A Decibel Disparate: Exposing the community to local artists: musicians, writers, designers, performers, thinkers, who are doing things outside of the “Annapolitan box.” You will find no sailboats or Blue Angels here. This is a place for raw and unique talent. Let us look at our city with a “view askew.” Diversity is life.
By Brianne Leith
Photography by David Adkins
“If you could put ‘The’ in front of my name, write ‘The Alex,’ throughout the whole article…that would be tight.”
Maryland Hall had been kind enough to let us use a room to film Alex Peters performing. To film Alex Peters rip himself open and reveal another person. To film Alex Peters fill us with the Blues. To film Alex Peters soothe us with Folk. To film Alex Peters open us up and reveal how our hearts work.
“I’m going to use my shitty guitar for the video. I used it on my album…and wrote all my songs on it…I love this one…I…appreciate… the other, the nice one.”
Alexander Peters’ head sank down as he began to gently strum his guitar. As his calmingly mellow voice rang out, with a slight twang, he had transformed before my eyes. His right heel lifted and tapped to the beat of his soul wrenching songs. His eyes stayed closed as his body swayed to the right then to the left. Alex’s handsomeness shone through the pain of his songs. The song ended. He opened his eyes slowly. “Cool…Yeah.”
Kyle Stewart stopped filming. He looked at Alex and said, “Ok, we are going to film that song again, so I can get some different angles and close ups. Try to do it exactly the same way.” Alex’s eyes got large and he chuckled, “I don’t think I can do that.” Kyle smiled and jokingly became stern and his voice lowered, “You want to go to Hollywood, son?”
Immediately Alex’s voice dropped and he replied seriously, “No…no I don’t.”
Alex Peters was first interviewed by me in early February as the guitarist of the band Contra. Contra, being an instrumental Progressive Rock band with songs about dinosaurs, that makes me want to smash myself into things for the pure rocking coolness of it, and the juxtaposition of Alex’s solo style, that makes me want to walk in a field of tall grass and ruminate over life, leaves one wondering about the diversity of Alex.
“My Dad played. So, when I was 15 or 16 years old I started playing. I’m into both styles of music. And Metal is male, testosterone-filled music…I had to let that out.” Alex chuckled; his face masked by an increasing amount of hair, and looked down at his guitar. He looked like he was going to play it while it lay facing him.
“I do not play music to just be successful. I play for myself. It’s an excellent…uhhh…if anything it is a healthy outlet. When I was learning to play, I was developing as a person. Spent a lot of time in my room writing and playing…
It’s a great escape.
It’s almost like a relationship. So much emotion and time goes into it. I love my guitar and I hate it also…And trying to write a song everyday…and it just doesn’t happen.”
But at a quarter of a century, Alexander Peters and Company, have come out with the first album. “It took 6 months to make. It was a really cool process recording my own stuff, then bringing other local musicians in one by one. I’m used to playing solo, and it just became an entity. I recorded with Alex Lakis, the same guy who recorded Contra, and had the album art done by Rick Casali. I’m keeping it local.”
“It’s a ROOSTER on the cover. Roosters represent a new beginning; they wake you in the morning. I guess it’s nice to say a got a big cock on my album…” Alex laughs and hugs his guitar. “…but it’s a rooster.”
A Quarter of A Century is filled with stories of pain, running from the law, traveling and becoming someone better than yourself. “I write chords and melodies until the lyrics come to me. If it is a personal song, it is covered with a story. It’s almost like I was reincarnated from Western times, because I was not born in the country on a farm, but that’s what the lyrics are.”
My favorite song on the album “Go Fish,” happens to be directly from Alex’s life. It is exposed and raw, haunting and relatable. Sung from a broken heart to all of us broken hearts. As he sings each line, a slight echo follows every word.
“She was a lover raised by her brothers,
And I was a killer in the dark,
And though I loved her
Just like no other
She gone and broke my heart”
“She was a heartache
A bone to break
And I was a doctor
too drunk to call.”
His guitar hums with strong strokes. With each reverberation you feel the cave his mind, body and soul are in. You join him in his cage and melt into the despair “So I filled up my cup, I held it up and tossed it to nothing but good love.” I raise my cup to Alex, and so does Annapolis.
Alex has played at different music venues around the city, like 49 West and The Whiskey. “I used to play at a lot of open mic nights, also. Somebody would basically drum with kitchen utensils with me. I play as hard with one person as I do with a stadium. But there is nothing better than playing in a quiet place. I wish there was more room for original music in Annapolis.” Then Carrie from WRNR discovered him. She showed up at his CD release party. “It is really cool of her to be doing the local music spot on WRNR. I harassed the hell out of them until they put me on.” Naptunes happens weeknights at 9pm on 103.1. “That’s how I’m getting to play Saturday. I harass people…that’s the bottom line.”
Now Alexander Peters and Company are playing at Eastport A Rockin on June 25th. This daylong festival happens around the Annapolis Maritime Museum on Back Creek. Alex will be on J stage at 4:50-5:35pm. “It’s my first time playing there. I’m excited about it being an Annapolis Festival.”
Alex’s album A Quarter of A Century is for sale on CDBaby for $9.99. “If you track me down, I will sell it for $5…and give you a hug…or a kiss.” Alex laughs and his eyes squint and shrink to slivers.
His disappearing eyes reminded me, “Why do you have your eyes closed while you sing?”
Alex laughs again, “Other than being completely freaked out that you all were watching me?…it’s part of the escape…being lost in the song…oh and Hollywood hasn’t told me to open my eyes yet.” His sweet smile overcomes his face.
Open your eyes, hearts and ears to Blues/Folk
Open yourself to Alexander Peters.