Welcome to Peter King's Website. Peter is a Pittsburgh-based performer, guitar teacher (blues, jazz, folk and rock) and music historian. Shows, recordings, lectures and lessons -- Peter's got a lot going on. So click around a little, and you'll probably find something you like!

Peter King joins Hackman, Mendelssohn Choir in music of Dylan Jan. 25-28 

Hi Everyone, 

I’m thrilled to be part of the world premiere of renowned conductor/composer/arranger/mash-up artist Steve Hackman’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’," featuring the music of Bob Dylan. I’ll be accompanying a hundred voices of the Mendelssohn Choir and a string quintet on five or six songs, plus doing the lead vocal and finger-picking on “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.” 

I’ve heard the arrangements and they sound great, but there’s some danger and excitement to this gig – it’s an experiment! 

Hope you can come out to Mr. Smalls Jan. 25-Jan. 28 and support something that’s a little bit (a lot?) out of the ordinary. Call 877-4-FLY-TIX or go to ticketfly.com for details. 



The Beatles in Their Prime 

This summer, I'm teaching several lecture/demonstration classes on The Beatles, including a five-class course called "The Beatles in Their Prime: Rubber Soul, Revolver and Sgt. Pepper,"  at the University of Pittsburgh's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, main campus. While this course is open only to Osher students, I'll also be teaching a two-hour course focusing on  "Revolver" (released August 5, 1966) at Cooper-Siegel Library, Fox Chapel, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2 p.m. It was 50 years ago today (more or less) that these three albums first rocked the world, and they still sound catchy, innovative and even profound. Come and glean some new insights into the fascinating details of how this music was made.

Quiet Fire - The Music of James Taylor 

                                                              Photo/Timothy White


James Taylor is back with an excellent CD of new original material, "Before This World," just released in June. This summer, I'm teaching several lecture/demonstration classes on JT past and present, including a five-class course at the University of Pittsburgh's Osher Center. While that course is limited to Osher students, anyone (this means you) can attend two other James Taylor presentations I'm teaching at local libraries.
Here are the details:

Saturday, August 15, noon-2 p.m.
Oakmont Carnegie Library
700 Allegheny River Blvd.
Oakmont, PA  15139

Contact: Stephanie Zimble   412.828.9532  

Friday, September 11,  7-9 p.m.
Shaler North Hills Library
1822 Mt. Royal Blvd.
Glenshaw, PA 15116

So what do these classes cover? Here's a brief description:
Quiet Fire – The Music of James Taylor
Hear a few notes from his guitar, and you know it’s James Taylor. Now 67, the writer of “Fire and Rain,” “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” and “Carolina in My Mind” has influenced pop, folk and country music with his unique sense of jazz-tinged chords and syncopated rhythms. Taylor’s back with a brand-new CD, “Before This World.” As with his earlier work, the melodies and harmonies go down easy, but a closer listen reveals nuance, surprise and understated power – qualities that have endeared him not only to fans but to peers including Yo-Yo Ma, Pat Metheny and Mark Knopfler.
Taylor’s socially conscious, sometimes tormented soul has shown itself in songs about drug addiction (“A Junkie’s Lament”) the First Gulf War (“Slap Leather”) and Martin Luther King (“Shed a Little Light”). Other songs draw on his brother’s death (“Enough to Be on Your Way”), his difficult relationship with his father (“Walking Man”) and his family’s seafaring past (“The Frozen Man.”)
Performer, guitar teacher and music journalist Peter King will explore what makes Taylor’s music so original. Through guided listening to Taylor’s recordings as well as to songs played live by the instructor on his guitar, the class will gain a deeper appreciation of the art of Sweet Baby James.

I've given a number of these presentations, and the response has been gratifying. Students come away from the class knowing more about Taylor's life, but -- more important -- able to hear some of his classic material with newly calibrated ears.
Please join me for "Quiet Fire."

Git Outta Yer Basement II Wows Aspinwall -- And The World! 

Liam Berrett, aka Shaler Slim, wows the crowd at Git Outta Yer Baswement II.

Liam Berrett, aka Shaler Slim, prepares to groove at Git Outta Yer Basement!

The second Git Outta Yer Basement! recital by my guitar students Sunday, April 19, was a big success (if I do say so myself). The participants displayed poise, performing savvy and technical skill, despite the fact that most of them have had very little experience playing for a live audience.  The crowd was large and appreciative. The sound guy (me) finally got his act together and managed to lessen the turnaround time between each guitarist to no more than 3 or 4 hours (smiley face goes here...).
Finally, Oliver, the lovable canine mascot, greeted everyone outside the venue, spreading joy and good vibes to get things off on the right foot (or the right paw). 
Thanks to everyone who helped make Git Outta Yer Basement II happen. It's worth saying yet again that performing is one aspect of guitar playing that can only be learned by doing. I would urge all my students to try performing at a school talent show or an open mike or to just get together and jam with guitar-playing friends.
Look for another Git Outta Yer Basement! recital in about 9 or 10 months.
And by the way, when I said the event wowed the world, I was drop-dead, stone-cold serious. I e-mailed a friend of mine in Ireland about the event. She e-mailed back: "Sounds great -- wow!"


Second Git Outta Yer Basement! announced for Sunday, April 19 

The second Git Outta Yer Basement! guitar recital will take place at Beans 'n' Cream Sunday, April 19, 1-3 p.m. Already, Peter King's students are practicing feverishly to craft performances that will amaze, delight and astound you -- or your money back! (Admission is free...) Serially, these recitals are a great place to meet your fellow students, hear some musical ideas that might turn your head around and, most importantly, give you a chance to learn how to play in front of an audience in the only way  possible -- by playing in front of an audience!
I had a blast at the first recital, and I can't wait for Round 2.

JP Dockey tearin' it up at the first Git Outta Yer Basement! guitar recital at Aspinwall Beans 'n' Cream in October.

Git Outta Yer Basement! 

Nine of my students were brave enough to perform at the first Git Outta Yer Basement recital at Aspinwall Beans 'n' Cream last Sunday. While most had never performed in public before, they not only survived, but thrived before a packed house of family, friends and random coffee drinkers!  As I tell my students, one of the things I cannot give them in a lesson is the experience of performing for an audience of real, live humanoids. Notes and chords, right hand and left hand, what sounds good and what doesn't -- that  I can show you. But when it comes to making music on a stage, there's no substitute for doing it.
We're already planning the next recital at Beans 'n' Cream, sometime in April. In the meantime, I hope all my students will not only keep practicing in their dens and rec rooms, but will drag themselves out to coffeehouse gigs or open mics or even to a friend's house to jam. That's how we all learn!

What I've been listening to: Newer Paul Simon 

I gave a presentation on Paul Simon's music Sunday at the Cooper-Siegel Library in Fox Chapel, Pa. Naturally, along with reading a lot about Simon over the last month or so, I've been listening to all his music -- from Tom and Jerry on! If you happen to have missed his last few recordings, you don't know what you're missing! In particular, I like You're the One (2000) and So Beautiful or So What (2010). 
Simon just turned 73, and he is still doing some of his best work. The music and the lyrics are beautiful and haunting, with a kind of tragicomic perspective on life that is more complex than the usual popular song, The backing tracks can be melodic, as on "Questions For the Angels" or funky, as on "Hurricane Eye," or both, as on "Darling Lorraine." Simon's method of putting down a backing track first and writing the melody and lyrics to suit, which he began in earnest on Graceland, still sounds modern and refreshingly strange.
Check his later music out. He's still crazy-good after all these years!

Getting there, but still "under construction" 

Hello to All,

At last (as the old song goes), my new Website is up and running. The old one was static for way too long. My apologies if you clicked on it and found news of concerts from six months ago. There are many drab and tedious reasons why this happened (money, of course, is one), but let's not dwell in the virtual past. This new site, while not completely renovated yet, will be consistently up-to-date, conveying all the exciting news that you, as a Peter King fan, live for. My highly trained staff will be posting day and night, 365 days a year and 366 days a leap year. What a fortunate time for you to be alive! (Seriously, I hope you enjoy this Website and find some interesting  information about my own musical life and the wide, wild world of music in general.)

Thanks For Listening,

Previous events

Steve Hackman and The Mendelssohn Choir with special guest Peter King in The Times They Are A-Changin' - The Music of Bob Dylan

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Mr. Smalls, Millvale, PA

Peter King joins renowned conductor/arranger/composer Steve Hackman, the Mendelssohn Choir and a string quintet in an all-Bob Dylan program that re-imagines matchless songs including "Like a Rolling Stone," "Tangled Up in Blue" and "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right." Tickets are available at ticketfly.com or at 844-4-FLY-TIX

Peter King and his Fast Friends Band

House Concert, Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh

More details to follow!

Peter King and his Fast Friends Band

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Wallace's Tap Room, Hotel Indigo, 123 N. Highland Ave., East Liberty, Pittsburgh

Peter King (that’s me) will be performing his songs ("jazzy, easy-going acoustic folk-pop in the vein of vintage James Taylor and Paul Simon" – Post-Gazette) at Wallace's Whiskey Room + Kitchen Tuesday, Sept. 26 (that's tonight)! Expect a little less “easy-going acoustic,” as I’ll be playing plenty of electric guitar, backed by the dynamite Fast Friends Band: Mark Perna, bass; Marc Reisman, harmonica; Eric Kurtzrock, drums/vocals. Elegant, hip, happenin’ Wallace’s serves great dinners and drinks and offers an excellent viewing area for music. Check us out! Thanks, Peter www.peterkingmusic.com www.facebook.com/pkingmusic/

Know My Song Well: Bob Dylan, 1961-1966

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Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Posvar Hall, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan, now 75, was 19 when he arrived in Greenwich Village in the bitter cold winter of 1961. Although Dylan creates fascinating music to this day, he made his boldest mark in the early to mid-sixties, when he transformed the pop soundscape with his matchless topical songs, signature symbolist imagery and leap from acoustic music to raw rock ‘n’ roll. In Dylan’s early career, a smart, confident, determined musician/myth-maker emerges. So does a charged era, from the Folk Revival to the Freedom Rides. Vivid characters – from Joan Baez to Allen Ginsberg to the brash, funny, enigmatic Dylan himself – parade by. And the great songs ring out: “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall,” “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Like a Rolling Stone” and more. Peter King, a well-known Pittsburgh guitar teacher, performer and journalist, will supplement lecture, recordings and videos with his own guitar playing to tell the story of this true American iconoclast.


Peter King with Mark Perna

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The Backstage Bar , 237 7th Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Peter performs old and new originals, as well as distinctive covers of blues, folk and jazz standards. Bassist Mark Perna, Peter's frequent colleague onstage and in the recording studio, will bring the bottom and then some. Come hear some cool sounds, and then check out "Pump Boys and Dinettes" next door in the CLO Cabaret Theater.

Peter King with special guest Mark Perna

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Tavern in the Wall (formerly The Aspinwall Grille), 211 Commercial Ave., Aspinwall, PA 15215

The Post-Gazette calls the music of Aspinwall's Peter King “jazzy, easy-going acoustic folk-pop in the vein of vintage James Taylor and Paul Simon.” The Beaver County Times says, "King has brought a fresh approach to the city’s singer-songwriter scene, with an accessible style that encompasses blues, jazz and Brazilian rhythms.” Joining Peter for his second set will be frequent colleague Mark Perna on bass (Richie Cole, Don Aliquo Sr., Christopher Mark Jones). King and Perna will mix originals -- including new tunes from Peter's upcoming third CD -- with standards from The Beatles to Dylan to B.B. King. The cozy, well-run and delicious Tavern in the Wall is a great place to dine, drink and hear music. Admission is free.

Revolver + 50: Best Beatles album ever?

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Cooper-Siegel Library, 403 Fox Chapel Rd., Pittsburgh, PA 15238

It was 50 years ago today (well, almost) on Aug. 6, 1966, that The Beatles released Revolver – a recording on the short list of the group’s very best music. In fact, some critics and fans rank it even higher than “Sgt. Pepper.” Why do songs like “Taxman,” “Yellow Submarine” and “Eleanor Rigby” still sound catchy, innovative and even profound a half-century after they were made? Gain some new insights through guided listening to the recordings, as well as examples played by the instructor on guitar.

The Beatles in Their Prime: Rubber Soul, Revolver and Sgt. Pepper

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Osher Center, University of Pittsburgh (attendance restricted to Osher members), Oakland (Pittsburgh), PA

Fifty years ago, The Beatles released “Rubber Soul” – the first in a string of three LPs generally regarded as among their very best. “The Beatles in Their Prime” focuses on these three landmark recordings – why Rubber Soul, Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band still sound catchy, innovative and even profound. Through guided listening to the recordings, as well as examples played by the instructor on guitar, this five-session presentation will explore the following topics: - What made the Lennon-McCartney songwriting partnership/rivalry magical -The role of producer George Martin (R.I.P. March 8, 2016), sometimes called “The Fifth Beatle” -The group’s innovative use of emerging recording studio technology - How the band was influenced by Indian ragas, Bob Dylan, musique concrete and the Beach Boys - How cultural currents of the 1960s, from drugs to Eastern religions, shaped The Beatles, and vice-versa

Peter King is a guitar teacher, performer and lecturer who lives in Aspinwall. He worked as a pop and jazz music critic at The Pittsburgh Press and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and earned an M.M. in guitar performance at Duquesne University. He has released two CDs, “The Road to Ubatuba” and “Dancing on a Long Leash” and is recording a third.

Peter King with Mark Perna

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Wallace's Tap Room, Hotel Indigo, 123 N. Highland Ave., East Liberty, Pittsburgh

Fingerstyle guitarist, songwriter and vocalist Peter King performs distinctive interpretations of songs ranging from Beatles to bossas to blues -- plus a few originals. His longtime colleague Mark Perna will join him on upright bass. No cover charge. $6 valet parking and plenty of street parking available. Wallace's Tap Room phone: 412-665-0555.

Peter King with Mark Perna

Saturday Light Brigade, WRCT-FM 88.3 and other SLB affiliates, slbradio.org

Guitarist/vocalist Peter King and bassist Mark Perna perform live on the long-running, award-winning Saturday Light Brigade radio show hosted by Larry Berger. Expect to hear an eclectic mix of original songs -- including several new tunes from Peter's upcoming third CD. slb@slbradio.org/listen 412-586-6300

Peter King, guitar and vocals with bassist Mark Perna

Tavern in the Wall (formerly The Aspinwall Grille), 211 Commercial Ave., Aspinwall, PA 15215

Peter will be doing his distinctive arrangements of tunes from the blues to The Beatles to Brazilian pop, both vocals and solo instrumentals (as in "shut up 'n' play yer guitar"). He'll also play a few new originals and songs from his CDs “The Road to Ubatuba” and “Dancing on a Long Leash.” The Tavern, BTW, is a cozy, classy neighborhood restaurant/bar with consistently tasty food and great service. It was even written up in Esquire, for goodness' sake. It’s a fine place to hear music. Bassist Mark Perna (Don Aliquo, Richie Cole, Christopher Mark Jones) is the Maestro of Low, the Baron of Bottom, the, um, well, he's really good! All this, and no cover charge...

Guitar Styles of the Rich and Famous!

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Shaler North Hills Library, 1822 Mt. Royal Blvd., Glenshaw, PA 15116

This lecture/concert endeavors to explain as well as entertain. Guitar teacher, performer and music historian Peter King (M.M. in guitar performance, Duquesne University), will perform songs by Paul Simon, James Taylor, and Lennon-McCartney. He will also talk about the artists’ lives and music – especially the guitar playing that energizes some of their most famous work, from “Carolina in My Mind” to “Blackbird” to “Something So Right.” All are welcome! The event is free. Registration is requested, though not required. Call 412-486-0211.

Private event: Peter King, solo guitar

University of Pittsburgh , Pittsburgh, PA

Hear three new songs by Peter King -- "Point Breeze," "Johnny Plays Guitar" and "Ollie in Winter," performed  April 30, 2016, on Saturday Light Brigade Radio.

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