Lyric and vocal virtuosity" (Aaron Foster - Chart Attack)
CBC Galaxie Rising Star Award Winner Peter Katz was supposed to make a solo acoustic record... but, when the likes of Academy Award Winner Glen Hansard (The Swell Season, Once), Canadian Folk darlings The Good Lovelies, and steel-town siren Melissa McClelland agreed to sing along... plans changed.
Nevertheless, 'First of the Last to Know' marks the true arrival of Peter Katz, solo artist. Even with the good company on the record, Peter's voice and acoustic guitar remain the focal point throughout. After years of touring solo while selling a full-on band record, Katz got tired of the same feedback: "We wish you would make a record that sounds like you playing live".
Katz agrees: "My life is touring, and I'm dedicated to that, but at a certain point your record needs to do some leg-work for you. If the only way you can win someone over is live, then you need to go back to the drawing board and make a better record."
Working with long-time friend, tour-mate, singer-songwriter and producer Rob Szabo, the two scheduled regular meetings for 4 months, looking at every aspect of Peter's songs. "There were some definite tense moments, but I knew Rob was right and I had to put my ego aside and learn. We worked and worked and worked, just on the barebones of the songs and of the guitar and vocals, making sure every last word, every note, every groove, every picking pattern, every tempo was exactly where it needed to be. It was an amazing and awful experience," Katz says with a smile.
When it came time to finally record, they set up shop at the gorgeous Barn Window Studio on the escarpment outside Hamilton. "I didn't want to be in a booth and then have to try to add vibe using the computer. I wanted the space to inspire, to have its quirks and unique qualities in the moment. There's no question when I listen to this record, I hear that it was recorded in a big, beautiful barn. I mean, I got to sing while staring out at the night through a huge glass window... You can't get that in a booth."
One aspect of Katz's sound that remains true from his very first demos is his dedication to telling powerful stories. The stunning 'Oliver's Tune' is inspired by a CBC interview with the late Oliver Schroer, a Canadian fiddle player who passed away from Leukemia but decided to play one final concert a month before he died. 'The Fence' is a haunting song that imagines the experience of Matthew Shepard, the Laramie, Wyoming student who was tied to a fence and left to die one night because he was gay. And the soaring, cathartic title track, 'First of the Last to Know,' explores the story of anyone working to emerge as a fully realized human being.
Expressing both aching sadness and intense joy, Katz' songs, carried by his passionate, intimate voice, guide us through the gamut of human experience.
And if the record leaves you wanting more, he will be continuing his habit of playing 150+ dates a year. With tours already booked throughout Europe and North America in the first half of 2010, he's likely coming to a town near you. And if he isn't, drop him a line, he's known for making an effort to play wherever there are eager ears.
QUOTES:"Peter Katz has steadily made a great name for himself in the Canadian music industry. His high energy performances, and well-crafted songs make him one of the best live acts I've had come through my club in years. His music seems to strike a chord in people. Combine that with his strong work ethic and it makes me wonder why no one has snatched this guy up yet. If I had the money, I'd put it into his future." Chris Loane, Booker for The Rivoli & Tatoo, Toronto, Ontario
"Beautiful and intimate, More Nights is an album from a young Canadian artist that shows true musical brilliance. More Nights deserves to explode onto the indie rock scene and hopefully gets Peter Katz the credit he deserves for creating such enjoyable, personal folk music" Jordyn Marcellus, Gauntlet
"A gifted, eloquent songwriter" View Mag
"Katz resembles kindred spirit Ron Sexsmith and his subtle acoustic charm, while channeling Hawksley Workman's grief stricken vocals. The music is reinforced by Katz's genuinely heartbreaking take on modern day love-tragedies...More Nights begs the question: why is such a talented songwriter with such well-crafted pop songs still an independent artist?" Jason Gladu, Pop Journalism Magazine
"More Nights is truly worth the expense it took to make...The stark arrangements serve perfectly the singer's penchant for finely crafted lyrics" Bill Adam, Echo Weekly
[Katz] breathes life into Buckley's unique stream of folk music and for a moment garners smiles from those who worshiped the genre. But Katz by no means lives in Buckley's shadow. He carves his own niche in the industry and delivers a unique blend of folk with a vintage sound.. Peter Katz embodies Canadian folk" Andrew Seale, Spill Magazine
"A gifted songwriter blessed with a gorgeous, warm voice" See Magazine
"A great musician who knows the sound(s) he's listening for, maintaining a uniqueness throughout the release" Antoine Tedesco, Scene and Heard
"His lyrics are brilliantly descriptive which allows you to escape into a world that he creates. No lack of talent here" SoulShine
"Few songwriters can lyrically put together songs that seem to speak to everyone, capturing universal moments of emotion. Katz does" Just another song.com
"His awe-inspiring performance and captivating energy are side notes to the level of integrity he performs his art with" Brent Bain, Music Manager
"Peter was a joy to work with, both musically and personally. It is my opinion that Peter has all of the attributes needed to find success in today's competitive music business" Mike Turner, 'Our Lady Peace' guitarist and owner of The Pocket Studios
"I'm looking forward to finding opportunities to help Peter in his career in any way that I can, and would, without hesitation, nudge anyone I met to do the same. I know that, once you hear a few of his tracks, and, should you be so lucky as to meet Peter, you'd very likely feel the same." Christopher Mills, JUNO award winning director (The Tragically Hip, Stars, Sam Roberts...)
"Peter plays as if to a room of millions, but each person feels as if he is playing to them alone. His music and live performances reach people in a very personal way." Dave Stelling, Warner Music