Train To Key Biscayne
Gandy Dancer Records
While growing up guitarist Peter Ward and his brother were bitten by the blues bug. Influenced by the music of Muddy Waters and Little Walter they would attend as many live concerts as possible. Peter backed Jimmy Rogers, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Lowell Fulson and others when they came to town. Peter later moved to Boston where he often sat in with his brother Michael who had become the bassist with Sugar Ray and The Bluetones and at the time their guitarist was Ronnie Earl.
After Waters died Peter joined his remaining band members Pinetop Perkins, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Calvin “Fuzz” Jones, and Jerry Portnoy, now renamed The Legendary Blues Band, and toured and recorded with them. Peter appears on The Legendary Blues Band’s 1981 recording “Life of Ease” and on their 1982 follow up “Red, Hot ‘N’ Blue”. After getting married Peter retired from performing. Years later after his wife passed Peter gradually got back into playing, songwriting and producing. In 2017 Peter finally released his widely acclaimed solo debut “Blues On My Shoulders”.
“Train To Key Biscayne” is Peter’s follow-up recording. The band includes Peter Ward, guitar, bass and vocals; and Bluestones members Sugar Ray Norcia, harmonica and vocals; Anthony Geraci, piano; Peter’s brother Michael “Mudcat” Ward, bass; and Neil Gouvin, drums. Also included are numerous friends who sit in on twelve new songs written and produced by Peter. The album is recorded, mixed and mastered by Keith Asack at Keep The Edge Studios in Quincy, Ma.
The opening track “The Luther Johnson Thing” pays tribute to the Blues Music Award winning Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson, former Waters sideman, whose own recordings were hugely popular. Peter and the band are joined by Johnson who sings on the track. Peter’s song conveys the joy found in a Johnson performance. “People come and see me when they’re feeling sad, I comfort them and make them feel glad, the blues ain’t easy but at least it’s real, it’s all about how the people feel”.
Harmonica ace Norcia sings on “A Western Sunday Night… I’m headed down to the Knickerbocker” with some rockin’ guitar from Peter and Jiri Nedoma on piano; and on “Things will be better When You Are Mine” with both Nedoma, and saxophonist Aaron Gratzmiller. Once again Norcia sings beautifully on “As Long As I Have A Chance…to romance you” with Geraci joining in with some fabulous piano.
Johnny Nicholas takes the lead vocal on both the title track, and again on “Change, Ain’t Never For The Good”. Vocalist Michelle Willson really rocks on two songs, “I Saw Your Home” and on “The Coffee Song… so good together like sugar and cream” with Hank Walther sitting in on organ.
Peter sings on “Blues Elixir (Ronnie’s Here)” with his old friend Ronnie Earl joining him on guitar. Ronnie states “Peter has been a brother to me since I have known him in 1975, to me, he plays the kind of music that I just love…his music makes me want to pick up the guitar and play…he’s a beautiful person and I think you’ll love this…” Peter sings again on “Something Always Slows Me Down”.
“Supposedly” is a textured instrumental from Peter and the band. Peter’s inventive guitar lines are heard throughout the recording. This highly entertaining album is full of great songs and pleasant surprises.