PETER BRUNTNELL – Trio Tour of Scotland. In March 2017, Peter will take to the road with a trio comprising himself on acoustic guitar, harmonica and vocals, and accompanied by Danny Williams (ex- Black Grape and St. Etienne) on double bass, and one of Scotland’s busiest session musicians of the moment, Iain Sloan (of The Wynntown Marshals and Blue Rose Code) on pedal steel, guitar and backing vocals.
If you ask the likes of Peter Buck (REM), Scott McCaughey (REM, Minus 5), Willy Vlautin (Richmond Fontaine), Jay Farrar (Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo), John Murry or Kathleen Edwards they’ll all tell you that Peter Bruntnell is a writer with rare and mysterious qualities. It’s interesting that American musicians are so seduced by such a uniquely British artist, and Peter has toured extensively with Son Volt, Kathleen Edwards and Richmond Fontaine at the request of the artists.
Peter has a unique ‘way with a tune’. The most interesting thing about his music, and part of the reason for his devoted following, is the indefinable knack the songs have of locking into one’s emotions in an elusive, intangible but deeply affecting way. In fact, respected journalist Keith Cameron once claimed in NME that “Peter Bruntnell’s records should be taught in schools” such is the particular appeal of the quiet Devonian’s songwriting craft.
It started back in 1995 when Peter signed to Almo Sounds, where his label-mates included Gillian Welch and Garbage. He made two albums for the label: Cannibal and Camelot in Smithereens. Grammy-winner Peter Smith (Sting/Squeeze), who produced Pete’s debut Cannibal, still cites it as “one of the top 3 records I’ve worked on”.
In 1999 Peter signed to Slowriver/ Rykodisc and released Normal For Bridgwater - a record that was to be his biggest commercial success to date and which won him wider acclaim in North America. Upon hearing the album, Kathleen Edwards told her producer when recording her debut Failer, “I want to make an album like this”. Peter struck up a friendship with Son Volt, which resulted in them touring together. It also saw the introduction to Peter’s band of 17 year-old James Walbourne. As well as playing with Peter, James is now half of the duo Rails with his wife Kami Thompson and a full-time member of The Pretenders.
Rather than reproduce the Americana feel of Normal For Bridgwater, Peter’s restless musical spirit has seen him strike out in new direction with almost every subsequent album. Four albums for Loose continued to win him admirers - by 2005, The Independent were calling him “one of the finest songwriters in Britain” and Richmond Fontaine’s frontman Willy Vlautin named Peter as his favourite singer.
His 2009 Loose album Peter And The Murder Of Crows is filled with psychedelic drones and mellifluous tunes; the album found reviewers and fans alike comparing him with Nick Drake and John Martyn. It was one of Q magazine's ‘Albums Of The Year’ and was an ‘Americana Album Of The Month’ in MOJO magazine.
Ever inventive, with 2011’s Black Mountain UFO Peter mixed West Coast harmonies with the requisite dab of psychedelia, and 2013’s Retrospective featured tracks from all of Peter’s albums to date and was crowned with a re-recorded version and video of ‘Played Out’ featuring platinum-selling Rumer.
Peter’s 2016 release Nos Da Comrade had the honour of being ‘Album of the Month’ in Mojo magazine, with the Daily Express following suit by awarding it the full 5 stars, calling it “his masterpiece”.
In a recent article the Guardian declared that Peter’s music “really is exceptional – a canon of classically constructed, melodically rich, lyrically ingenious and emotionally, intellectually affecting songs that bears comparison with the all-time greats” and signed off by saying that “as a writer, he has few real peers”.
Some of the kind words said about Peter:
- "a remarkable knack for turning out big, dreamy, melodic, memorable songs" - MOJO
- "his songs are warm and beautifully radiant" – Uncut
- "one of the finest songwriters in Britain" - The Independent
- "one of England's best kept musical secrets" - Rolling Stone
- “Americana album of the month, 4 stars” - Mojo, April 2016