|Busting right out of the gate with steaming full-bore blues, funk, soul and swinging good time music is the Peter V Blues Train and their third album Running Out Of Time hard on the heels of their 2017 album On Track. Led by guitarist-vocalist Peter Veteska (aka Peter V), this stalwart quartet and a few select guests deliver muscular arrangements of seven original tracks and four inspired cover tunes.
The four-piece unit includes Aron Louis Gornish on keyboards and a rhythm section composed of Alex D’Agnese on drums and Sean Graverson on bass. They’re aided by a pair of music heavyweights: Jeff Levine, the keyboard player who led Joe Cocker’s band and worked with Hall & Oates and The Chambers Brothers, and sax player Danny Walsh, who has worked with Gregg Allman, Aerosmith and several jazz superstars. They’re augmented by Tom Adams (piano), Coo moe Jhee (bass), Eddie Jackson (congas and vocals), Gary Neuwirth (harmonica) and Kelley Dewkett (vocals) for one cut each.
The album opener ‘Stay On Track’ sets the tone with a jagged Stratocaster riff augmented by spicy sax and organ fills. Jeff Levine adds barrelhouse piano to a swinging cover of Richard Ray Ferrel’s ‘Cherry On The Cream.’ The saxophone of Danny Walsh meshes perfectly with Peter V’s guitar to intro the lowdown blues, ‘Buzzed Busted & Blue.’ The 1941 blues standard ‘Worried Life Blues,’ is brought kicking and screaming into the 21st century before Peter V takes a few liberties with an Albert King riff to create his own man-cave anthem ‘Running Out Of Time.’ The East coast boys then lay down some great Oakland funk on the hot instrumental ‘Time To Collect.’
The crew has big bunch of fun covering Coasters’ classic ‘Youngblood,’ then the acoustic blues ‘Time For Me To Go,’ slips in as a delightful palette cleanser. Another slow-blues burner, ‘Freedom,’ features Veteska on the fretboard and serves as a follow-up to the tune that comes before as it questions the value of finally being free to miss a lady he still has feelings for. Peter V hands over the lead vocal reigns to Jersey Shore girl Kelley Dewket for a smooth semi acoustic cover of Bonnie Raitt’s hit ‘Love Me Like A Man.’
The smooth soul celebration of life’ Lay Down My Friend,’ was penned as a tribute to Peter V’s old friend and mentor, bluesman and fellow NY Blues Hall Of Fame inductee, Michael Packer, closing the album with some pure blues love power.
Here’s what Peter V has to say:
“I was born in Manhattan in 1959 and grew up in Jamaica Queens. When I was twelve years old, I saw a black Les Paul in the window of a pawn shop. I got a press route delivering papers on a bike. Each week I would drop off a payment on layaway. After a few months of weekly payments, I was able to pick up the guitar that I had dreamed of. Listening to Derek and the Dominos and the Allman Brothers I started teaching myself and learning to play my favorite artists. I performed at my first paying gig at the age of 15. For the remainder of my teenage years and adolescence, I played at numerous bars and clubs throughout New York and Long Island. At the age of 21 I was disenchanted with the music scene, and I decided to step away from it. The next twenty-five years, of my life, I only rarely picked up the guitar. My musical taste changed, as I discovered Jazz, and other genres of music. All this music had a very big influence on my musical growth. When the economy tanked in 2008, I reconnected with my lifelong passion of playing the guitar with a renewed vigor.”
“I really got into my “blues” roots. I also discovered many of the blues greats from the 50’s, as well as, new contemporary blues artists such as Robert Cray. I cut my teeth playing various local blues jams. I was the “new kid on the block” yet I was in my early 50’s. I was encouraged to sing, so that I could get up more often, to play at the local jam events. I took that advice and worked on my vocal skills. Today, I have flourished into a solid “blues” guitarist and vocalist, which helped to create the distinctive sound of the Peter V Blues Train. My musical focus is to create a unique sound of blues music which is more upbeat and influenced by jazz and funk. I write and perform original music, as well as, reinterpretations of lesser known blues classics.”