A little Saturday night jazz

October 8, 2012 – If you haven’t heard of Charlie Peacock, you’re not alone.

The singer-songwriter with the unique sound and prolific lyrics isn’t new on the music scene – he’s entertained his fans since 1976 – but he’s spent the majority of his career behind the scenes as a producer and a session musician, and until Saturday night, I had never heard of him, either.

The Grammy-award winning Peacock, born Charles Ashworth, has worked with various artists, including Amy Grant, Six Pence None the Richer, and Al Green. His performance Saturday night at Philadelphia’s iconic Tin Angel is one I will always remember because that’s when I became his newest fan.

All through his set, which featured Peacock on piano and keyboards, his son Sam Ashworth on guitar, and sax genius Jeff Cofflin, of the Dave Matthews Band, I tried to place who it was Peacock reminded me of, but I kept drawing a blank. Towards the end of the evening it finally hit me. Not only does he resemble Elvis Costello, but they also share a similar sound and style. Friends said they thought he had a sound similar to Sting, which is also a good description.

I wouldn’t consider myself a jazz fan – this style of music often sounds like noise without a melody to me – but Peacock’s style is jazz-fusion, mixing blends of funk, R&B and a little soft rock.

Music critics have noted that Peacock’s sound and lyrical voice is “intelligent, innovative, yet difficult to categorize.” Peacock describes his current release “No Man’s Land” as a blend of jazz, gospel and American folk music, and his live performance showcased several songs off of the new album with a good mix of older tunes that pleased the crowd.

“No Man’s Land” is Peacock’s first studio album in 13 years. It is now available on iTunes, and is definitely worth a listen.

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