A Guitarist For All Seasons & All Music: Discover Peter Calo

Un-Block The Music has particular interest in Peter Calo. My fascination with guitars probably started with Joe Perry and my Aerosmith obsession when I was just a kid. That obsession continued with Bryan Adams, Richie Sambora and Zakk Wylde. Then, I worked for a guitarist who was my editor at In Tune Monthly Magazine, and from there I had the opportunity to write news for one of the top guitar manufacturers’ websites. That takes care of my obsession for guitars. Then, I found Peter Calo! Not only is he a phenomenal guitarist, but in addition to creating his own fabulous music, he is known for his work with Carly Simon, my all-time favorite female artist.

Fortunately, Un-Block The Music attended two shows Peter was involved with at the Schoolhouse Theater in Croton Falls, NY (a great little theater with history I will write about in an upcoming article, so stay tuned.)

So, who is Peter Calo? Where did he come from? He was a kid from Canada who moved to Boston and played in a funk band at 16 years old. “My music teacher asked me to join his funk and soul band called ‘Big D and the Marcels.’ I was 16, and they were around 30. The lead singer taught me how to funk with his body language. I loved playing with these guys.”

That was a little different for Peter who grew up idolizing Beethoven, Chopin, Tchaikovsky and Schubert. “My father loved classical music and would talk about the composers as gods. Then, there was my older brother, Andy, who turned me on to all the new pop music and then later on to jazz, folk, and progressive rock. Everything and anything. I loved it all. My first guitar was a classical guitar. In fact, I had to borrow an electric guitar to do my first gigs. I didn’t own an electric guitar or amp!”

Although Peter didn’t have traditional musical training in school, he went on the road at an early age and played with “older more educated players. But because of my love for music, I was constantly trying to teach myself. I practiced a lot and in different styles; classical, jazz, funk, blues and fingerpicking etc.”

Peter told me that his first interesting gig was when he was a featured singer and guitarist in the Bernstein “Mass”.  That’s Leonard Bernstein! “Mass” is a musical theatre work composed by Bernstein with text by Bernstein and additional text and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (“Godspell,” “Pippin,” “Wicked”). “It was the Boston premier and Maestro Bernstein was there. It was nice to hang with him for two weeks.”

From there, Peter played some informal gigs with blues and rock guitarist, Robben Ford. Then, he connected with “the lovely and talented Carly Simon. That was my first taste of top shelf touring. Guitar techs, private plays, meeting lots a famous folks and working with incredible musicians.”

Peter worked with Carly on several of her CDs. “It was a treat to work and write with Carly and Jimmy Webb for her release, ‘This Kind Of Love.’ I was the musical director of that project, and of her touring band.”

What about his own music? Peter released a CD last year, called “Time Machine.” “I was recording at Dreamland Recording, Jerry Marotta’s studio in Woodstock, NY. I asked if I could use the studio the next day to record my own songs and would he like to play. I had my friend, bassist, Pete Donovan come up to Woodstock and we played around eight songs. That was the beginning of ‘Time Machine’. My friend John Hegner mixed the CD and Masterdisks’ Scott Hull mastered the project.”  “Time Machine” is available at www.PeterCalo.com, cdbaby, iTunes and Amazon.com.

Coming out soon will be Peter’s next CD which is a collection of acoustic guitar pieces recorded by Scott Hull. But, if you can’t wait until then to hear Peter, he will be playing at Tarrytown Music Hall on April 5 with Clare Maloney. And, check out his website for other dates as well.



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