ONE-ON-ON WITH PETER CALO
Linda's guitarist and frequent duet partner, Peter Calo, recently released his latest solo CD, TIME MACHINE. Congratulations, Peter! The EDER-tors of THE VOICE, decided this would be a perfect time to sit down with Peter for an interview.
VOICE: It seems like yesterday that we last interviewed you for THE VOICE, but it was actually in early 2009 not that long after Linda released THE OTHER SIDE OF ME. The years have flown by for us. Have they flown by this quickly for you?
PETER: 2009 seems like a distant memory. Lately I’ve been looking at family photos because a childhood friend from Canada wanted some pictures of my dad. I’m from a small town in Alberta, Canada where my father was the country doctor. He delivered my friend Linda, and she wanted a photo of him. That’s so cool. But in looking at the family photos it was a walk down memory lane. It’s amazing to see how our three girls are growing up. To put it in perspective, I think I starting working with Linda Eder in 1997. That was the year my first daughter, Fiona, was born. She turns 20 this April and is in her second year of college in Canada, which she loves.
VOICE: You’ve logged many, many miles with Linda since 2009. During that time, Linda has released five new CDs, each one very different from the others. Do you have a favorite from among SOUNDTRACK, NOW, CHRISTMAS WHERE YOU ARE, LindaLIVE, and RETRO?
PETER: Well first of all, they are all great CDs with one common denominator… THE VOICE, Linda. She could sing a shopping list into a tin can and she would sound amazing. But if I’d pick out one favorite recording, it would be “Christmas Where You Are.” And one of the reasons is that title song. I think Linda is a great song writer. “Silence of Snow” is another original song of hers and another great song. I appreciate original material. That’s what I’m all about. I love to write both vocal songs and instrumentals. I’ve put out CDs that are instrumental and my current CD, “Time Machine,” is all vocal songs that I’ve written.
VOICE: Back in 2009, we asked you to name your favorite “Linda song.” At that time, you chose “Man of La Mancha.” Do you have a new favorite song now that Linda’s has recorded so many from which to chose?
PETER: Yeah, “Fernando,” just kidding. I like “Till You Come Back to Me” a lot. I love the way Linda sings the song, but also I love how the band backs her up on that one. It’s like a django swing. Or at least that’s how I approach it. But for pure vocal power, I love “I Dreamed a Dream” and “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina.” Outstanding.
VOICE: You told us about all the instruments you play and added that you also like to sing, although you didn’t seem to be all that confident. We now know what an incredible singer you are from your on stage performances with Linda. Did you do anything specific such as lessons to improve your voice and your confidence since that time?
PETER: Well, first of all, thank you for saying so. It’s an honor to sing with Linda. She’s very giving when singing with others. I hope I get to sing other songs with her, though “Fernando” is fun to sing. A few years ago, I finally took some vocal lessons from Ingid Saxon. She teaches a technique that her father David Sorin-Collyer put together. It’s very physical in that David makes you warm up the entire body to make everything work together. So it’s breathing exercises and almost yoga like movement. I really enjoyed my lessons with her. I was studying while working on my CD because I wanted to build up my technique and confidence. Along with the lessons, I’ve been doing more singing gigs for others and my own gigs, and so I’m singing a lot more. I’ve been studying different singers and trying to learn. Right now I’m really into Sam Cooke. Thanks for noticing.
VOICE: LindaLIVE was her first and only live recording to this point. How much fun was it playing for this gig?
PETER: Well, that was fun. It all came together. Joel Moss, the master engineer/producer, recorded the date. The band was all warmed up in tight. Linda was on fire and so was the audience. Billy did a great job producing and mixing. It’s nice to have a live record that sounds so good.
VOICE: Were you amazed at how skillfully Linda was able to “get it right” on the first take of these incredibly difficult songs?
PETER: Oh, yeah. But we expect no less from Linda, right?
VOICE: Absolutely right! Linda has such a huge following all over the world! Why do you think it is so?
PETER: I think quite simply she has one of the best and purest voices on the scene. The vocal power she has is immense. But what I marvel at is how she can sing that big note and then take it to a whisper and still hold the note out. I love it and so do you and so do the many, many fans who come and hear her.
VOICE: What do you appreciate most about Linda in her role as your “boss?”
PETER: Linda’s very cool. She’s not pretentious at all. A lovely person. I like that we are her band. It’s very nice.
VOICE: We were so excited to hear that you finally released your new CD, TIME MACHINE. It was a long time coming. How did you come up with the title?
PETER: Actually, Molly, my youngest daughter, built a box with wires and antennas and “Stuff,” and when we asked her what it was supposed to be, she said, “a time machine.” So Marianne (my wife) said that would be a great title for my CD. So the plan was to make an illustration of the box but when we started on the design, it looked goofy. So we dropped the idea, but we still liked the title, “Time Machine.” The songs talk about different times in my life, and so it still made sense to call the project “Time Machine.” And after all, music is a time machine of sorts. Music takes you to places. Different memories, places, people you were with, etc.
VOICE: Did you write all the songs for this project?
PETER: Yes, I wrote all the songs. Marianne helped with lyrics on a few. She’s great at throwing out lyric ideas.
VOICE: Please talk about your inspiration for some of the songs.
PETER: “Ida’s at the Back Door” is about my home Holden, Alberta where people would come to our back door while we’d be eating dinner because they’d need my dad, the doctor. I remembered this one rather eccentric woman named Ida so I put her in a song. “Elephants Never Forget” was started with me jamming with Molly who was a drummer at the time and one of her interests was elephants. So I wrote a song about how cool and compassionate an animal they are. Did you know October 4th is International Elephant Day? “Every Ordinary Day” was started in Puerto Rico the day my first daughter, Fiona, was born. I was on tour with Carly Simon and Marianne was with me. I know… crazy. I had written “Every Ordinary Day has a miracle contained. It’s a snapshot of your life, a memory you hold tight.” That sat for 17 years and then one day I finished it. For a lot of folks, that’s their favorite song on the CD. In fact, it may be the first single when we do our radio campaign
VOICE: Do you have a favorite song (or more than one) from this CD? Why is it your favorite?
PETER: You know on any given day it changes for whatever reason. They are all my babies. I like the way the CD came out and I’m so happy that people like it. I get a kick when they tell me what their favorite song is.
VOICE: How can fans purchase this CD?
PETER: You can get copies at my website www.petercalo.com, or you can go to itunes, cd baby and Amazon.
Of course, CDs are available at any of my gigs. Or if you’re at a Linda gig, chances are I have copies with me, so ask!!!
VOICE: You’ve been appearing at numerous venues performing songs from TIME MACHINE? How can fans find out where you’ll be playing?
PETER: People can join my mailing list via my website. I also announce gigs on Facebook and Twitter as well. So friend me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. I’m also on Bandintown.
VOICE: You have a long history with Carly Simon. Have you collaborated on any recent projects with her?
PETER: I played music on her Audio Book of her autobiography called “Boy’s In The Trees.” I believe it went to number # 1 on the NY Times booklist. We also filmed a song writers program for British TV, which aired because some English friends were telling me they saw it on the tellie.
VOICE: What current projects do you have in the works?
PETER: I just did an Orchestra gig with Jimmy Webb, one of my favorite people. In April I will be doing the music for a theatre piece called “The Mask of the Jaguar King,” directed by Bram Lewis. Mastering guru, Scott Hull, wants to record a collection of my solo guitar pieces. At the end of Apri,l I will start a radio campaign for “Time Machine” with Lisa Grey, and I am planning dates in Florida, Vancouver, Boston, and Chicago. Hopefully I’ll get over to England. In June, I’ll be doing a week at the Carlyle Room with Sophie B Hawkins. I’m also recording various song writers in my home studio. Miranda Records, a small NY, label also wants to do a CD together. So I better start practicing and writing.
VOICE: Do you have a bucket list of projects you would like to do or people you would like to collaborate with in the future?
PETER: I would like to play with Steve Winwood. He’s one of the reasons I do this for a living. I want to do more writing projects. I want to take the music from my CD “Cowboy Songs” and orchestrate the songs so I can do orchestral gigs. They are fun. I just want to keep playing and have fun doing it. I like writing music for film. I wrote music for “The Conscientious Objector,” which was a documentary that Terry Benedict made about the Desmond Doss, the story of a man who saved 80 lives during a fire battle in World War II. That was made into the film “Hacksaw Ridge” that Terry then produced. It was directed by Mel Gibson and stared Andrew Garfield and was nominated for a Best Picture this year.
VOICE: Where do you see yourself 20 years from now?
PETER: In the woods in Manitoba, breathing the freshest air I can get a hold of. I’d like to have more time to grow a nice vegetable garden. And, of course, I’d be playing music with friends with a nice pinot noir nearby. Is that too much to ask?
VOICE: It sounds like a very nice plan.
PETER: Thank you for inviting me to this interview.
VOICE: It was our pleasure.
You can read much more about Peter in the previous interview he did for THE VOICE.
A special thank you to Lori Zapata for the stage photos of Peter and Peter with Linda Eder!