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Category Archives: Music


This blog, joepeckblogarhythms.wordpress.com, is getting a new home.  Most of the existing content has already been transferred to the new spot – called j0ebl0g.wordpress.com. Beginning this week, new posts will appear there.  In case you can’t tell from the typeface, the “o’s” are actually zeros in the new blog’s title. 

If you haven’t already, come on over and take a look around the new digs!

By the way, the folks at WordPress have made this move about as easy as I could have hoped for.  Many thanks to the WordPress staff for their support, responsiveness and the amazing tools they provide their bloggers.

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On May 31, I was extremely pleased to play a return gig at the popular Alexandria watering hole, St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub.  With me were Jim Gormley on percussion and Matthew Leonard on bass.  We had a great time playing our mix of pop, country, R&B, and blues – featuring cool original tunes as well as fun covers.  The set included songs recorded by Keith Urban, Tina Turner, The Eagles, LaBelle, Garth Brooks, and Demi Lovato.


A few months ago I had the occasion to travel through Nashville on the way to visit family.  As I was passing through, I decided to take the opportunity to try to get in on the open mic at The Bluebird Cafe.  I’ve heard so much about it ever since I began songwriting.

I’m happy to report that I got there early enough to get in the door and to play.  It was a great experience!  It’s a cozy place, certainly, so you get to look your audience right in the eye.  Obviously, many of the people in attendance are performers and songwriters as well.  That fact, along with the marvelous MC job done by open mic host Barbara Cloyd, creates a welcoming atmosphere.  Better yet!  Because a few folks had left early (before their turn at the mic came), there was extra time.  So Barbara drew two names out of a hat for a second song.  Guess what?  I got to play twice, sharing two of my original tunes!  How cool is that?!

Here’s the craziest part of it all – for me.  You see, my parents were both from the Nashville area.  As a result, I spent almost every Xmas and a week or two every summer visiting thereabouts when I was a kid.  Our home base was always my grandmother’s house.  That house, as it turns out, is a stone’s throw from The Bluebird Cafe!  I kid you not!!  I used to go door-to-door caroling with my uncle’s boyscout troop through that neighborhood!  I used to help my grandmother shop at the grocery store down the street where now a Whole Foods is located.  My grandma is no longer there, and the house doesn’t even look the same.  Still, just being in that neighborhood brought so many memories flooding back.

Of course, all that doesn’t make me a better performer or songwriter.  Ha!  Even so, it sure as heck made my evening singing at The Bluebird Cafe one for reminiscing as well as one to remember.


A few days ago I had to take a very long drive by myself.  After a few hours on the road, I invariable turn to the radio.  The fact that I don’t know what to expect in the song lineup keeps me more aware and focused while the miles pass by.  And it gives me the added benefit of hearing music I might not otherwise hear.  Ya know?

Anyway, one of the stations I landed on announced a new give-away promotion they’d be doing for tickets to see Maroon 5 & Kelly Clarkson in concert.  Holy crap!  I just about jumped out of my seat.  But I was driving at about 70 mph, so I didn’t.  Maroon 5 and Kelly Clarkson?!  Who thought that one up?  Cause whoever did came up with a GREAT idea.

In my opinion Kelly Clarkson is probably one of the best voices in the music industry today.  And she’s building a public repertoire that is broader than just light radio pop.  We all know she can do more because of all the crazy things they made her sing on American Idol.  Right?  And for their part, Maroon 5 is currently flexing it’s muscles in the pop arena with two solid hits from their last album, “Overexposed,” following closely on the big success of the “Moves Like Jagger” re-release with Christina Aguilera.  When you listen to their CDs, you note that they also have a wider reach musically than just enjoyable radio rock and pop.  Much of their stuff is clearly jazz influenced – which I like.

The dates for the Honda Civic Tour begin on August 1 in St. Louis and end in early October.  Openers at various locales include Rozzi Crane, Tony Lucca, & PJ Morton.   I think this is going to be one awesome pairing for audiences.  And, no, I’m not going to apologize for being excited about this.  My own music may be more Americana, but I have no qualms about applauding good music and good live performance in any genre.

BTW, general tickets for the tour go on sale tomorrow – April 6!


This is going to be one awesome night of music!

Join Justin Trawick, Joe Peck, Jim Shirey, David Farah, Wes Tucker, Jason Masi, Nita Chawla, Jason Ager, and Joe Rathbone for a rousing evening of outstanding tunes.   Just $10 at the door.  Be there!

Founded in 2008 by singer/songwriter Justin Trawick, “The 9 Songwriter Series”is a touring live music event based in Washington, DC.  Each installment features nine solo singer/songwriters performing in rotation and often sitting in with each other -providing audiences with a rich, intimate, varied listening experience.


Back on Jan. 26, I went to see Justin Trawick share a set at the ever-popular bar and music venue Iota in Arlington.  Thought I’d share a quick report.

Justin is a much sought-after independent singer/songwriter in the DC area for good reason.  First, Justin writes very good music.  You want proof?  His song “All the Places that I’ve Been” got a Silver Award in this year’s Mid-Atlantic Song Contest (which has entries from everywhere, not just the Mid-Atlantic U.S.)   Second, Justin puts together a good set list.  For that you can take my word or – better yet – attend one of his shows to judge for yourself.  But seriously, a good set list is important because any good performer wants to bring the audience along on a musical journey.  Justin does that very well.  Finally, Justin is a good entertainer.  I believe that when a group of people devotes their evening to come see and hear someone share his or her music, an artist needs to bring more to the table than just pretty songs.  Justin has a likeable delivery of between-song chatter that keeps the audience interested, engaged and entertained.

You can find more on Justin by clicking through here — Justin Trawick.  He is also founder, organizer and host of the traveling  “9 Songwriter Series” in which Justin invites 9 songwriters to share a few of their original tunes in a showcase format.  You should check that out too!

 


Played a mixed set of covers and originals as the “featured performer” at Ireland’s Four Courts last night.  They have an open mic there hosted by singer/songwriter Brian Franke every Tuesday.  The music starts at 8 p.m, and they break it up with a featured act for an hour in the middle.  I was joined by the inimitable Jim Gormley on percussion and the awesome Matthew Leonard on bass.

There was quite a lively bunch there for our set last night.  I have to give a shout out to Al K, Cheryl, Heather, Patrick, Sadie, Lawrence & Steve for coming out and bringing friends, too.  Also, kudos to Jeff Campagna of Jeterband who did a great short set just before us and brought out his own posse of friends and supporters.

If you’ve never been to Ireland’s Four Courts, you should get yourself on out for a pleasant evening some night soon.  The food’s good; there’s plenty of tasty beverages available; the folks are friendly; and it’s right across the street from the Courthouse Metro stop at 2051 N Wilson Blvd in Arlington.

UPDATE:

Here’s a picture that Mercedes Mill took of us making music.  AND, we evidently made a good impression, because we’re being invited back for a return gig.  Keep your eyes peeled for dates!


As some of you know, I’ve done a bit of song co-writing with some folks I’ve met via the Songwriters Association of Washington (SAW). And those efforts have been good, to be sure. But I still haven’t had the “Wow, that was an absolutely amazing, life-changing song we just wrote” experience.

So when a friend of mine (a fellow performer who does a fair amount of musical theater in our area) approached me to help him write a song honoring his father … I wasn’t all the gung-ho. But he was persistent, and I agreed to meet and begin the process based on his initial draft of a refrain.

His name is George, by the way. George and his wife, Mary, invited me over for dinner and songwriting. Yes, they bribed me with a fine, home-cooked meal. Then they put me to work. But I turned the tables on George. I made our first meeting into a brainstorming session. I asked him question after question after question. I asked him what he wanted the song to look like and what kind of story he wanted to tell. We jotted down his thoughts, memories, feelings, etc. about his father for a couple of hours. At the end, I asked him to tackle a short first verse (knowing full well that it could change later). That was his “homework.” And it was to be the first step toward telling the story he wants to relate about his father. I could have given it a go, of course, but it’s HIS father. You know?

Within an hour after our brain dump, he had completed verse one! Seriously!! Isn’t that great? Of course, there is plenty more to do. But what a super way to begin working together.

And what did I get from all this? Well … a lot. I’ve heard folks say that the best way to learn something is to teach it. And while I wasn’t really teaching as much as facilitating, I’d say that old saying pretty much sums up my “take” from our session. Now I have even more confidence in my own process and abilities – in the knowledge and tools I possess – to help me in my songwriting efforts. So …

Thank you, George! And thank you, Mary, too!! The dinner really WAS very good.


Here it is – the poster for my upcoming gig at St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub in the Delray neighborhood of Alexandria, VA.  This establishment is well-known and well-liked around the area because of it’s good food, good drinks and GOOD MUSIC.  I’ll be doing a mixed set of great popular tunes with some of my own original tunes woven in.  It’ll definitely be a fun evening, and there’s no cover!  With me will be Jim Gormley on percussion and Matthew Leonard on bass.  See you there!!


Hey! I hope everyone had a great New Year’s celebration and that the coming year will bring much happiness and prosperity. This post is to share a quick couple of things:

1. I have an upcoming show on January 12 at 8 p.m. at St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, VA. Please join “Joe Peck & Friends” on a winter Saturday evening at one of the most popular live music venues in the DC area. I’ll be sharing a mix of original and cover tunes joined by Jim Gormley on percussion and Matthew Leonard on bass. St. Elmo’s is located at 2300 Mt. Vernon Ave. There is no cover charge.

2. My Fair Lady at Arena Stage will be coming to a close on 1/6. If you haven’t seen it yet, you have till Sunday evening to get out and see this marvelous production. It really is a great piece of American Musical Theater, and Molly Smith’s deft direction brings a new vibrancy and honesty to all the characters.

Happy New Year!