Peter Parcek’s incredibly soulful style weaves blues, rock, folk, and gypsy-jazz. After graduating high-school, he relocated to London during the British Blues Invasion and soaked up the scene. He calls his approach to music Soul Guitar. Peter says, “It is about connecting with the spirit and aspects of being a musician that admit the possibility of other realms and influences. Another way to express it might be the guitar is a window to the soul.”
Buddy Guy said to Peter, “You’re as bad as Eric Clapton. And I know Eric Clapton.” American Blues Scene describes Peter as “a muscular blues-rock behemoth that cuts like a razor on Vaseline – Parcek is a blues original who is deeply inspired by first-hand encounters with everyone from Delta progenitor Skip James to British Invasion guitar master Peter Green.”
You can check out Peter performing throughout the local Boston music scene and beyond.
What did you learn from Skip James and the other blues masters? You saw a number of them perform?
I was very lucky to experience a number of blues masters live. What I learned from each is possibly incalculable and their inspiration lives within me. I’ll do my best and I hope this helps. From Skip James I learned to cultivate a high artistic standard and to admit the possibility of the celestial arriving in a room. Ectoplasmic with ghostly harmonics. He used to say, “Please don’t perambulate and converse when Mr. Skip is doing his art.”
B.B. King taught me how to make the guitar sing with vibrato, gentleness, integrity, and character. He taught me how to meld your influences into a truly individual voice and how to represent the music. He masterfully balanced the interplay between the guitar and the voice. Freddie King brought intensity, focus, tone, and power. He beautifully balanced between the guitar and voice. He taught me how to have high energy, blues depth of feeling, and how to be a Texas Cannonball. Albert King had micro tonal bends and vibrato. He had amazing bends and taught me how to be a Velvet Bulldozer.
Buddy Guy makes the guitar speak whether it is situated in the rafters, behind your back, or at a table with a pretty girl. He also taught me how to go from a whisper to a scream and back. Hubert Sumlin had the power and mystery of vibrato, glissandos, slurs, and unique phrasing. The importance of mentoring, Pinetop Perkins said, “I like it when the guitar player gets up my a—. When I look at you, I want you to play. I love this boy; he puts me in the mind of Stevie Ray.” Albert Collins taught me the tonal brilliance of the Telecaster, intensity, and tonic note thunder. Otis Rush was pure vocal soul, guitar vibrato, and deep blues in a modern format. Cobra Recordings! Wayne Bennett taught me how to combine sophisticated Jazz chords and harmony with deep blues feeling and soul.
Robert Lockwood Jr was an incredible meeting between jazz harmony, chord voicing, and Robert Johnson. He taught me how to back up a harmonica player. Son Seals was all about how to be a gunslinger. Walk the walk, talk the talk. “Son, you sounded good.” Koko Taylor said, “You’re outta sight, way up in there.”
Roy Buchanan taught me the tonal possibilities of the Telecaster part two, the importance of touch and dynamics, and how to grab your audience and hold them with your guitar. Stevie Ray Vaughan had incredible soul, power, and touch. Mike Bloomfield had early Telecaster magic and later Les Paul beauty.
Ronnie Earl taught me how to marry deep soul with incredible dynamics. Duke Robillard showed me the importance of musical range and how to seamlessly marry blues, swing, jazz, rockabilly and more.
How about Muddy Waters?
The first two records that I purchased with my own money were Howlin’ Wolf’s Moanin’ In The Moonlight and The Best Of Muddy Waters on Chess. These records were transformative. They absolutely shaped what I hoped to do with my life. Muddy Waters magically and impressively combined “the ghost of electricity” and ancient blues lineage in an incredibly creative and highly influential new way. He created and mastered the concept of the electric blues combo. His singing, slide playing, phrasing, and incredible soul will resonate as long as there are human beings with ears to hear and souls to feel.
What was it like moving to London and seeing the British Invasion first-hand?
Incredibly inspiring. Especially Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones as well as a number of greats who aren’t as well-known. The people I heard and met took the blues seriously as an art form and studied it. They respected the people who made the art. They made their own statement inspired by it.
What is your songwriting process like?
It varies. In a way our human condition is the blues. Current situations as well as events throughout history give one the blues. The potential downside of my approach is that it might not necessarily make for “party blues” in some instances.
You define your playing as “Soul Guitar.” Can you talk about this?
Yes. It is about connecting with the spirit and aspects of being a musician that admit the possibility of other realms and influences. Another way to express it might be the guitar is a window to the soul.
What else do you want to accomplish?
I have a number of goals. I want to keep improving as a musician and artist. Music is an infinite search, and blues is a lineage. I want to keep learning and getting better at playing the guitar, singing, songwriting, arranging, and being more expressive. I would love to have the opportunity to play more often live, to tour, and play/record with artists I admire. I would like to make my next album one for the ages. I have a lot of songs written and arranged for it. My fingers are crossed with prayers offered.
Can you talk about your Instagram account that honors blues musicians?
I am a fan of music and the art form. I don’t pretend to be an expert. I’m just trying to do something good within social media; honoring and keeping the music and creators alive and perhaps introducing some of them to folks who may not have encountered certain greats before. I couldn’t play a note if it weren’t for all the masters that I learned from in person and on record. I just want to do good with the time I have left on this planet. Thanks so much Brant and American Blues Scene. You guys are the best! Thank you for all you do for the music and the musicians.