Episode 126: Brad Peterson
Air date: 12.17.2014
The word ‘maverick’ gets thrown around a lot; politicians, cowboys, designers and others have all been labeled as such when a soul sets itself apart from the mean in order to find out what is truly possible. Singer/songwriter Brad Peterson exemplifies the ethos of the independent, intrepid musician better than almost anyone. Growing up in New Jersey and suburban Chicago, Peterson was experimenting with recording his own original songs as soon as he figured out how to work his tabletop cassette recorder before he was even ten years old. Throughout the late 80s and 90s he evolved through a series of stylistic shifts - from frenetic new wave pop to blue-eyed soul and a kind of nostalgic and organic folky rock - with his powerful and emotive voice establishing an anchor to hold it all together. Over time, his songs got better and he played in a number of bands with increasingly larger spheres of influence. Stages got bigger - as did the crowds in front of them - and Peterson eventually rubbed elbows with some of his heroes; Bono, Jeff Buckley, Sufjan Stevens, Edie Brickell and others. But as the Internet eroded the foundations of the music business in the new millennium, Peterson found it nearly impossible to make a living in music. He had long been recording and releasing albums on his own using the rapidly expanding capabilities of recording software, and he had an epiphany - technology could allow him to continue to turn out incredibly inventive music without being beholden to the traditional model of the music business. By giving away his music, he found himself free as well. After several albums of original material produced completely on his own, Peterson’s style has settled into a catchy and inventive mixture of the Beatles, The Beach Boys and bits of any and everything else that inspires him. His brand new EP, Fleur-de-Lis, finds Peterson’s voice, style and songs as maverick as ever.