Peter Mulvey is a walking secret handshake. He has been the street-singing kid in Dublin, the man fronting the storming electric band, the conspiratorial spoken-word craftsman, the Tin Pan Alley delver, an instigator in the occasional Redbird collective, and all through it he has remained the traveler out on the road, bringing his music to audiences from Fairbanks to Bilbao, Santa Monica to Montreal, in clubs, theaters, coffeeshops, the Kennedy Center, and old barns.
Mulvey continues to travel, ears open and wide awake, through the unlimited territory of music. Honing his musi- cianship, his phrasing, his ability to inhabit a song, he has come into his own, with a sound full of grit and warmth, at the same time startling and familiar.
His latest record, The Good Stuff (Signature Sounds 2012) is a dazzling tour de force through American song: a standards record -- if the definition of "standard" was left in Mulvey's hands. In his universe, Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk are presumed colleagues of Tom Waits and Jolie Holland. Bill Frisell and Willie Nelson are ob- viously in the same wheelhouse. Bobby Charles is still alive and having coffee with a bemused Leonard Cohen somewhere in the Ninth Ward.
Playing solo, duo (with longtime collaborator David Goodrich) or with his most recent band, the Crumbling Beau- ties, he continues his restless search for the elusive moment when a song comes alive through the alchemical combining of an audience, a performer, and the song itself.
Hayward Williams grew up with a guitar in his hands, performing from an early age in cafés, bars, and eventually rock clubs throughout his home state of Wisconsin and around the Midwest. A high school 'Battle of the Bands' champion, the textbook lonely college kid making dinner dates with his guitar, Williams took the well-worn suburban route to musical accomplishment: he hit the ground running with a '64 Gibson that his mother bought at a garage sale, listened hard to everything from the Beatles to Buckley, and somewhere along the way began to write the tunes that would become his own voice.
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