Canadian singer/songwriter unveils new tracks at The Velvet Olive

Peter Katz includes Red Deer on national tour for new ‘live’ CD/DVD project

Singer/songwriter Peter Katz is gearing up to showcase his latest disc to the masses across Canada.

Peter Katz & Friends LIVE at the Music Gallery was released in September, and local fans will have the chance to enjoy his insightful, compelling tunes Nov. 12 at the Velvet Olive.

Katz brought together some of his closest friends to create a stunning live performance at Toronto’s Music Gallery back in May of 2010.

The project features songs from 2010’s First of the Last to Know and a version of I Do from 2008’s More Nights.

“I really wasn’t anticipating releasing it,” he explains during a recent interview. But someone offered to film it, and another friend offered to record it. The results were terrific, and the choice to offer it to the public seemed the natural thing to do.

Katz and company indeed sound fabulous from the opening strains of Carried Away and the heartfelt Oliver’s Tune to the poignant Son which he wrote for his father. The disc features pianist Valery Gore, cellist Mike Olsen and vocalists Emma-Lee, Layah Jane and Rob Szabo.

Rounding out the gifted group are Olivia Brayley on French horn, percussionist Dave Tolley, Jaron Freeman-Fox on violin and Shaun Brodie on trumpet.

The results capture Katz’s artistry perfectly – it’s the ideal venue for his rich musical collection. Katz takes listeners into his personal songwriting life while his voice and acoustic guitar remain the focal point throughout.

Building a strong fan base over the years, Katz has toured in the Netherlands, the UK as well as Ireland, Germany and France.

He’s now gearing up to record a full-length project and has again launched ‘Peter’s Perk-Filled Fundraising Campaign’.

It’s a unique means of raising funds to help cover recording costs while offering those who contribute something in return. He offered it for his last record, and the results were tremendous.

“It was fantastic, and lots of people reacted to it. It’s been really fun.”

The more a person gives, the more elaborate the return from Katz.

For example, for those contributing from $2,000 to $2,500, (the Superhero with Unlimited Powers category), Katz will provide 20 copies of the CD and 20 show tickets among a number of other gifts including a song written just for you and a house concert at the venue of your choice.

You can also hit the road with Katz and the band for two days and be incorporated into the show – somehow.

“It’s a great way to connect with people.”

Tracking for the new CD is wrapped up, as is the mixing. Katz anticipates an early winter release once he returns from touring Europe throughout January and February.

“We kept asking ourselves, does it make the CD more intimate,” he says of the recording process. “That was the barometer.”

Ultimately, touring is what propels his journey in creating music that deftly melds jazz, rock and folk. He loves writing a song and seeing firsthand its impact on listeners. Typically, Katz plays about 150 shows each year.

“It’s easy to get motivated when you see people have come out to listen. That just blows my mind.”

His family has always been passionate about music, and that certainly sparked an early interest. Moving out at 16 brought the freedom for him to do what he really wanted to, and Katz recalls gravitating to artistic folks.

First of the Last to Know also marked the ‘true arrival’ of Peter Katz, solo artist. After years of touring solo while selling a full-on band record, Katz got tired of the same feedback: “We wish you would make a record that sounds like you playing live.”

It certainly provided food for thought.

“My life is touring, and I’m dedicated to that, but at a certain point your record needs to do some leg-work for you. If the only way you can win someone over is live, then you need to go back to the drawing board and make a better record.”

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