A marriage of funk and soul

“I’ve always wanted to come back and share what Yukoners have helped me build,” says Jesse Peters.

“Hey, you guys got me started and here is where I am and I want to thank you so much.”

The Yukon Arts Centre stage will be a homecoming for Peters and also a family reunion as he is joined by brothers Graeme and Jody. Together, they are Paramedic, a “funk soul” group that has Jesse as the only permanent member.

Rounding out the group will be Travis Switzer, a bass player from Edmonton who is the only other musician to play on his new CD: Love, Doubt and Soul, which will be officially released at the Sunday, April 5 performance.

So, 10 years after launching the successful Peters Drury Trio, where is Peters?

“Coming off a nasty cold,” he says over the phone from his Three Hills, Alberta home.

“I’m trying to get some tea in my system … and Fisherman’s Friend and Ricola and Vicks. I’m pulling out all of the stops.”

A little further back?

“I ended up bouncing around a bit, after college in B.C. to take theology and philosophy. I didn’t think too far ahead, maybe teaching … philosophy has always interested me.

“But I had to decide if I wanted music full-time or study full-time. I decided that music is what I am going to do with my life.”

He now has a steady gig playing at a piano bar in nearby Edmonton and is producing with some Edmonton singers. One of them, Candice Chantrell, is starting to get some airplay.

He has been married now for seven years and they have a two-year-old and one more on the way.

His son has a little guitar and a little piano and … a drum.

“I love Graeme,” he says of his frequent drummer and brother, “but I am not ready for another Graeme.

“But it looks like the drums are what he is gravitating toward.”

In those early days of the Peters Drury Trio, Peters was exposed to a jazz tune with a funk sound to it.

“It caught me and we tried it for the Trio,” he says. “It is not that far a stretch.”

“Funk soul is organic soul music with a contemporary urban edge,” says Peters.

“After my stint with the trio, I played with a soul band and got introduced to B.B. King and Stevie Wonder and James Brown and the Motown stuff.

“Yeah, I just fell in love with it.”

Peters formed Paramedic in December, 2005 and released a CD. It was nominated for a Canadian Music Award and he toured the west. “I was pretty happy, it got radio play.”

This latest CD was produced after just a couple of days in a friend’s home studio. He says Daryl Wilson is “a great engineer and a talented guy”. The two hope to work on more projects together.

For this CD-release concert, the Yukon Arts Centre is arranging for a dance floor. Peters is not sure how it will be done, but he knows it is important.

“We are just four guys with instruments; the audience is the other instrument; they are part of the music.”

Will Peters be jamming around town?

“The band will be in town a couple of days early,” he says, “but our heads will be down, getting ready.

“But there’s good coffee in Whitehorse, so I will have to check it out.”

Tickets for the Sunday, April 5 performance at 7:30 p.m. are available at the Yukon Arts Centre Box Office and Arts Underground.

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