Peter Katz

    CBC Galaxie Rising Star Award Winner Peter Katz was supposed to make a solo acoustic record… but, when the likes of Academy Award Winner Glen Hansard (The Swell Season, The Frames, ‘Once’), Juno Award Winning Canadian Folk darlings The Good Lovelies, and steel-town siren Melissa McClelland agreed to sing along… plans changed.

    Nevertheless, ‘First of the Last to Know’ marks the true arrival of Peter Katz, solo artist. Even with the good company on the record, Peter’s voice and acoustic guitar remain the focal point throughout.

    After years of touring solo while selling a full-on band record, Katz got tired of the same feedback: “We wish you would make a record that sounds like you playing live”. Katz agrees: “My life is touring, and I’m dedicated to that, but at a certain point your record needs to do some leg-work for you. If the only way you can win someone over is live, then you need to go back to the drawing board and make a better record.”

    Working with long-time friend, tour-mate, singer-songwriter and producer Rob Szabo, the two scheduled regular meetings for 4 months, looking at every aspect of Peter’s songs. “There were some definite tense moments, but I knew Rob was right and I had to put my ego aside and learn. We worked and worked and worked, just on the barebones of the songs and of the guitar and vocals, making sure every last word, every note, every groove, every picking pattern, every tempo was exactly where it needed to be. It was an amazing and awful experience,” Katz says with a smile.

    When it came time to finally record, they set up shop at the gorgeous Barn Window Studio on the escarpment outside Hamilton. “I didn’t want to be in a booth and then have to try to add vibe using the computer. I wanted the space to inspire, to have its quirks and unique qualities in the moment. There’s no question when I listen to this record, I hear that it was recorded in a big, beautiful barn. I mean, I got to sing while staring out at the night through a huge glass window… You can’t get that in a booth.”

    One aspect of Katz’s sound that remains true from his very first demos is his dedication to telling powerful stories. The stunning ‘Oliver’s Tune’ is inspired by a CBC interview with the late Oliver Schroer, a Canadian fiddle player who passed away from Leukemia but decided to play one final concert a month before he died. ‘The Fence’ is a haunting song that imagines the experience of Matthew Shepard, the Laramie, Wyoming student who was tied to a fence and left to die one night because he was gay. And the soaring, cathartic title track, ‘First of the Last to Know,’ explores the story of anyone working to emerge as a fully realized human being.

    Expressing both aching sadness and intense joy, Katz’ songs, carried by his passionate, intimate voice, guide us through the gamut of human experience.

    And if the record leaves you wanting more, he will be continuing his habit of playing 150+ dates a year. With tours already booked throughout Europe and North America heading into 2011, he’s likely coming to a town near you. And if he isn’t, drop him a line, he’s known for making an effort to play wherever there are eager ears.


    Nominated as Emerging Artist of the Year at the 2010 Canadian Folk Music Awards

    “First of the Last to Know” debuted at #1 on the iTunes Singer-Songwriter charts in Canada and has since returned to #1 three more times.

    ‘Dangerous’ was iTunes single of the week for July 27 – August 3rd, 2010

    ‘First of the Last to Know’ was album of the month for April, 2010 at

    ‘First of the Last to Know’ was Top 200 at retail for the first 5 weeks of release in Canada

    Recipient of the FACTOR Emerging Artist Award for ‘First of the Last to Know’

    Nominated for COCA Emerging Artist Award 2009 (national award)

    Winner of the CBC Galaxie Rising Star Award (national award)

    Grand Prize winner at Canadian IndieWeek (over 300 applicants))

    New Album ‘First of the Last to Know’ features appearances by Academy Award Winner Glen Hansard, Melissa McCelland and The Good Lovelies.

    7 successful national tours of Canada since 2006 (150+ dates a year and growing)

    Support spot for the sold-out Swell Season at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto

    2 Tours of the Netherlands (including one opening for Dutch star Lucky Fonz III), 2 tours of the UK (including support spots with Nell Bryden), tour of Ireland, tour dates in Germany and France.

    Invited to record ‘Acadian Driftwood’ with Garth Hudson for upcoming ‘The Band’ tribute album (other artists include The Tragically Hip, Blue Rodeo, etc.)

    Regular national and college radio play, including featured interviews on national programs like ‘As It Happens’ and ‘Go’ and regional programs like ‘Fresh Air’ and ‘Metro Morning’.  Also nationwide charting on college radio stations (including several top 10’s).

    Live performances/interviews on several important Dutch radio programs like 3FM, Kink FM 2 Meter Sessions, Radio 6 Netherlands and the Tros MuziekCafe.

    Over 10,000+ copies of albums sold to date

    Shared the stage with such acts as The Swell Season, The Good Lovelies, Bedouin Soundclash, Craig Cardiff, Danny Michel, Jeremy Fisher, Melissa McClelland, Tokyo Police Club, Murray McLachlan, Dan Mangan and more.

    Earned spots at MIDEM 2009 (France), SXSW, NXNE, CMW, Ottawa Folk Festival, Winterfolk, IndieWeek, SongwriterFest, In the Dead of Winter, CAMfest and more

    Invited by National Arts Center to perform in Vimy France as part of the 90th anniversary re-dedication ceremony (performance for over 10 000 people)


    PRESS QUOTES (selected):

    “One of the most promising songwriters of our time” B.Y.E. Magazine

    “Peter is one of those storytellers who is mastering the key to crafting great pop songs: distilling. He wastes no words, leaves no heads scratched, engages hearts with stories we know, and leaves enough space for listeners to storyboard their own imaginary music videos. Stories of love, respect, gratitude, dangerous lovers, encouragement, following one’s bliss, loneliness, and an incredible tribute to the late “Oliver Schroer“.

    Andy Frank, Roots Music Canada

    “Katz is impressive in his own right. His acoustic style doesn’t languish, but instead slowly entices the listener with personal stories and anecdotes. ‘Carried Away’ finds Caroline Brooks adding an intertwining vocal and the effect is arresting”

    Line of Best Fit

    “A gifted songwriter blessed with a gorgeous, warm voice” See Magazine