September 28, 2012
Pesky J. Nixon open
The me&thee is lucky to snag Peter Mulvey as he passes by on his sixth annual bicycle tour. Traveling from Ireland to Anchorage and all points in between, whether playing solo, duo, or with a full-on rock band, live performance is what defines Mulvey’s work and is where he shines. ¶ Opening will be Pesky J. Nixon. Peter Mulvey says: “These guys sing and play well together, and they clearly enjoy it, which is an underrated charm.”
Peter Mulvey is a walking secret handshake. He has been the street-singing kid in Dublin, the man fronting the storming electric band, the conspiratorial spoken-word craftsman, the Tin Pan Alley delver, an instigator in the occasional Redbird collective, and all through it he has remained the traveler out on the road, bringing his music to audiences from Fairbanks to Bilbao, Santa Monica to Montreal, in clubs, theaters, coffeeshops, the Kennedy Center, and old barns.
This year, with the help of his new folding bicycle — a black HP Velotechnik Grasshopper, made in Germany — Peter will do three distinct legs of the tour: Midwest, New England, and Mid-Atlantic, connecting from leg to leg via train, bus, and (in once case) ferryboat. This kind of inter-modal transport is common in Europe, and so the wry slogan for this year’s tour is “Turning America into a European socialist dystopia one folksinger at a time.”
Mulvey continues to travel, ears open and wide awake, through the unlimited territory of music. Honing his musicianship, his phrasing, his ability to inhabit a song, he has come into his own, with a sound full of grit and warmth, at the same time startling and familiar. His latest record, The Good Stuff, is a dazzling tour de force through American song: a standards record — if the definition of “standard” was left in Mulvey’s hands. In his universe, Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk are presumed colleagues of Tom Waits and Jolie Holland. Bill Frisell and Willie Nelson are obviously in the same wheelhouse. Peter has come a long way since busking in the subways in Boston when he was laid off from a job in 1991. He gained speed in the music business by 1994 and has never looked back. Peter is an astounding guitarist and songwriter and not to be missed.
Peter Mulvey photo by Jonathan Ryder
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Pesky J. Nixon consists of Ethan Scott Baird, lead vocals and guitar, Jake Bush, lead vocals and accordion, Dan Carp, hand drums and vocals, and Eric McDonald, mandolin and vocals. Bombastic yet brilliant, these boys from New England exude a genuine musical authenticity and mirth on stages up and down the East Coast. Drawing influences from contemporary urban balladeers, rowdy southern bluegrass, and the sardonic yet wry wit of New England’s localized folk scenes, PJN creates an atmosphere both inviting and challenging for audiences.
Compelling harmonies and narratives rein in disparate instrumentation including zydeco style accordion, virtuosic mandolin, a variety of tribal percussion, and a myriad of string instrumentation. With rich harmonies and musical versatility PJN brings a unique brand of infectious energy and stage banter to every stage they grace. At times putting on a show that borders on brotherly bickering, these boys specialize on bringing the audience into their world, songs, and stories. The band’s new album, Red Ducks, serves as a serenade to their roots in the folk scene with unique approaches to covering songs from the band’s local friends and some of their musical icons. The record is currently in the top 10 Roots Music Chart earning praise both domestically and internationally.
- [Mulvey’s] voice feels like fine old leather, and his guitar sounds like it’s on steroids… a superb technician… The Boston Globe
- Singularly gifted. Mojo (UK)
- The cream of the crop… sings with a clarity reserved for the likes of legends. Davis Enterprise
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- Pesky J Nixon’s Red Ducks is stripped down, nighttime by the festival campfire fun! Great cover versions infused with that PJN sense of joy. Thumbs up! Joltin Joe, Radio Nowhere
- Pesky’s vocals, songwriting, and arrangements work together to deliver a mood that draws you right in.” Wes Carroll, artist, mouth drummer extraordinaire
- These guys sing and play well together, and they clearly enjoy it, which is an underrated charm. Plus, right out of the gate, Monkey Business and Mislaid Hopes hits the listener with an arresting, vital question: Who’s going to love you when I’m gone?” Peter Mulvey, singer-songwriter