Peach is a blues-rock guitarist from Los Angeles. In 2001, she was named Blues Artist of the Year at the LA Music Awards. She is currently writing a song with Keb' Mo'. At the Yard House in Long Beach, she discussed her songs, her love for the guitar, being named Blues Artist of the Year, and working with Taj Mahal.
What inspired you to start writing songs?
That’s an interesting question. I usually only write songs when I’m in a particular state of mind to write one. I’ve written a ton of break-up songs. First the love songs, then the break-up songs. It’s kind of a rut.
It’s actually been a vicious circle.The joke has been that whenever things go badly in my relationships, I should at least get a song out of it. It’s really bad if I’m feeling so badly that I can’t even spit out a song. Then the whole thing seems in vain. If I had been able to keep that sort of momentum as I am in and out of relationships, I would have a lot more songs. Sometimes I would like to write songs about more important things. They end up being things people probably wouldn’t want to hear. Sometimes I’ll write stuff that is never going to see the light of day.
That’s important to do too.
Or play instruments that I would never put on recordings. I play banjo at my house, but I would never play banjo on stage. There are those songs about other topics as well. I wrote a song about Hurricane Katrina. I probably oughta record that. Usually the ones that get recorded are the love songs, then the break-up songs.
Universal. If you’re describing your sound to someone who has never heard your music, how do you describe it? How did you arrive at that particular sound?
I would describe what I do as blues-rock. I would also describe what I do as torch ballads. It’s really two different genres, but people don’t usually think about it that way. How I came to that sound is that I played a lot of guitars my whole life. I came to a point where I just grew to love the electric guitar. I love the sound, the ability of the guitar to bend notes and get different sounds from it. I like a bell-like quality electric guitar sound. Tube amp, guitar, not a lot of messing around with effects. I came to that because that’s what I like. I did go through a lot of fascinations with various artists in my lifetime. Where I would listen intently and study various artists, not just singers or not just guitar players. All kinds of musicians.
You were named Blues Artist of the Year in 2001 at the LA Music Awards. What was your reaction when you found out?
I was really happy and excited because I’d never won any kind of award before. It was an interesting experience. It did a lot of things for me. It made me feel accepted. It gave me some recognition that I’d never had. It was an interesting experience. Then I started to recognize how other artists also struggle with that. Most musicians never get an award. Most musicians are just out there banging their heads against the wall. It just made me aware of how my fellow musicians also are just out there trying to make something work, get the CD together, get the CD played. I’d been struggling, and it was a nice thing. Since then, I’ve gotten several awards. They all have significance in that it’s encouragement and we all need that. Can I try and turn it around and encourage other people as well, and give credit where credit is due to all those who helped me.
Makes sense. I’m a big fan of Taj Mahal. What was it like working with him?
I’ve been a big fan of his for many years also. I was working with Marty Grebb, who produced my record. We were trying to figure out what to do with that song, “The Real Thing.” We came up with the idea of doing it as a duet. Word went out to ask Taj if he could do it. He’d have to hear it and see if it was something he wanted to be involved in. He came to this little studio where I was working. I was truly excited and blown away. I was so excited. He’s very charismatic. He pulled out this incredible guitar. He plays great, he sings great. Later, after we did the recording, he played piano and he is great. He played all this funky stuff. It truly was the thrill of a lifetime. He is a very cool guy, and he carries his own hot sauce.
I had a brief encounter with him. I was at a blues festival in San Diego. I was with a buddy of mine who is a big Taj Mahal fan. He was sitting off to the side of the stage smoking a cigar. My buddy says, “Let’s go talk to him.” I have no idea what I’m going to say to Taj Mahal. He was very approachable. It was impressive.
He’s really a great guy. He carries his own hot salsa. That way, if we take a break and eat at the studio, he can always have the appropriate sauce on hand. He’s a great artist, songwriter. He is very busy. If you ever look up his touring schedule, he’s on the road constantly.