Peter Karp brings a little Americana to free Redstone series | AspenTimes.com

Peter Karp brings a little Americana to free Redstone series

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

Contributed photoThe Peter Karp Band comes to Redstone to play a free show as part of the Magical Moments Summer Concert Series, from 6-9 p.m. Saturday at the Crystal Club Cafe.

REDSTONE – Former Rolling Stones guitarist Mick Taylor mentions Peter Karp in the same breath as James Taylor and Bob Dylan as musicians who “embody Amer­icana music.” He should know, having collaborated with Karp on his 2004 recording, “The Turning Point.”

“I was immediately attracted to his songs and voice,” Taylor says of Karp. “Finding out he was a great stage performer as well was a pleasant surprise.”

The Peter Karp Band comes to Redstone to play a free show as part of the Magical Moments Summer Concert Series, from 6-9 p.m. Saturday at the Crystal Club Cafe.

“… An underground genius … like Jackson Browne and John Prine, with a healthy dose of blues too…Karp’s a soulful storyteller…” writes Blues Revue Magazine.

Karp finds inspiration in life and in the greats who’ve traveled the troubadours’ path before him. As the son of an Air Force captain, Karp spent his formative years alternating between trailer parks in rural Alabama and the New York City suburb of Leonia, N.J. Before he was even 10, he had been witness to some of the great rock and soul shows of the 1960s at places like The Paramount, The Brooklyn Fox and The NY Academy of Music.

In his late teens, Karp began his professional music career as a songwriter/ keyboardist/guitarist with the critically acclaimed, seminal art blues-punk band, They Came From Houses, a mainstay in the stable of The Underground Music Venue managed by former Rolling Stones/ Yardbird manager Georgio Gramalski.

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Sharing the stage with acts like Marshall Crenshaw, Mink Deville, The Toasters, John Hammond Jr., The Stray Cats, George Thorogood, and David Johansen and scoring a hit on regional radio, Peter walked away from a record contract with Polygram.

“Why? I didn’t like the music business. End of story,” he says in a biography posted on his website – http://www.peterkarp.com.

He abruptly left a commercially promising music career and disappeared for the next 10 years to raise a family, travel and meet people. He continued to work with noted musicians and filmmakers, and also became deeply interested in the rich African-American culture that has flourished for over 200 years in South Carolina’s South Sea Islands. Guided by his friends, the Pazant family of Beaufort, who are cultural ambassadors of the Gullah heritage and descendants of slaves, he immersed himself in learning about the Gullah and its musical roots, taking a trip into parts of the South Sea Islands where the original Geechee language is still spoken. His song Geechee Geechee Wawa is based on his experiences in South Carolina and the deep spiritualism of the people he met there.

Since returning to recording and performing himself, he has headlined and opened for the likes of Levon Helm, John Mayall, Steve Forbert, Hubert Sumlin, Odetta, Pinetop Perkins, Leslie West and Bobby Whitlock.

jstroud@postindependent.com