Peter Katz was supposed to make a solo acoustic record, but when the likes of Glen Hansard, The Good Lovelies and Melissa McClelland agreed to sing along… plans changed.
Nevertheless, ‘First of the Last to Know’ marks the true arrival of Peter Katz, solo artist. Even with the good company on the record, Peter’s voice and acoustic guitar remain the focal point throughout. After years of touring solo while selling a full-on band record, Katz got tired of the same feedback: “We wish you would make a record that sounds like you playing live”.
Working with long-time friend, tour-mate, singer-songwriter and producer Rob Szabo, the two looked at every aspect of Peter’s songs. “There were some definite tense moments, but I knew Rob was right and I had to put my ego aside and learn. We worked and worked and worked, just on the barebones of the songs and of the guitar and vocals, making sure every last word, every note, every groove, every picking pattern, every tempo was exactly where it needed to be,” Katz says.
When it came time to finally record, they set up shop at the Barn Window Studio on the escarpment outside Hamilton. “I didn’t want to be in a booth and then have to try to add vibe using the computer. I wanted the space to inspire, to have its quirks and unique qualities in the moment. There’s no question when I listen to this record, I hear that it was recorded in a big, beautiful barn. I mean, I got to sing while staring out at the night through a huge window… You can’t get that in a booth.”
Expressing both aching sadness and intense joy, Katz’ songs, carried by his passionate, intimate voice, guide us through the gamut of human experience.
If the record leaves you wanting more, he will be continuing his habit of playing 150+ dates a year. If he isn’t already coming to a town near you, drop him a line, he’s known for making an effort to play wherever there are eager ears.