Peter Graham “Nowhere in Tacoma” (Skyefarmrecords, 2017)

Peter Graham is a Canadian singer-songwriter from the village of Millbrook, Ontario. Despite having a decade of song writing behind him this 5 track EP, Nowhere in Tacoma, is his debut. His music blends traditional country instrumentation and the narrative verse of folk, with an emphasis on concise and honest lyrics. Peter has surrounded himself with top notch musicians for this collection and they play a huge part in the overall sound. Opening track Tell Nobody Nothing has a lovely rhythmic feel with Anthony Carone’s piano, Dave Gibson’s drums, the pedal steel of Aaron Goldstein and the backing vocals of Brittany Clarke combining to great effect to produce a warm, radio friendly track.

Goddamn Right lulls us with a more laid-back introduction with a gorgeous, lazy soundtrack of pedal steel and piano accompanying a lyrically sparse and reflective track ‘I remember those days on the road, I don’t remember getting old and lost, you’re goddamn right I want it all back.’ The oft repeated song title is then repeated in a progressively more assertive tone until reaching a dramatic and, it has to be said, much louder conclusion than was hinted by those opening bars.

The title track Nowhere in Tacoma sees Carone switch the piano for a Wurlitzer to great effect on perhaps the strongest track on the album. Graham’s vocals here have an urgency and feeling to them here that fit perfectly within the flow of the music and the ever constant of Clarke’s backing vocals.

With only five tracks on the EP the variety of instrumentation used is impressive and allows Peter to bring a different feel and highlight to each track. Thus, the final track Sits in The Folds is a showcase this time for the fiddle of Tom Hamilton and is a fine way to close such a concise collection of Peter’s work.

In a very crowded and competitive market any new singer-songwriter has to work hard to make their sound distinctive and perhaps the smart and savvy ones identify their strengths very early and play to them. Although Peter Graham has a terrific voice it is not especially distinctive. However, he has been savvy enough to aim for a sound that allows the talented musicians working with him to shine and, in so doing, to lift the songs and his interpretation of them, to a higher level.

Author: Peter Churchill

Lover of intelligent singer-songwriters; a little bit country; a little bit folk; a little bit Americana.
Perfect Day – early morning round of golf, afternoon at Dean Court watching AFC Bournemouth, evening gig at a cosy smallish venue with a pint and a packet of scratchings.

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