Music I Am #7 – Peter Yates, composer-guitarist

The moment when you knew you wanted to be a musician:

Tomorrow morning – as I sit down [or stand] to practice.

An important skill for a career in music that does not have anything to do with an instrument or making music:

The sense, or rather the ‘conceit’, that there are things that ‘need’ doing, that the world needs to hear, that you’ve been waiting for and are getting tired of not encountering. So, you do it yourself. It helps if it seems risky – as in not what you’re ‘supposed’ to be doing.

Two ways you stay motivated:

First is an awareness that the ‘glow’ we seek in music is, while elusive, always closer by a single step. Blend is an example – minute adjustments in voicing of parts or layers reliably pay huge dividends in ‘matteringness’. It’s like free money, every time. Second is the conceit mentioned above – the need to do the undone.

Latest album or recording project:

My ‘sell-out’ holiday album, The 12-Tones of Christmas, currently being engraved, and soon to be recorded.

4a.     What inspired it:

Aaron Larget-Caplan’s ‘New Lullaby Project’.

4b.     Who’s on it:

Me. It is my rare foray into truly solo guitar composition and performance. For more typical, collaborative projects, see ‘PopArt Songs vol. 1 [], or my many posts at youtube/peterfyates

How do you discover new music?

By thinking, composing, and performing.

One living and one dead musician that deserves more attention:

Dead: Juan Vasquez [16th-century] Songs derived from his madrigals, as intabulated for vihuela by Miguel de Fuenllana.

Living: Peter Yates. I don’t need more attention, though my stuff rewards attention. I know this mainly from collaborating on it with other musicians. Also, in the days of cars with CD players, I’d give discs to musicians to play on their drives from LA to San Francisco. With [again, in those days] not much else to do, they’d get the message. A third example is a guy who had a crush on my singer, so he followed my stuff closely, got hooked.

Where can we find you online? – California Guitar Archives



Peter F. Yates – woodcut with yucca

Peter F. Yates Mask

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