Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Peter Calo Article


By Joe Viglione

Peter Calo was born in a small town in Alberta Canada
and moved to Boston with his family when he was in
high school, 9th grade. At that point in time he took
up the guitar and within two years or so was invited
by the MIT Classical Guitar Society (founded in 1971
by Vo Ta Han) to perform a concert at Kresge
Auditorium in Cambridge. "I started out playing
classical guitar, that was my first love along with
the blues and funk" the guitarist said from his home
in Croton on Hudson, New York in an interview
mid-October, 2005.

By 1982 his jazz band Bellvista released a six song
E.P. followed by his own "Spoonerism" in 1983 and a
track, "Fine Line", on 1985's "Boston Rock & Roll
Anthology Vol. #7" (Varulven), the first real look at
Calo on record performing rock & roll.

With Sarah Caldwell and Leonard Bernstein in
Bernstein's masterpiece, "Mass", Peter Calo was the
only person to have performed both the singing role of
the rock musician in that opera as well as playing the
guitar. "After the performance Leonard Bernstein came
up and gave me a hug as I took my bow - I'm looking
for the photo of that" (in Calo's personal archives).

A mainstay of the Boston scene, Calo was involved as
an original member of both Down Avenue (the band which
had Charles Pettigrew of Charles & Eddie "Would I Lie
To You" fame) and The Heavy Metal Horns. After his
stints with both groups Peter moved to New York where
he began doing session work, producing and eventually
hooked up with Carly Simon, beginning what is now a
ten year relationship with the legendary

Calo noted, on his work with Carly: "we've been
off and on for ten years...the first tour was 1995. I
met her in August - we did an impromptu gig." They
also did a concert taped exclusively for "Lifetime"
and Calo's datebook filled up quickly. Over the years
he's performed on shows with Dobey Gray, Debbie Boone,
Lesley Gore as well as "The New York Voices", a four
piece vocal band which toured with Peter as part of
the backing trio, performing on their 1993 GRP album,
"What's Inside", as well as their 1998 RCA disc "New
York Voices Sing The Songs Of Paul Simon". He also
worked on Carly Simon's 1994 disc "Letter's Never
Sent" (Arista" and her Grammy nominated 1997 disc
"Film Noir". A long-time member of the Broadway show
"Hairspray"'s orchestra, he is on their Grammy winning
2002 cast album on Sony. "He goes to bat for the
artist when he's producing" said well-known Boston
vocalist Pamela Ruby Russell. "He's very inspiring, I
learned so much from him. He's kind, professional,
very organized, great producer ...and a
guitarmaster." Russell also feels that Calo's
musical vocabulary is phenomenal "because he plays in
so many genres, in so many types of music." With so
many accolades a second opinion was needed, so Arts
Media Magazine contacted New York chanteuse Ingrid
Saxon, daughter of Vaudeville star David Sorin-Collyer
- the man who was vocal coach to Bette Midler, Barry
Manilow, Paul Simon and so many others. "It was
awesome recording with him, he's brilliant" said Saxon
- echoing Pamela Russell's sentiments from hundreds of
miles away. "Before we even went into the studio he
came to my voice studio with his equipment, recorded
my rehearsal with Paul Trueblood so that we could hear
it back, and started giving us input. His ears are so
(and) he directed both of us. He really directed us
musically like the third set of ears, it was
incredible." Saxon knows show business, having
appeared on "Ryan's Hope" and "Days Of Our Lives"
soaps, continuing with " He's very encouraging, really
suportive. Peter knows so much about the recording
process - he's been on so many sessions; he knew how
to work with the engineer, work with the pro-tools. He
had every angle covered."

Along with involvement soundtrack to the 1999 Robert
De Niro film "Flawless" and other movies, Calo's
recorded output is becoming voluminous - work with
Linda Eder,
Rosie O'Donnell, Joe Pesci, David Osborne, Kate
Taylor, Kate's nephew Ben Taylor, and, of course,
Ben's mom,
Carly Simon. Which brings us back to Boston and the
Orpheum show, November 19, 2005. Peter Calo will be
performing with opener Ben Taylor - son of both James
Taylor and Carly Simon, as well as with Carly. The
songs, of course, will truly move the audience along
with Simon's presence (her star-power cameo in 2004's
"Little Black Book" made that movie so extra special),
but Calo's signature guitar lines can't be ignored. In
a concert with Mary Gatchell in Epping New Hampshire
in May of 2005 his guitarwork fit with Gatchell's
keyboards so hand-in-glove. Mary Gatchell's "Indigo
Rose" album was produced by Calo, who may tour New
England in 2006 with a number of his acts including
opera singer Adelmo, Ingrid Saxon, Mary Gatchell,
Pamela Ruby Russell and others.

With all this output his own work gets somehow lost in
the shuffle. It shouldn't. Peter Calo's "Cowboy
Song" album is historical and an instant classic that
should be in libraries across the country. The artist
recorded contemporary arrangements of songs from the
American West including "Shenandoah", "Red River
Valley", and "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." A big
departure from his instrumental tribute albums to The
Eagles and The Beatles, two separate discs, on the
North Star label, and his own "Wired To The Moon" and
"Cape Ann" albums. For more information on this
influential and important artist who worked many a
Boston/Cambridge nightclub and theater, go to
1995-2005 Our Tenth Year on Television!
P.O. Box 2392
Woburn, MA 01888


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