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INTERVIEW: Michael Peterson

Tell us about ‘Drink, Swear, Steal & Lie’ and why you chose the songs on the album?

2017 marks the 20th anniversary of my first album on Warner-Reprise which had three #1 chart hits from Billboard to CMT. To commemorate this anniversary we made new recordings of my 4 most popular songs. “DRINK SWEAR, STEAL & LIE”, “FROM HERE TO ETERNITY”, “TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE” and “WHEN THE BARTENDER CRIES”.

To round out the album I decided to take the advice of the late Gene Pistilli (Jim Croce, Manhattan Transfer, Randy Travis, Bette Midler) who always used to say to me that “people love to hear their favorite singers sing their favorite songs”. He was always encouraging me to make a record an album of country standards. So I finally did that on this album. As the Musical Director for the #1 show in Branson, Mo. for two years (“RAIDING THE COUNTRY VAULT”) I had the opportunity to perform the classics on this album over 400 times. So I felt good about being able to deliver my version of these as a respectful tribute to the original artists and versions.

The one new song on the album is “BORDERLINE” It is a timely and thoughtful reflection on the topic of borders. Regardless of our individual politics there is a human element to this issue which is beautifully reflected in this timeless song.

Who are your top 5 musical influences?

There are so many that have left a touch on my artist journey. But if I had to pick TODAY I could not leave these 5 off the list. Willie Nelson, Dan Fogelberg, Jim Croce, Roger Miller, The Beatles

What is your most memorable songwriting experience and/or studio session?

Not long ago I had the chance to work with one of my musical heroes: Norbert Putnam.(Elvis, Jimmy Buffett, Dan Fogelberg, Tony Joe White, Mickey Newbury, Joan Baez and more…) Norbert produced an album for Dan Fogelberg called “Netherlands” which profoundly impacted my life on the heels of burying my Dad a week before my High School graduation. That music was the catalyst for me wanting to put into song the feelings I had following my Dad’s suicide.  When I got the chance to work with Norbert I could hardly believe it.

How do you feel country music has changed over the last 20 years?

Country music has changed in the last 20 years as radically as it did from The Carter Family to Eddie Arnold or Dolly Parton. Just my opinion but generally speaking, every generation of young people considers what they grow up with “new” country and what their parents grew up with “old” country. It is going to very interesting to hear what comes next.

How would you say you have evolved as an artist and songwriter over the years?

People who have known me for decades say I am a better singer, writer and entertainer. I feel grateful many of them feel that way. Sometimes I think they are sometimes right. LOL!

What is the best concert you have been to?

Can’t pick just one. The best concerts I ever went to were the ones that moved me emotionally with music, GREAT SINGING, GREAT SONGS, laughter, nostalgia and a GREAT BAND.

If you could have a beer with any band or artist (dead or alive) who would it be?

Roger Miller.

What is next for Michael Peterson?

An album of new material to be produced by Norbert Putnam.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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