Peter Parcek is a musician who is known as a distinctive bluesman who sprinkles some special sauce into his music—a teaspoon of gypsy jazz, a dash of country, a plentiful dose of folk and it comes out as a most unique blues potpourri that resonates in a profound way. Parcek is the winner of the 2013 New England Music Award for Best in Blues. He’s got a lot of blues ingrained in his soul and when he and his trio let loose, it’s a most magical evening of music for sure.
To learn more about Peter Parcek, visit his website.
Check out this video of a Parcek original to get a feel for his tasty blues.
I always like to ask blues artists who grew up in the North….. how did you come to love the blues?
My sister brought home sides by Elvis the on Sun label as well as tons of Folk Revival artists. I began my search with the radio. I bought the biggest antenna I could find and threw it out our window in Connecticut. I began to pull in stations from Chicago, West Virginia and more. On WVON (Chicago) I first heard Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. I ordered LPs by them at the Mom & Pop record shop in our town. Took them home and a key was turned in the lock. The two records were Best Of Muddy Waters on Chess and Howlin Wolf’s Moanin’ At Midnight.
Still two of the greatest records ever made. I told my mom that if I could ever learn the guitar. I would want to play it with the feeling I heard from those two artists. The monumental nature of that goal didn’t occur to me until later…..
Your move to London truly ignited your love of the blues. Do you remember any memorable shows from your years living there?
In London I was very lucky to arrive in the midst of the Blues Boom. I heard Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, John Mayall, Chicken Shack w/ Stan Webb, Duster Bennett, the Groundhogs and perhaps most memorably, Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac whom I adored and saw as often as I could.
For those who don’t know about the various brands of blues, can you help us understand how the blues movement emerged in the UK? I know that the Rolling Stones had a lot to do with it but I’m sure there’s more to that story.
There is more to the story, although the Stones did play a central role and admirably always pointed back to their influences. Strange Brew: Eric Clapton and the British Blues Boom 1965-1970 by Christopher Hjort is a fun read and an excellent resource on the subject.
Do you have any blues heroes that you’ve tried to emulate in any way?
There is a dignity to the manner in which a number of the greatest artists like BB King, Muddy Waters, Skip James etc. held and presented themselves that I certainly aspire to. There is also a dynamic mastery evinced by Buddy Guy, Ronnie Earl and others that I also admire and attempt to convey.
Are you a disciplined musician? Do you practice a lot?
I practice every day. I am constantly trying to improve my guitar playing and musicianship. I believe the art of music involves an infinite search.
What about your creative process…. Do you set aside time to write or do you wait for the muse to come and peck or claw away at you and force you to sit down and write?
I write, not sure I have a formula for it. Often it is emotionally driven….
I’m curious about your Dylan covers. What is it about Bob Dylan that inspired you to cover him in your own unique way?
I was lucky to see Bob Dylan on the first electric tour with Robbie Robertson on guitar. The sound of those amazing lyrics juxtaposed with what sounded like an electric whip flowing out of the guitar was something to experience. Robbie had obviously studied Willie Johnson, Hubert Sumlin and the guitarists who played with Wolf, Muddy etc. and knew how to put it into the context of Dylan’s incredible songs. How could you not be inspired by that? I love Dylan and believe he is an American treasure. I wanted to pay tribute by (hopefully) offering an original, bluesy approach to a few of the songs. There are many more of his songs that I would love to record.