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Tag Archives: Songs

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.


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.


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!

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!!

As a singer/songwriter/performer, I find that I always have a song or two in the queue.  Songs that are begun but only partially finished.

Recently, I had an interesting experience in which I had some songs I was working on — more than two in draft, actually.  I had mapped out the chord progressions and time signatures for two of these songs.  Had a smattering of lyrics for each.  Yet I wasn’t making any progress on either.  I’d pull one out; play through it; ponder it; and put it back away.

Until just the other day.  That’s when I pulled one out.  Made no more progress.  Then I pulled the other one out immediately after.  And suddenly it occurred to me that I should try switching the chord progressions.  You know, take the subject matter/lyrics of one and put it with the other tune.  Guess what?  Yep, you guessed it.  They were much better that way.  And I started making some inroads on them BOTH. 

Isn’t that funny?  I suppose I had them wrong ways around (bass ackwards) from the start.  Glad I pulled them out one right after another, or I may have remained in limbo on writing them for some time to come.  Now I just have to set aside enough time in the schedule to finish them.

Anyone who has visited this blog in the past year has heard (seen) me talk about my debut CD – Joe Peck: In The City Lights.

Well, it has taken several months longer than I anticipated.  But I think the wait was well worth it.  The CD is ready and available and – dare I say it – in release.  You can buy it using this link at CDBaby as an mp3 album.  Awesome!!

It’ll be available in disc form shortly – as soon as the mail gets them to Oregon.  Of course, you can always buy a disc at one of my shows.  And if you don’t dig CD Baby, the album will be up at myriad other retailers (iTunes, Amazon, etc.) soon. 

Here’s a little info about the CD –

Genres:  Americana Rock/Country Pop
In Brief:  This debut album is a meaty musical stew of rock, country, blues, folk and pop spiced liberally with outstanding vocals, unforgettable hooks, and alternately fun and deeply poignant lyrics.

Yes, that’s right – Electric Maid.  The Electric Maid Community Exchange in Takoma Park to be exact.

I got the chance to perform with host Frank Cassell (Banjo Man), comedian Philippe Shearer, and singer/songwriter Jim Shirey this past Thursday evening.  I recommend the venue because it’s a great little spot, they bring in some good entertainment, and they’re doing good things. 

It’s done!  Not without some difficulty, I might add.  But I did submit a song to the contest being held via Nashville Arts Magazine for a theme song to the 2012 Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival. 

Did I say difficulty?  Yes!  Actually, the songwriting wasn’t as difficult as I thought it might be for a song “to order,” so-to-speak.  I’m sure that’s partially lucky happenstance due to my own life experience.  You see, I have been to a number of Cherry Blossom Festivals in the Washington, DC area and seen the amazing display of cherry trees in bloom around the tidal basin there.  In addition, I have family in Tennessee and have spent a fair amount of time in and around Nashville.  After doing a little more digging regarding the fairly new Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival, I had a decent well of inspiration from which to draw.

The difficulty came from a) nasty cold germs; and b) technological challenges.  In the first case, I came down suddenly and violently with a nasty cold that left me barely able to speak much less sing for over a week.  Of course, that was just when I had planned on recording the song I’d written for submission.  Not good!!  And then I had to travel — with the cold — on business.  I dragged along my laptop and a mic just in case and was able to get a fairly un-phlegmy version recorded (albeit a poor quality recording) just before the deadline.  And THEN, I couldn’t get online to accomplish the submission.  It was as if I had done something to anger the techno-gods.  Or maybe they were testing my resolve.  In any case, where there is a will ….   

The folks at Nashville Arts Magazine were very helpful and understanding.  They took my payment info by phone so that all I had to focus on was finding a way to get the darned song to them.  Eventually, I did.  It took another day to do, but it was accomplished.

In the end, I think I did a pretty good job on writing the song.  It’s titled “We’ve Got Friends,” and it highlights the importance of friendship and the reflection through the beauty of nature of the good things people can do if they try.  I also threw in some references to Tennessee and Japanese culture.  Do I expect to win?  Well, it is a contest in Nashville, TN – Music City U.S.A – home to one or two professional songwriters.  I have no doubt a few of them have entered.  Probably many of them.  So, I don’t expect to win.   But hope does spring eternal.  And I’m proud of the tune I wrote.  While I’d love to win, I know that I did good work.  And that will keep me writing songs.

Now I know that – in large part – all songwriting contests are designed as income sources for their sponsoring organizations.  But that doesn’t stop thousands of hopefuls, including myself, from entering.  Nor should it.  

Thus, I’ve decided to challenge myself and enter a songwriting contest for a very specific event.  This contest isn’t the general kind where you enter whatever you’ve already written in the appropriate category.  No.  This contest is specifically designed to find the “theme song” for an upcoming event.  It’s for a non-profit organization.  They do good work.  And … it’ll be a tremendous challenge for me as still a fairly new songwriter. 

After all, if you don’t set goals for yourself, you never accomplish anything.  A truism that just happens to be true.  And my songwriting process can – at times – be very lengthy.  But by having this contest before me and committing to composing a song for this very specific topic, I will be forcing myself to be a productive songwriter.

I realize that, in the end, the song I write for this contest may not be an amazing tune.  It may not even be noteworthy.  It might even suck.  But it will be a song.  And it will have been created by me within a specified (and very short, I feel) time period.  And THAT is the goal I am trying to achieve.   Will I “win” and see my song chosen for the theme?  Well … certainly not if I don’t at least give it a go and do my best. 

I’ll share some updates on this process as I move forward.  If nothing else, it’s bound to be interesting.