by Britt Chester

California to Carolina

| | @awfullybrittish

“I had great 20s. It’s been a great decade for me now so I think the next 10 years will be a lot more productive,” said acoustic guitar playing vocalist Alan Peterson regarding his upcoming April birthday. “You cut the fat away “¦ I’ve heard that from a lot of people.”

And cut the fat away he has. Alan Peterson is about to release his latest album, California to Carolina, which finds the High Point native trimming away the excess sounds to deliver a clean, pure version of a style he has spent many years searching for.

“For this new record, the one I am most proud of, we have developed a sound. My acoustic and vocal stays present through the whole thing, and it’s a more uniquely me record,” he said.

Peterson connected with fellow Greensboro musician Jordan Powers (of House of Fools and Roseland, the latter of which is opening the show for Peterson on Friday night) who introduced him to Brandon Hackler of Dynamic Sound Works.

“I was able to just sit back and just be the artist, which is the first time that has happened,” he fondly recalled.

On a previous album Peterson recorded, The Lucky Few, he enlisted the help of session musicians to play on the record. He said he felt as though his voice and the overall sound didn’t really convey the message he was intending.

“I felt like I lost my voice a little bit. The idea of it was kind of overpowered by the other elements in the band. It lost the acoustic guitar sort of feel,” he said.

He brought a copy of the record to share with Powers and Hackler, along with his explanation of the sound he intended to be heard.

“I want people who hear me play at somewhere like Beer Company on Sunday with just me, or just me and the dobro player (Alex McKinney), I want them to hear that in the music even when there is a full band.”

With a specific goal in mind, Peterson, Powers, and Hackler took the album to task, and are now just anxiously awaiting its official release. Peterson described his thoughts on the album, mentioning that there are some little things he would like to change, but that’s to be expected at this stage.

California to Carolina is a turning point for Peterson, partly because of the message he is delivering on the record. His first album was recorded in Los Angeles, and with the latest effort being started and finished within the border of North Carolina, that message is quite literal.

A lot of pre-production went into the recording. Peterson said that in working so closely on rehearsals with Powers, Tommy Scifres, Jack Foster, McKinney, David McLaughlin, Whit Wright and Philip Pennington, the band was able to come into the studio and just hit record.

“We adopted this mentality to not ‘punch’ every snare drum hit. These guys are pros, and we’ve played these songs hundreds of times. You sort of suck the life out of it when you dice it all up. Perfect was never the idea “¦ the idea was capturing the song in its most unique form,” he said.

Peterson has lived in Greensboro for less than three years, and though he hails from the High Point area, he feels like it’s the best proximity to home for him.

Having graduated from Appalachian State University in 2007, he has since worked within the music industry in some way or another. After searching for internships in Nashville and Los Angeles, two competing meccas of music, he found a spot with Special Event Services based out of Winston-Salem and with a Nashville office.

“It’s more lighting, visual and videos stuff, and that’s what I do for a living. I didn’t end up on the audio side, which is odd looking back,” he said.

With Special Event Services, Peterson was able to utilize his knowledge of the industry, both the mechanical logistics of audio and lighting and his educated passion for music as a whole, while traveling alongside acts such as Hootie and the Blowfish.

“As a musician and being able to tour with the bands that I love, I figured that if I can’t be on the stage, I can help. You still get that kind of rush from the show, and the travel, which is a big part of the music that I’m making now,” Peterson said. “I’ve been to a hundred different Greensboro’s, and all of that is what kind of inspired this record.”

Following the release of California to Carolina in Greensboro, which includes three singular appearances at The Blind Tiger, Spice Cantina, and Beer Co., Peterson is taking the show on the road to California for four more shows.

“I’m not the type of artist who will hop in a van and drive to South by Southwest,” he said. “I’ve spent the last six or seven years playing bar gigs and playing 10 to 2 at a bar where people don’t give a shit. Some bands do that and they do it very well. I’m going to play important places. I want to hit key spots.” !


Alan Peterson will release California to Carolina on Friday, March 6. Doors open at 8 p.m., and Roseland is billed to open.