Welcome to Peter King's Website. Peter is a Pittsburgh-based performer, guitar teacher (blues, jazz, folk and rock) and music historian. Shows, recordings, lectures and lessons -- Peter's got a lot going on. So click around a little, and you'll probably find something you like!

Quiet Fire - The Music of James Taylor 

                                                              Photo/Timothy White


James Taylor is back with an excellent CD of new original material, "Before This World," just released in June. This summer, I'm teaching several lecture/demonstration classes on JT past and present, including a five-class course at the University of Pittsburgh's Osher Center. While that course is limited to Osher students, anyone (this means you) can attend two other James Taylor presentations I'm teaching at local libraries.
Here are the details:

Saturday, August 15, noon-2 p.m.
Oakmont Carnegie Library
700 Allegheny River Blvd.
Oakmont, PA  15139

Contact: Stephanie Zimble   412.828.9532  

Friday, September 11,  7-9 p.m.
Shaler North Hills Library
1822 Mt. Royal Blvd.
Glenshaw, PA 15116

So what do these classes cover? Here's a brief description:
Quiet Fire – The Music of James Taylor
Hear a few notes from his guitar, and you know it’s James Taylor. Now 67, the writer of “Fire and Rain,” “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” and “Carolina in My Mind” has influenced pop, folk and country music with his unique sense of jazz-tinged chords and syncopated rhythms. Taylor’s back with a brand-new CD, “Before This World.” As with his earlier work, the melodies and harmonies go down easy, but a closer listen reveals nuance, surprise and understated power – qualities that have endeared him not only to fans but to peers including Yo-Yo Ma, Pat Metheny and Mark Knopfler.
Taylor’s socially conscious, sometimes tormented soul has shown itself in songs about drug addiction (“A Junkie’s Lament”) the First Gulf War (“Slap Leather”) and Martin Luther King (“Shed a Little Light”). Other songs draw on his brother’s death (“Enough to Be on Your Way”), his difficult relationship with his father (“Walking Man”) and his family’s seafaring past (“The Frozen Man.”)
Performer, guitar teacher and music journalist Peter King will explore what makes Taylor’s music so original. Through guided listening to Taylor’s recordings as well as to songs played live by the instructor on his guitar, the class will gain a deeper appreciation of the art of Sweet Baby James.

I've given a number of these presentations, and the response has been gratifying. Students come away from the class knowing more about Taylor's life, but -- more important -- able to hear some of his classic material with newly calibrated ears.
Please join me for "Quiet Fire."

Git Outta Yer Basement II Wows Aspinwall -- And The World! 

Liam Berrett, aka Shaler Slim, wows the crowd at Git Outta Yer Baswement II.

Liam Berrett, aka Shaler Slim, prepares to groove at Git Outta Yer Basement!

The second Git Outta Yer Basement! recital by my guitar students Sunday, April 19, was a big success (if I do say so myself). The participants displayed poise, performing savvy and technical skill, despite the fact that most of them have had very little experience playing for a live audience.  The crowd was large and appreciative. The sound guy (me) finally got his act together and managed to lessen the turnaround time between each guitarist to no more than 3 or 4 hours (smiley face goes here...).
Finally, Oliver, the lovable canine mascot, greeted everyone outside the venue, spreading joy and good vibes to get things off on the right foot (or the right paw). 
Thanks to everyone who helped make Git Outta Yer Basement II happen. It's worth saying yet again that performing is one aspect of guitar playing that can only be learned by doing. I would urge all my students to try performing at a school talent show or an open mike or to just get together and jam with guitar-playing friends.
Look for another Git Outta Yer Basement! recital in about 9 or 10 months.
And by the way, when I said the event wowed the world, I was drop-dead, stone-cold serious. I e-mailed a friend of mine in Ireland about the event. She e-mailed back: "Sounds great -- wow!"


Second Git Outta Yer Basement! announced for Sunday, April 19 

The second Git Outta Yer Basement! guitar recital will take place at Beans 'n' Cream Sunday, April 19, 1-3 p.m. Already, Peter King's students are practicing feverishly to craft performances that will amaze, delight and astound you -- or your money back! (Admission is free...) Serially, these recitals are a great place to meet your fellow students, hear some musical ideas that might turn your head around and, most importantly, give you a chance to learn how to play in front of an audience in the only way  possible -- by playing in front of an audience!
I had a blast at the first recital, and I can't wait for Round 2.

JP Dockey tearin' it up at the first Git Outta Yer Basement! guitar recital at Aspinwall Beans 'n' Cream in October.

Git Outta Yer Basement! 

Nine of my students were brave enough to perform at the first Git Outta Yer Basement recital at Aspinwall Beans 'n' Cream last Sunday. While most had never performed in public before, they not only survived, but thrived before a packed house of family, friends and random coffee drinkers!  As I tell my students, one of the things I cannot give them in a lesson is the experience of performing for an audience of real, live humanoids. Notes and chords, right hand and left hand, what sounds good and what doesn't -- that  I can show you. But when it comes to making music on a stage, there's no substitute for doing it.
We're already planning the next recital at Beans 'n' Cream, sometime in April. In the meantime, I hope all my students will not only keep practicing in their dens and rec rooms, but will drag themselves out to coffeehouse gigs or open mics or even to a friend's house to jam. That's how we all learn!

What I've been listening to: Newer Paul Simon 

I gave a presentation on Paul Simon's music Sunday at the Cooper-Siegel Library in Fox Chapel, Pa. Naturally, along with reading a lot about Simon over the last month or so, I've been listening to all his music -- from Tom and Jerry on! If you happen to have missed his last few recordings, you don't know what you're missing! In particular, I like You're the One (2000) and So Beautiful or So What (2010). 
Simon just turned 73, and he is still doing some of his best work. The music and the lyrics are beautiful and haunting, with a kind of tragicomic perspective on life that is more complex than the usual popular song, The backing tracks can be melodic, as on "Questions For the Angels" or funky, as on "Hurricane Eye," or both, as on "Darling Lorraine." Simon's method of putting down a backing track first and writing the melody and lyrics to suit, which he began in earnest on Graceland, still sounds modern and refreshingly strange.
Check his later music out. He's still crazy-good after all these years!

Getting there, but still "under construction" 

Hello to All,

At last (as the old song goes), my new Website is up and running. The old one was static for way too long. My apologies if you clicked on it and found news of concerts from six months ago. There are many drab and tedious reasons why this happened (money, of course, is one), but let's not dwell in the virtual past. This new site, while not completely renovated yet, will be consistently up-to-date, conveying all the exciting news that you, as a Peter King fan, live for. My highly trained staff will be posting day and night, 365 days a year and 366 days a leap year. What a fortunate time for you to be alive! (Seriously, I hope you enjoy this Website and find some interesting  information about my own musical life and the wide, wild world of music in general.)

Thanks For Listening,

Guitar Styles of the Rich and Famous!

 —  —

Shaler North Hills Library, 1822 Mt. Royal Blvd., Glenshaw, PA 15116

This lecture/concert endeavors to explain as well as entertain. Guitar teacher, performer and music historian Peter King (M.M. in guitar performance, Duquesne University), will perform songs by Paul Simon, James Taylor, and Lennon-McCartney. He will also talk about the performers’ lives and music – especially the guitar work that energizes their compositions, from “Carolina in My Mind” to “Blackbird” to “Scarborough Fair.”

All are welcome! Please register by calling 412-486-0211.


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