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Peter was featured in our very first country edition of Jan.-Mar. 1997. It was time for a follow-up article and it was my good fortune to receive the assignment. Peter has to be one the nicest and most humble people I have ever spoken with. His first meeting with fame has sure not altered his ego by any means.
by Tom DeMann
Peter's musical interest began when he sang in the school choir. As he got older his interests turned to rock and roll to the dismay of his family. He did, however, play at parties and weddings with a band he was in. The band even made it as far as to being in a music publisher's office in L.A. However, something just didn't go right between the two. He eventually gave up music between 1981 and 1994, only occasionally picking up his guitar and playing a few tunes. It was his wife who encouraged him to get involved once again. (Thank you. Sheri!)
Peter never was a fan of country, but when he wrote his first set of lyrics, "It Only Takes a Moment," it somehow had a country flair to it. What followed was an 11 song CD titled That's What Living's For.
Peter doesn't sing in a band currently. Friends and studio musicians accompanied him on his CD. He was to solo at this point in time. There is a possibility of another CD in the very near future.
Recently, an independent label in Canada has contacted Peter with an interest. But our singer was most excited that he will be signing a contract with a national promotional company (should have been in early July). This may open doors to videos, commercials, etc.
I was most impressed with the answer I received when I asked Peter of his goals. I expected to hear "Oh, to have Garth open for me one day." Instead the answer was: "I want to give my family the best life I can give them." He also wants to share his music with everyone who wants to listen to his music.
Anyone wishing to contact Peter can contact him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org Peter also has a website --- http://www.peter-britt.com
Peter, my sincere best wishes. You deserve it.
Finally, how 'bout I approach you from an entirely different angle? It should come across rather clearly that my personal tastes lean towards, well, rock. Pop, yeah, rock, yeah, plus, a little research will show you that I cut my teeth on early 80's hardcore; I'll go toe-to-toe with any of you on Kiss trivia, and my collection of glam rock video is unparalleled. Realistically, I do pride myself on having a very diverse set of musical interests, but just like everyone else out there, I definitely have "my thing." >From a business standpoint, so does everyone else out there who might be listening to your tapes, which is why it's important to do your research before you start shotgunning your tapes to everyone's name on an "a&r tipsheet" you might have access to - do you really think the r&b and country reps need to hear your thrash metal combo? However, for the purposes of this column, these rules do not apply, and we're happily accepting all genres and doing our best to give you the tools to, well, "get signed." Personally, I simply don't feel qualified to make much of a musical judgment call when it comes to world-beat, country, etc. - But let's face it, the ingredients that go into a successful presentation of musical talent are pretty close to universal. With all of this in mind, let's tackle this cd of "East Coast Country/Rock with Peter Britt," shall we?
Peter sent along his press kit, photo, and cd - No filler, no gimmicks, and I have to comment on the press kit right away; probably not the kind of press kit that would work for 22-year-old arena rock hopefuls, but I wish everyone could have their act as together as this guy. Instead of a "hype sheet," with critical raves from small-town newspapers or some such non-impressive stuff, Mr. Britt's sheet is full of useful and interesting facts that any publicity-type could easily build a story around. I now know that Peter Britt wouldn't mind spending an evening barbecuing a steak, watching "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," and listening to Chet Atkins - maybe play with his kids, reminisce with his wife Sheri Lynn... Again, a good part of this press kit reads more like a resume, but for someone legitimately shopping themselves as a solo songwriter, this really does the trick - It gets across a real sense of charisma, who this person really is, something to relate to, and a reason to like him. Simply put, even though his music-biz achievements are clearly listed (feature articles, chart action, live showcases, etc.), it's all presented in a likable, professional manner, no overt hype - for once, I'm at a loss to find anything here to tear apart. It's nicely done, no fancy typefaces, a two-page presentation with all of the character elements, musical background, a brief personal statement - I honestly have everything in front of me I need, and even though it's clear that this project is being shopped without the benefit of any real management or legal representation, I am completely confident in Mr.Britt's sincerity and professionalism. So, dare I throw in the disc?
Given my disclaimer above, you know that I don't at all feel comfortable passing off my opinions on country music as anything more than just that - I can only tell you that frankly, a lot of "country" sounds the same to me, and plenty of the whole genre just plain gets on my nerves. At the same time, though, I can't deny the coolness of Buck Owens, or that the sound of a well-played pedal steel guitar is about the coolest damn thing in the world. As for Peter Britt, I've gotta say he's wearing just a little bit of Buck on his sleeve, track six threw a killer pedal steel at me, and he has a good, strong voice that's devoid of any heavy southern drawl (and, yeah, I think that's a plus, IMHO) - The man has listened to some Dee-Wight Yoakam, for sure, I didn't flinch once during an entire play of the disc (even a repeat of "What's Living For?" with that nifty pedal steel), and I'm sure that if I had any serious connections to the country world I'd hand them this cd in a heartbeat. I don't want to sell Peter Britt short, either, as I do think that even my non-country-friendly can spot a clunker across just about any genre - and this is far from it. Nicely done, all around, and best of luck to you!
Have you ever stopped to notice the sheer number of things that we do unconsciously? Although most people couldn't tell you what they had for dinner last night, they are sure that they didn't go to bed hungry. And who hasn't experienced pulling into the driveway after a long day at work, only to realize that you remember nothing of the drive home. After hearing Peter Britt's debut CD, That's What Living's For, I'm convinced that making beautiful music is something this gentleman does quite naturally and without really thinking about it. I can envision him sitting down to "noodle" at one of the many instruments he plays and before long realizing that he has written yet another song to delight his ever growing number of fans.
Blue Jeans, High Heels & Fire Red Hair starts the CD off with a bang. This single made the top ten of the German Super Country Charts and you can bet we will be hearing it in the U.S. before long. But this Virginia native and father of four has much more to show us, as he proves with his next song, Lay the Sugar On. This tune is practically guaranteed to elicit an unconscious motor response - If you can make it through half of this song and find that your feet are NOT occupied with a country swing step, you are a stronger person than I.
It's obvious that Peter wrote the next song, Sheri Lynn for his wife. I feel this song has the potential to be a classic in the league of Willie Nelson's Help Me Make It Through The Night. The melody is strikingly beautiful and the bond that Peter feels with his wife is evident in his vocal performance. I'm sure if I get the chance to see him perform this live, it will blow me away.
It Only Takes A Moment is extremely easy to listen to, and Sweet On My Mind just begs for Alabama themselves to back Peter up with harmony vocals. It's got that great, standard country base line and a half step key change. What more could country traditionalists ask for? Perhaps that is what has impressed me most about this talented new artist. He writes traditional country as well as he writes new country and he has the good sense to put them both on his album. So let me say right now, for all of us with eclectic taste in music...THANK YOU!
Next on the CD is What's Living For? In my opinion this track should come with a warning, "When played on your truck stereo, this song may cause an autonomic response...specifically, drumming on the steering wheel." I thought perhaps I might be the only one affected by this phenomenon, but no, a trip to town proved that my husband was affected as well. So if you're in the mood for an enjoyable drive through the country, you will want to include this in your CD case.
Plain Ole' Jane is a very sassy, upbeat tune and is countered well by the next song, I Guess I Won't See You Anymore. This is a beautiful ballad full of the emotion of lost love.
For those of us who are delightfully learning that love truly does grow stronger with time, Always Be My Girl will undoubtedly become an anthem. Isn't it a wonderful experience when you discover a song writer has paralleled events in your own life?
Peter once again shows what a strong family man he is with I Remember When, a truly moving tribute to his father. Having lost a parent myself, this song brought tears to my eyes. I wasn't left feeling melancholy for long though. I Was Gonna Be Her Man is the next song and this dance tune nicely wraps up the album.
In Peter Britt's biography it states that he began his musical career years ago in rock and roll but, for many reasons, let his interest fall by the wayside. It was his wife, Sheri, who convinced him he should dust off that dream and take steps toward making it a reality. Peter discovered country and fell in love with writing music all over again. So let me just say thank you to Sheri, for "standing by her man" and to Peter for giving me the pleasure of sharing his dream through his music. It really is a beautiful dream!
Word came sweeping down across the plains from our Northwest representative, Marsha Hughes, of Missoula, Montana, with whisperings of a new artist. She advised that she had communicated with Peter on-line and he had sent her a copy of his latest release "That's What Living's For". She was excited and told me that she thought that Peter's CD was outstanding and that I should hear it. I told her to send it down and I would give it a listen.
After receiving the CD I plugged it in and sat back to listen. WOW! Grabbing the cover, I read the transcript inside and realized that this Peter Britt not only sings a good song, but he had written all of the material himself. I enjoyed the CD the first time through very much and listened to it again the next day with a more serious attitude. I listened to the melodic content and found that its relationship to the lyrics is exceptional. In fact, virtually every song is a well-balanced composition. Peter's vocal talents are very, very smooth and his voice captures you with its magic...very impressive indeed. His rendition of "Sheri Lynn" was a romantic journey into Peter's heart. In the song, he sings of his love for his darling wife...The song allows him to paint his world with love...This cut left me with a beautiful feeling...Well done Peter and Sheri- You're a lucky lady! Hold on to your man darlin, the world is going to try and steal him away from you!
The masterful hands of the brilliant Producer/Engineer Tom Benvenuto delivers with a decisive punch. This album is wonderfully produced. Very, very impressive. Kudos to all involved with its production. This one is a winner.
After more than a decade away from music, Peter Britt returned to what made him happy and discovered that, this time around, he is 100% country. With a voice that recalls country singers both new and old and a songwriting style that could please fans of either, Peter just needs to find a method to reach that audience.
Peter tells the story of his return to music: "I got into country music just about two years ago, really. I got out of music back in 1981, and back then I was into pretty decent rock and roll. I completely got out of music for about ten years, and about two years ago -- it was right around the beginning of 1994 -- my wife sat me down and told me I had to get back into music and do what was in my heart if I was ever going to be happy. Little known to me, she was right. It took her about six months to talk me into it, but I finally gave in, and I haven't been happier in about twelve years.
"As far as the country goes, that's really a mystery to me because, like I said, back in the early eighties, I was pretty decent into rock and roll, and when I got back into music back in '94, the first time I sat down and started writing, it was country. In fact, the second song on the demo, 'It Only Takes a Moment,' was the first song I wrote when I got back into it. It just kind of happened. I found a real love for it, and I've just been concentrating -- can't help it, really -- on country ever since."
Beginning life as a musician again -- a country musician this time around - - Peter cut a demo, WHAT'S LIVING FOR?, and, he says, "right now I'm in the studio working on a CD, pushing my music to all the labels and purchasers I can find."
Peter explains, "I have no intention of selling my songs. I had to make that decision. I really got back into music with that intention, to go ahead and just write 'em, and 'Well, you know, it's just a song,' but, as pretty much all my stuff is with me, after I write it, I find it means quite a lot to me -- maybe more so now that I'm a little bit older. Like I said, I had to make a decision whether I was going to do that or not, and I made that decision. I'm down that fork in the road now, and there's no return."
To date, Peter hasn't pursued the live show route for getting his music out "I've just been concentrating on studio work and getting my stuff out to labels," he explains. However, a rather unique set of circumstances may change that soon. Peter elaborates, "I might possibly have something coming up in the next few months. I might be going to Germany. As a matter of fact , Radio Oldenberg in Germany is doing a 30 minute spot on me on February 14th. A friend of mine in Germany took the demo around to a couple of radio stations, and this one local station in Oldenberg picked it up and decided they wanted to do this big thing. I just got done in the studio doing a voice- over thing for that. Apparently, he's working on setting up something over there, and if he does, I'll probably be going over there to do some appearances in the next few months... if that works out. It'd be kind of interesting if it does."
So far, though his quest has just begun, Peter hasn't gotten very far with the record labels. He quips, "I've had a couple of doors just slightly open , just far enough to slide a tape through." Maintaining the visual imagery, Peter continues, "Unfortunately, they've promptly been shoved right back under the door."
When the A&R reps at those labels DO get a chance to listen to Peter, they'll hear a singer whose songwriting is as much a strength as his voice. What inspires Peter as a songwriter, he explains, is "mostly, anything that touches me inside, anything that's close to me and means a lot to me. I'd say my wife is probably the inspiration for about 80% of anything I've ever written. She's just a wonderful, very talented lady, and there's a lot of facets there to explore as far as inspiration goes in songwriting. Just day-to-day I might think of something that relates to her in some way, and she's really inspirational in that aspect. That and family or anything that means something to me. I rarely just say 'Well, I'm going to write a song today about a blue pickup truck and a dog' or some other such nonsense. It doesn't happen like that with me. I really have to be truly inspired to write something, and I'm fortunate enough, with my wife and kids and all, that I do have a lot of inspiration, so there's no lack of material."
Though he doesn't know where his country music mindset originally came from , Peter lists Joe Diffie, Travis Tritt, and Dwight Yoakam among current artists who inspire him. "There are some character aspects to each one of them I can relate to," he notes. With his heartfelt songwriting and deep, country voice, perhaps one day Peter will share a stage with them.
Peter concludes, "I'm really determined to get associated with a label. This is a lifelong goal for me. And I'm going to see it come to fruition, no matter what it takes. This is what I've chosen, finally -- I guess it chose me a long time ago, but I kind of backed off from it -- but I've chosen this path, and I'm not going to veer from it."
If shopping his demo doesn't work, Peter says his next step will be to put a band together and draw some attention that way. He has also worked the internet to make contacts and reach potential fans. For the time being, you can check out his website at http://www.peter-britt.com , or just wait for him to hook up with a label and release his album someday. It's bound to happen. Peter clearly won't be deterred from his dream.
- reprinted with permission from Geoff Wilbur's
Renegade Newsletter, January 1997
by Diane Jessurun
The Incredibly Small Concert HallPeter Britt - An impressive singer/songwriter from Virginia. Most definately a country singer with a country attitude! More importantly a very talented musician. All 11 songs on his CD "That's what Livin's for", have a theme of love and are very well written and performed.
The CD is full of great lyrics, melodies, and is well produced. Some of my favorite lyrics are from Peter's song about his wife "Sheri Lynn". "When I look in your eyes, it takes my breath away. It comes as no surprise, I wanna be in your arms today. And when you put your lips, oh so gently against mine. Oh Sheri Lynn, you know your always by my side. You know your always on my mind." Very sweet indeed, and sung beautifully by Peter.
I also like the song "What's Living for?", in which Peter sings, "I get up every morning, you know I try so very hard. But when the weekend rolls around, stuck working in the yard. Yeah the weekend goes so quickly, I can never get my fill. When Monday mornin' comes around, I wish it was the weekend still. You know I always do my duty, I live up to my responsibilities. I pay the bills on time each month, but there's nothing left for me. So I keep on trying harder, falling more and more behind. I wonder what good living is when I can never keep a dime." These lyrics are only part of the song and the music makes it even better! Don't miss this CD if you like country. Peter Britt has what it takes.
The Allouette Gazette
This review was written by Larry Belanger, contact at DowneastReviews@webtv.net.
That's What Living's For
MusiciansPeter Britt- Acoustic Guitar / Lead Vocals / Harmony Vocals
Tom Jones- Electric Guitar / Acoustic Guitar
Tom Benvenuto- Drums / Percussion / Backup Vocals
Skip Hancock- Keyboards / Bass
Billy Batte- Steel Guitar / Fiddle
Sheri Lynn Brittingham- Spoken Vocals
Track 1-- Blue Jeans, High Heels & Fire Red Hair
This tune has all the greatness of a Dwight Yoakam tune, complete with the country driving bass and the riffs of Pete Anderson-esque sizzlin' lead guitar. The vocals are ace, look for this one on the AAA country station in your area. ( ! ! ! ! ! )
Track 2-- Lay The Sugar On
A true old style country tune with some great piano and fiddle. This tune has all the makings for another hit tune, the vocals and lyrics are sweet (no pun intended) and the melody is catchy. ( ! ! ! ! ! )
Track 3-- Sheri Lynn
This song was written for Peter's wife, and it is sung from deep in his soul, emotion filled and quite intense. The strings and the keyboard add depth and color although the vocals are the true forté in the song. Great tune. ( ! ! ! ! ! )
Track 4-- It Only Takes a Moment
The styling of this tune is toward the "new" country sound. There are some nice vocal harmonies, some instrumental nuances that add a little punch at key points, making this another catchy number. Peter's song structures are solid and they contain positive lyrics that are magnetic. ( ! ! ! ! ! )
Track 5-- Sweet on My Mind
Here is a tune that cold easily mistaken for a Merle Haggard number. The lyrics are very well written and the melody is of a nature that any songwriter would give their first born son, in sacrifice, just to be able to write like this. Another hit tune for Peter Britt.
( ! ! ! ! ! )
Track 6-- What's Living For ?
This one would get the juke-joint jumping, with it's rockin' beat. Another tune that falls into the style that Dwight Yoakam grooves in. Peter has put together a great band to back up his wonderful music, they do a great job of complimenting his work. This album has one hit after another. ( ! ! ! ! ! )
Track 7-- Plain Ole' Jane
There are some time changes that make this song unique, it gives the impression that the band is very tight. On the first listen it may appear odd, but after a few spins on the deck the appreciation for the song will grow. Another special piece of musical genius.
( ! ! ! ! ! )
Track 8-- I Guess I Won't See You Anymore
This is a very beautiful waltz, with some very intense emotional lyrics. Some would call this a "tear in your beer" song, but it's just another hit tune in the Peter Britt songbook.
( ! ! ! ! ! )
Track 9-- Always Be My Girl
This one should get some solid playtime when the spin-jockeys get a hold of the promo. It has strains of John Michael Montgomery and some of the younger country artists. Is this guy ever going to miss, this album is truly a pleasure to listen to.( ! ! ! ! ! )
Track 10-- I Remember When
There is some nice piano and fiddle playing in the opening bars of this number. A nice tune that has some mellow qualities, but not one of the most powerful numbers of the album. Still it will certainly attract some listeners that are looking for the sentimental styling of the tune. ( ! ! ! ! )
Track 11-- I Was Gonna Be Her Man
This tune is another in the Yoakam-esque style. If Peter stays to the path that he's traveling on musically, he's sure to acquire a loyal following. This tune is kicking, grooving and going to be another hit in the Peter Britt songbook. ( ! ! ! ! ! )
Larry's overall impression:
Peter Britt and company have put together a hit album that is sure to rock the country music scene. The album is hard core country that leaves the listener well satisfied that this is one of the best releases of the 90's. Their are many similarities to the Dwight Yoakam sound, but Peter's vocals are unique enough to grant him an originality that is his own style. A fan of Dwight Yoakam's would be very happy to pick up this album, as there are few artists that have the style that he possesses, making any similar albums treasured pieces. Peter Britt will be a big star with the right promotion and the right label to finance the promo. The talent and solid material are in Peter's work, all he needs now is national attention, and I'm sure that will happen. Don't miss out on this fantastic album, pick up your copy from Peter's fan club site or from his agent today. This is the finest country album you'll get this year. This is our last review of 1999. Thanks to all for a great year, and we wish you all a better 2000. Happy New Year from all the crew....Larry
Until next time keep your ears to the tunes, your eyes on the road and keep in touch with us...Larry
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