WELCOME to Peter Ward's web site, home to blues, swing guitar and western swing music.

Peter just returned from Memphis, where he played a set with Ronnie Earl on stage at the Blues Foundation awards. He toured its Blues Hall of Fame which recently displayed PeeWee Crayton's 1954 Stratocaster (with radio Shack knobs) and Ida Cox's fur stole.

Peter just released the second of two blues CDs — TRAIN to KEY BISCAYNE and BLUES on MY SHOULDERS which all told feature 24 original songs. He's working on new tunes for future projects

Who is Peter Ward?

Born in raised in the French-Canadian hilltown of Lewiston, Maine. For Peter's eighth birthday , his mother gave him an unusual birthday present — a ride on the city street sweeper.

The Beatles stirred up feeling of rock n roll, and Peter went out and got the albums, a Beatles wigs and four Beatle dolls. During summers and after graduating from high school he worked in a sneaker factory, a public works survey crew and textile mill. He listened to blues records, bought a sunburst Gibson ES-330T and worked in a band with his brother, Mudcat. Together or with friends they went to concerts to see Muddy Waters, BB King, Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal, Junior Wells, John Hammond Jr., Eddie Shaw and other artists who performed nearby. They traveled to Boston where there was more blues activity. One night around 1976 at The Loft in Portland, Maine, Peter shyly approached Junior Wells and Buddy Guy at the bar and asked if they knew songs by the late harp virtuoso Little Walter Jacobs. It's a request he said he now knows he would not have made, given that artists who feel unrecognized generally prefer to talk about their own work. But at that time, he was deeply involved in discovering Chess records and was excited by Little Walter.

Well, of course Buddy and Junior knew Walter! When the pair took the stage, they proceeded to play 6 or 7 songs by Walter including "Everything Gonna Be All Right." Then suddenly, the mercurial Guy put his guitar down and walked off the stage. Peter wondered if he was responsible for causing the aborted show. On the other hand, he had just seen a miracle of sorts — two great bluesmen paying tribute to a colleague just 10 year or so after Walter's death.

 After moving to Boston, Peter was awash in blues. He worked in various blues bands. Ronnie Earl graciously allowed him to sit in with Sugar Ray & the Bluetones, which then featured Mudcat on bass. With Sugar or bassist bandleader Sarah Brown, he backed artists such as Jimmy Rogers, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, Sunnyland Slim and Lowell Fulson when they appeared locally.  On a trip to Chicago, he saw close-up musical heroes Louis and Dave Meyers, Floyd Jones, Honeyboy Edwards, Sammy Lawhorn and pianist Willie Mabon. He enjoyed ribs with drummer Fred Below at an after-hours club and (with Mudcat) visited the legend Tampa Red in a nursing home.

 Playing in New York, he was flattered when Otis Rush, after a performance together, told me I played chords "like an old man."

For about a year Peter backed Johnny Copeland who had moved from New York City to Massachusetts and was changing his repertoire from soul to blues. During this time Johnny traded in his  Stratocaster, which he called a "flabbergaster," for a Peavey T-60. The killer band included bassist Michael Merritt and drummer Julian Vaughan.

In 1978, he drove each weekend, often with bassist Arthur King, from Boston to Rochester, N.Y., to play three nights of blues with guitarist-vocalist Joe Beard. Son House had once been Joe's friend and neighbor. The K&T Tavern, also known as the House of Blues before the Blues brothers' entity, was a raucous tough joint. But as long as you were with Joe and the band, you were protected from some of the neighborhood's dangers. Peter stayed alternately with the drummer Charlie Storey or jazz guitarist Sonny Dunbar. 

In the 1980s I toured with the Legendary Blues Band whose members — Joe Willie "Pinetop" Perkins on piano, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith on drums, Calvin "Fuzz" Jones on bass, and Jerry Portnoy on harmonica — had backed the great Muddy Waters. This was like Blues 101. The experience reinforced in me the desire to play blues in a conversational, unhurried way.  The band soon recorded Red Hot and Blues on Rounder Records. It featured the great guitarist Duke Robillard on lead guitar. 

A highlight of the Legendary Blues Band days occurred at the Double Door in Charlotte, N.C. when the iconic Eric Clapton, then on tour of the South, stopped by and sat in for several numbers.

 For 20 years he was married to Mai Cramer, host of a popular blues program on Boston's WGBH-FM every weekend for 24 years. Sadly, she died of breast cancer in 2002. Each year a group of Mai's fans and Peter stage a fundraiser in her honor for charity at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, Mass. Headliners have included Ronnie Earl, Duke Robillard, Jody Williams, Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson, Lurrie Bell, Jody Williams, Ron Levy and Eddie Taylor, Jr.

In 2010, he produced and played drums on Goodbye Liza Jane: Hello Western Swing, a CD of western swing classic songs featuring Herb Remington, an original member of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. I recorded Herb at Sugar Hill Studios in Houston, where George Jones and Lightning Hopkins had recorded early hits. 

In recent years I've penned a bevy of original songs, some of which appeared on my well-received debut release, Blues on My Shoulders. The 13-song CD paid tribute to my musical influences such as Robert Jr. Lockwood, Lonnie Johnson and Chuck Berry. Guests included Ronnie Earl, Sax Gordon Beadle, Sugar Ray Norcia and Monster Mike Welch and, of course, my brother Mudcat.

 A follow-up release, Train to Key Biscayne, was released in April 2019. It features Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson, Ronnie Earl, Johnny Nicholas, Michelle "Evil Gal" Willson, Sugar Ray Norcia, Anthony Geraci and Mudcat Ward.

A second western swing CD is in the works. It will likely feature Bobby Koeffer, the steel guitarist and former member of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys.                                       

                     

"..splashes of electricity like lightning.."

"Plays a chunky rhythmic guitar with splashes of electricity like lightning when he solos throughout . Highly recommended."  — Mike Greenblatt's Rant 'N' Roll

"MAGICAL" — BenVee Roadhouse Blues

"On his second solo musical foray, Peter Ward has simply outdone himself!  The album is well produced and performed; it is entertainment at its finest ...

"All the songs on the album were written by Peter and the mental images he creates with the lyrics and music are magical."

BenVee Roadhouse Blues 

"This is blues that is as real as it gets!"

"A great man once opined that 'the blues ain’t easy, but at least it’s real.'  Fans, with Peter Ward and Train To Key Biscayne, this is blues that is as real as it gets!  Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues And Roots Alliance.

"There is joy in this recording"— Fervor Coulee


"A lot of musical territory covered here."

"Peter Ward’s Train To Key Biscayne is a trip in the best sense. There’s a lot of musical territory covered and each stop along the way on this follow-up to his 2017 release (Blues on My Shoulders) is a rewarding discovery.  ... Peter Ward wrote all twelve of the original blues, ballads and rock tracks that fill this satisfying album."

— Parcbench Live

Peter Hi-Fi Ward

 

"Killer disk!" (Blues on My Shoulders) WBRS-FM

[About Blues on MY Shoulders]: "Warm, winning stuff from a white boy with the blues that's been slinging his guitar for 40 years as a sideman and now steps out in to the light. ... This is one sweetie of an after-hours set that brings the blues without bringing you down. Contemporary while being traditional, this is a set that'll get you paying attention and not wanting to miss a beat" —  Midwest Record of Chicago. 

 

 

New LIVING BLUES review!

Hey! Another rave review.... check it out.

(It's on the  "What They're Saying" page. 

Check Peter out on CD Baby

"Wholeheartedly recommended"

"A veritable super session" — Mike Greenblatt, Aquarian Weekly, New Jersey.