PETER GALPERIN
Just Might Get It Right
(Jetty Records)

 

Based in uptown Manhattan in good old New York, singer-songwriter Peter Galperin released Just Might Get It Right in 2014. The follow up to his critically acclaimed 2013 album A Disposable Life, Galperin’s new five song EP takes a left turn at the George Washington Bridge and heads south to Nashville. With production assistance by Chip Hardy, Just Might Get It Right features Peter backed up by a solid crew of seasoned music city session guys including the well rounded guitars of Smith Curry, keyboards by Dane Bryant, bassist Rod Lewis and the rock solid drumming of Tim Grogan. Living up to the Nashville name on the recording sessions, these new country-rock flavored Galperin songs have a cutting edge pop sound in a similar realm as Roy Orbison’s late period tracks. Compared to Galperin's socially satirical vision on A Disposable Life, the five track Just Might Get It Right takes a look into songs of lost love and renewed hope. With the accent on memorable pop hooks, Just Might Get It Right combines rock and country and comes up with a new kind of 21st century Urbane Country sound. The songs are each memorable, the production first rate and there’s plenty of listening pleasure on top for fans of Galperin’s earlier releases, as well as those new to the man. One can only wish him well as he builds upon the chance to bring his music far and wide. A man with a plan, Peter Galperin tells mwe3.com, ‘Building my song catalog is my priority so I’m writing new songs and trying to get better and better at it by always striving for that old-time country song adage: “three chords and the truth”. www.PeterGalperin.com

 

mwe3.com presents an interview with
PETER GALPERIN



mwe3: You just released a new CD EP called Just Might Get It Right. How would you compare it to your 2013 album A Disposable Life and also why just five songs this time? The EP format is great but in this case, it always leaves you wanting more. Would one of the differences be that the new album was recorded in Nashville and how did Nashville influence the recording and sound of Just Might Get It Right?

Peter Galperin: Wanting more is a good thing, right? Originally I thought I’d record a few more songs, but it just seemed that these five tunes worked really well together as a group. Last summer a friend asked me why I hadn’t written any love songs, and I hadn’t realized I’d avoided doing that. So for this CD I tried to write more from the heart than from the head, which is a different approach for me.

My last CD A Disposable Life was very cerebral with songs that talked about things like consumerism, outer space, and dogs. And I recorded this CD in a different way too. I think recording in Nashville and how we recorded made a big difference. The sound of Just Might Get It Right is very live and warm, and the only way to get that is in a studio environment where you capture the energy between the musicians.

mwe3: “Not A Day Goes By” kicks off your new CD. Is that the country music influence and there’s somewhat of a Cajun influence on that track too. There’s some hot dobro, slide and pedal steel on the CD. Can you tell us something about that track and also how did you put the band together that played so well on the CD? What was the chemistry like in the studio?

Peter Galperin: I recorded at The 515 studio in Nashville that my friend Amanda Williams highly recommended to me. The studio is owned and operated by Chip Hardy and Rod Lewis. I told them the types of instrumentation that I was looking for and they put together the players. And this band was truly my personal dream team. We basically recorded the songs live, usually in one or two takes and then added a couple instrumental overdub tracks along with my acoustic guitar, vocals, whistling, and a little harmonica. The musicians were so fun to record with, sometimes I’d forget my vocal cues because I’d get caught up in just listening to them.

Before the recording session we sat down and talked about each song. We listened to my rough demos and to an “inspiration” song. I’d picked out tracks by other performers that I really liked, usually because of the beat or a groove that I wanted these guys to hear. It was a pretty diverse group of songs, for example for “Not A Day Goes By” we listened to Clifton Chenier, and you picked up on that Cajun influence right away. By the way, the dobro, slide and pedal steel was all courtesy of the wonderfully talented Smith Curry.

mwe3: Were certain tracks here based around your real life experiences and when were they written? Is “Another Love” a good example of the real life experiences we all share? Is there a mellotron sound on the track? It’s a great country rock song but it sounds like New York for some reason.

Peter Galperin: I try to write songs that have a universal appeal, I don’t want them to be too specifically about my own life. But all of these songs were written in the past year and when you’re writing from the heart it’s impossible not to pull your own life into it. I believe in the adage that there are three versions to every story; your version, my version, and the truth found somewhere in the middle. “Another Love” is about a failed relationship, but our protagonist (the singer) is taking it in stride and hoping that he has learned something from it, though he’s honest enough with himself to suspect that maybe he hasn’t learned a thing.

That mellotron part, by the incredible Dane Bryant, who played all of the keyboard parts on the CD, is probably my favorite instrumental part on the entire CD! And as far as the country rock influence goes I think instrumentally it’s definitely there, but a good beat is a good beat and Rod Lewis on bass and Tim Grogan on drums were an amazingly tight and inventive rhythm section. I think the two of them have been playing together for over 10 years and they instinctively know how to play off of each other.

mwe3: Who helped you with the production on the CD? I saw Chip Hardy mentioned as production guru and also Andrew Schlesinger receiving credits. The sound and production is quite good throughout the CD. What were some of the details involved in the production side of Just Might Get It Right?

Peter Galperin: Chip Hardy’s involvement was invaluable. He’s an industry legend with song writing and production credits on recordings from Loretta Lynn to Dean Martin and back again. He sat in on every session, directed the show, and was very supportive. He’d hear something in a track or a take that wasn’t quite right and we’d go back and redo or fix it on the spot.

I have to admit that initially I was a bit nervous in taking this approach to recording. I’m not a country singer and I’m a bit of a control freak. On my previous CDs I’d brought in a number of other musicians, but I’d never recorded live with a full band. I'd layer the tracks individually. I’d actually recorded basic guitar and drum tracks for all these songs in New York about 3 months earlier and my initial thinking was that if the Nashville sessions didn’t work out I could always go back to working with those rough New York tracks the way I had done my previous CDs.

But after that first session with Chip and the band I knew that Nashville and The 515 was the right place for these songs. Andrew Schlesinger, who was the mixing engineer on my last CD A Disposable Life, is my security blanket. He’s been involved in my music going back some 25 years and I really trust his instincts, his opinions, and most importantly his ears.

mwe3: “Bring Her Back” gets back to a modern country music influence again. Is that the most country flavored song on the new CD? Did you double track the vocals? I did see that you had a backup singer on the track. There’s a kind of Roy Orbison influence on that track. When you write a song like “Bring Her Back” do you keep singers like Orbison in the back of your mind? How about other country music influences that might have crept in? It’s a real tear-jerker of a song. Roy would be proud of you!

Peter Galperin: Very perceptive Robert... I’ve actually introduced “Bring Her Back” as a “lost classic” by Roy Orbison at some of my live shows. It is probably the most “country” of these songs both in arrangement and lyrically. There’s some slap echo on the lead vocal that adds to that Orbison effect, and all of the songs have background vocals by my friend Sarah Aili, who recently moved from New York to Nashville.

I didn’t realize how sad that song was until I heard it fully recorded. I do listen to some of the edgier contemporary country singers like Eric Church, but at one point in my life I listened almost exclusively to a lot of Patsy Cline and Hank Williams. Those kind of lost love ballads really stick with you.

mwe3: “Hate To Admit It” is another long lost love song. It’s not an American kind of country song per se, instead it sounds kind of French in a way, but the bridge has a kind of 1960’s British invasion kind of sound. I can almost see Marlene Dietrich singing it as a torch song. Plus are there strings on the track too? Do you like writing with strings or brass in mind?

Peter Galperin: I think it’s those minor chords and vocal harmony thirds that give “Hate To Admit It” a bit of a cabaret flare, and the intro and bridge are straight out of the Moody Blues songbook. Plus it’s in a fairly low vocal register so it’s a good song for crooning. I do like the sound of strings and horns, probably because as a kid I played violin in orchestras and chamber groups.

I’ll let you in on a little secret of mine, I’m really bad at doing cover tunes. They never sound even close to the original when I do them. Sometimes when I’m writing an original song I’ll be learning a cover song at the same time, and certain elements of that cover song will morph into my original. For “Hate To Admit It” I was trying to write something in a similar style and sound to Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good”. But because I’m so bad at emulating cover songs no one ever hears the connections, and my original just comes out sounding a little different... in a good way. “French” in this case!

mwe3: “Angel Tonight” gets back to your classic pop sound and is one of your best tracks. I love the optimistic outlook of the song. Is there a moral in the song?

Peter Galperin: Yeah, “Angel Tonight” is the first single and it's actually available online as a free download at bandcamp.com until the CD releases in late November. Once again our protagonist is admitting that life can be tough and unfair at times, and although he might not believe in God or a god, he’s going to hedge his bet just in case he “needs some help at Heaven’s Gate”.

He’s not an atheist, and he’s probably not an agnostic but he’s not quite a believer either. It’s very comforting to think that someone/something is watching over you... it’s a basic childlike instinct even if the reality is that you are completely on your own in this world. On the other hand, it might just be a love song about someone who comes into your life at a dark moment when you needed them the most.

mwe3: How are you planning to get the word out about the Just Might Get It Right CD? Will there be a video for the CD? Do you prefer performance videos or concept videos in this post-MTV music era?

Peter Galperin: I’m going to try to develop a really well done concept video for one or more of these songs. I’d love to partner with a filmmaker who would be interested in doing that with me. The song “Angel Tonight” is actually the closing scene in a play called “Stacked” that I’m currently writing about a songwriter/real estate agent who has to make some tough life decisions for the sake of his soul.

On my last CD, A Disposable Life I created a lyric video for the song “What Are The Odds” that got picked up by the International UFO Museum website (outerplaces.com) resulting in over 5000 youtube views to date. More of that kind of video presentation is something that I’m very interested in pursuing. And I’ll be pitching all of these songs to various TV/Film opportunities. I had some success on my last CD in licensing “Bubblewrap” to a reality TV show.

mwe3: What about live shows? How can you improve the sound and vision of the live in concert experience?

Peter Galperin: I consider myself mainly a songwriter, and most of my live shows are acoustic, sometimes with one or two backup musicians. For some gigs I’ll put together a full band, but managing and rehearsing a band is costly and time consuming and takes time away from my song writing efforts, so that’s really not my focus. As much as I love all the possibilities in the studio recording process, the true strength of a song is really apparent when you perform it with just an acoustic guitar and a voice.

mwe3: Now that you have two full length CDs and this new 5 song CD EP in 2014, what directions are you planning to take your music in next? How do you plan to grow as a composer and a singer- songwriter and take it all to the next level?

Peter Galperin: I’ve got another 14 songs demo’d for the musical Bulldozer that I’ve written about Robert Moses. I’m hoping it will eventually get produced. I may record another group of 5 or 6 songs in Nashville, or maybe in another location like New Orleans, Jamaica, or Brazil. That kind of musical anthropology, what Paul Simon has been doing for years, is very intriguing to me.

I ended up recording Just Might Get It Right in Nashville at The 515 because of people I had met in my life. I want to be open and ready for more of that kind of musical serendipity. In terms of licensing songs, building my song catalog is my priority so I’m writing new songs and trying to get better and better at it by always striving for that old-time country song adage - “three chords and the truth”.

Thanks to Peter Galperin @ www.PeterGalperin.com



 

 
   
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