From the Island
Peter Spencer is a fingerpicking guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Born in Erie, Pennsylvania, he grew up listening to the R&B and hillbilly music played on radio stations like WLAC in Nashville and CKLW in Windsor, Ontario. He began his musical career in 1968 playing harmonica in a blues band in Pittsburgh, but soon switched to solo guitar. Peter spent the 1970s touring North America and Europe playing old blues and ragtime. Then, in the early 1980s, he began writing songs, co-founding the Greenwich Village Musician's Cooperative in NYC, where he worked with artists like Suzanne Vega, John Gorka, Lucy Kaplanski, Cliff Eberhardt, and Jack Hardy. After graduating from The Writing Program at Columbia University in 1989, Peter retired from performing and became a full-time music writer for magazines like Rolling Stone and Sing Out. His book 'World Beat: A Listener's Guide to Contemporary World Music on CD' was published by the Chicago Review Press in 1992. Peter began playing again in the late '90s and his 2000 release, 'New Hope and Wise Virgins' drew critical praise and radio airplay. In 2004 he moved to an island near Seattle, releasing 'Handsignal,' another album of original songs, in 2006. Later that year came 'Gathering Light,' an album of Christmas music for solo guitar, and in 2007 he released 'The Blues Concert,' a stripped-down album of original acoustic blues. Peter has been called a 'guitar wizard' by Seattle's Victory Music News and 'a gifted lyricist with a sharp eye' by the New Jersey Star-Ledger. He tours regularly in the Northeast and throughout the Pacific Northwest and teaches guitar and voice through the Island Music Guild of Bainbridge Island, WA.