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Music Preview: Folky singer-guitarist steps out with new 'Demo'

Friday, February 23, 2001

By John Hayes, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

For five years, the pop, folk and jazz music of the world funneled through Peter King. From 1987 to 1992, King was the chief pop music critic for The Pittsburgh Press. He remembers that time as a rich and vibrant learning experience that brought his simmering passion for music to a boil.

Peter King covers "Statesboro Blues" and "Early Morning Rain" on "Dig This Demo." (Andy Starnes, Post-Gazette)

Now a copy editor at the Post-Gazette, King moonlights at coffeehouses from Pittsburgh to his native Philadelphia with an eclectic set of arrangements. "Dig this Demo," his first self-released disc, reflects his penchant for retooling folky standards.

"[As a critic] I got to listen to a tremendous amount of music," says King. "There's so much stuff floating around from every corner of the world. ... Hopefully, you can incorporate a little of that into something that still sounds like you. The other thing about being a critic: I learned something about stage presence, which I find helpful."

After the Press closed, King returned to the guitar, studying full-time under Marty Ashby and Bill Purse at Duquesne University.

Peter King

WHERE: 7:30 p.m. tomorrow, Borders Books and Music, 200 Mall Blvd., Monroeville; and 7 p.m. March 9, Starbuck's, 425 Beaver Ave., Sewickley.


INFO: 412-374-9772.


At his solo coffeehouse gigs, King covers songwriters from James Taylor to Chris Smither and throws in a few originals. The CD swings from interpretations of "Jamaica Farewell" to Gordon Lightfoot's "Early Morning Rain" to a Smither-esque "Statesboro Blues," but includes only one instrumental original.

"I've done quite a bit of songwriting over the years and I'll probably do some more," he says. "But at the moment I'm emphasizing the other aspects of my creativity. ... I feel that I'm a guitarist and a singer, and I work on both of those crafts independent of the songwriting. As for the originals, wait for the next one."

"Dig this Demo" is available at King's performances, Paul's Records and Record Village.

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