Wednesday, May 13, 2009
The best singer you've never heard of
Friday night at a local high school I helped Sally with a fundraiser for the education foundation where she works. My role was pretty small. I helped with ticket sales, specifically credit card. I had exactly one opportunity to prove I could do it and I blew it. I ran the guy's credit card and then forgot to give him the tickets he'd just purchased. Sally jumped right in and saved me on that one.
The fundraiser starred Peter Breinholt, a local musician who normally sells out concert halls and venues where he's playing.
Sally and I hadn't heard of him, and I mistakenly thought he was a concert pianist. Imagine my surprise to look in the school auditorium to see a full band doing a rocking warmup. It looked interesting, and the band sounded great.
After the evening Sally and I were left shaking our heads that we hadn't heard of Peter Breinholt. His band is tight and talented, and Breinholt is superbly talented as both musician, singer and songwriter. The reason you haven't heard of him is that he is really popular with the local Latter-day Saints community. You wouldn't have known that from his concert before a couple of hundred adoring fans last Friday, though. There wasn't any overtly Mormon messages from behind the microphone. It was a concert of great music. At times Breinholt moved the audience with his beautiful vocals, other times had them jumping out of their chairs or singing along, especially when he did a medley of '80s songs. The standout to me was a rocking, full-out version of the Jackson Five's "I Want You Back." I think Breinholt should release his version of the song. It could be a big hit.
I went to YouTube and found several videos of Breinholt, but most of them are of the digital camera/30 second snippet variety. The two songs I like the best don't show his band. The second, featuring the beautiful song, "The Water Is Wide," has him backed up by none other than the Mormon Tabernacle Choir!* The first, his own song, "What About," done in the snow before some sort of alpine event, appears to be a lip synch job, but at least it shows his singing and songwriting talents. To my ear Breinholt's voice with his distinctive vibrato sounds closest to that of Glenn Yarbrough of the New Christy Minstrels from over 40 years ago.
The fundraiser was generally considered a flop. The venue would have had to be sold out to make it work, but not that many people showed up. It had more to do with poor promotion for the event than the artist. The people who found out about it and raced in, even a half hour after the concert started, were happy to be there. I guess everyone else just missed out.
I hope they'll try this again. I'd love to see Peter Breinholt and his band with a full audience, yelling, dancing, singing along.
I guess if they really want to sell it out they'll invite the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to back him up.
*My former coworker, Brian, whose brother-in-law is a member of the Choir says they call it "The MoTab".