Peter Bolland - Songs and Stories
Join singer-songwriter Peter Bolland for a solo concert as we gather around the power of song and the stories that inspired them. Vision is a wonderful venue in Mission Valley. It's not a bar or a nightclub, rather, it's a listening and gathering space with a great stage and great sound -- a perfect place for an acoustic singer-songwriter show.
Peter Bolland talks, writes, and sings for a living. It's a pretty funny way to pay the bills, and he feels guilty about it when he thinks of all the people out there doing real, actual work. But not so guilty as to quit and get a real job.
The youngest of three boys, Bolland was raised in a musical family in Ventura, California. "When they brought me home I looked around and realized, oh, everybody here makes noises with pianos and guitars I guess I'll do that too," Bolland said. Playing in bands and duos since the age of 14 and learning how to play convincing covers of every great song ever written in the genres of rock, folk, and country music is a great musical education, he added. And along the way you start to think, hey, maybe I could write a song. So you do. Early on your songs are pretty awful -- just copies of your favorite Jackson Browne and Neil Young songs. But eventually, your own voice rises to the surface.
Bolland joined forces with Mark Jackson in 1990 and released an album called Live at a Better World. Recorded live at a coffee house called A Better World, the album featured originals by both singer-songwriters. Then, under the mentorship of producer Michael Krewitsky, Bolland released his first solo album Frame in 2002. It earned a Best Americana Album nomination at the San Diego Music Awards, a four star review in England's premier music magazine Uncut, and critical acclaim around the country. The A&R guy at Atlantic Records loved the songs, but thought they were too long for radio. He was right. And once he realized how old Bolland was, 44 at the time, he said that he was past his career arc as a pop star. That, too, was correct. Bolland was already working as a philosophy professor at various community colleges around San Diego county at the time, so it was o.k. Music wasn't going to be the sole career, but part of a larger range of creative output. The pattern was set.
In support of that album, Bolland put together a band and The Coyote Problem was born. They recorded their next album Wire in 2005 which went on to win Best Americana Album at the San Diego Music Awards. Two years later their follow up California did the same, and Bolland was gaining a reputation as a songwriter who brought depth, wit, edge, and gravitas to the Americana, alt-country genre.
As Bolland's writing and teaching career expanded, music became a slightly smaller piece of the pie. He was now a full-time professor of philosophy at Southwestern College as well as Humanities Department Chair. The author of two regular columns, A to Zen in Unity Magazine and Stages in the San Diego Troubadour, as well as a popular lecturer at venues like The Osher Institute of Lifelong Learning at SDSU and San Diego Oasis, Bolland found himself having to make time to pick up the guitar.
And he did. Seven years after the release of California, he released the solo album Two Pines in 2014, earning his fourth nomination for Best Americana Album at the San Diego Music Awards and warm reviews from George Varga of the San Diego Union-Tribune, and others.
"To me," Bolland said, "all of my disparate work, my musical performances, my lectures, my classes, my columns, my meditation workshops, my poetry readings, all of it, it all comes from the same place. Songs are little movies. You have three minutes, a few chords, and about 100 words to draw your listener into a deep and moving experience, an experience that heightens their senses, draws out their emotions, and challenges their view of the world by showing them something new, something unexpected. That's exactly what I try to do every time I give a lecture, lead a meditation, or write a column."
$20 at the door