -- Beaver County Times
"A good example of the story within a song is "Connoisseur of Lawns." On first listen, it's a sweet tale about a man walking his dog late at night, but there's more going on." -- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Dancing on a Long Leash” further demonstrates guitarist and singer Peter King's knack for writing moody, melodic, intelligent tunes that venture into the crossroads where blues and jazz meet the singer-songwriter tradition.
The new CD follows the success of “The Road to Ubatuba,” which was named a “notable release” of 2006 by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The 12 songs on “Dancing on a Long Leash” range from the upbeat shuffle “That's My Girl” (written for the composer's wife) to the samba-influenced “Don't Play That Song” to a wistful, deliberately low-key version of Van Morrison's “Brown Eyed Girl.”
“Number One in Liechstentein” (humor alert!) tells the story of a delusional unknown who takes the stage at an open mic and proclaims his genius.
“Connoisseur of Lawns” contains the line “My best friend's dancing on his long leash, like I'm dancing on mine,” from which the CD takes its title. The song is about Oliver, the composer's black lab/golden retriever, but it's not a children's song – and it's not just about a dog.
"That song and the CD's title, 'Dancing on a Long Leash,' took shape on the many nights I would walk with Ollie through the streets of Aspinwall, O'Hara and Fox Chapel, just across the river from Pittsburgh" King says. "Walking your dog is ordinary, right? But on a quiet summer evening with a thousand stars in the sky, I felt a bittersweet magic in everything. I tried to express what is essentially inexpressible through music."
That magic was conjured up with the help of many of Pittsburgh's best musicians: harmonica ace Marc Reisman (Joe Grushecky, Ernie Hawkins, Bill Toms), clarinetist Lou Schreiber (Five Guys Named Moe), bassist Mark Perna (Leslie Smith, Don Aliquo Sr.), drummer Mark Weakland and percussionist Jeff Berman (both frequent guests with The Newlanders, whose Doug Wilkin co-produced “Long Leash”), singers Heather Kropf and Autumn Ayers and more.
“I've traveled enough to say with conviction that, for a relatively small city, Pittsburgh is bubbling over with good music in both the jazz, blues and singer-songwriter genres,” King remarks. “I'm fortunate to have been able to learn from and tap into that deep pool of Pittsburgh talent.”
“Dancing on a Long Leash” was unleashed with a CD release party featuring many guest artists at Pittsburgh's prestigious Club Cafe on Nov. 6.