For singer/songwriter Peter Mulvey, music comes alive in cozy coffeeshops, tiny theaters and intimate concert spaces. Having close contact with an audience is important to Mulvey, which is why he’s excited about performing at The Kitchen Sink Recording Studio on March 12.
“Music is a communal experience; always has been for me,” explains Mulvey, whose musical style blends elements of indie folk and rock with jazz and blues. “It’s all I’ve wanted to do since I’ve been a little kid.”
Mulvey’s Santa Fe fans can expect a spontaneous performance that may include some of his old hits as well as songs by friends and iconic songwriters such as Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen.
Mulvey jump-started his career in the early 1990s in his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin while studying at Marquette University. He’s spent the past 20 years performing in both conventional venues and unconventional places, like Boston’s subway system. In 2015 he organized a 12-hour concert on the streets of Cambridge, across the Charles River from Boston.
Personal feelings and experiences are at the root of Mulvey’s original tunes. His most popular song, “Take Down Your Flag,” expresses the outrage he felt when the Confederate flag continued to be flown in Charleston, South Carolina after a white gunman killed nine black members of the city’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in June 2015. Ten days after the song was written more than 100 versions by professional and amateur musicians were uploaded to YouTube.
“I haven’t been writing a lot lately, mostly because I’ve been taking the time to digest everything that’s been happening in the world around me,” Mulvey says. “I’m seeing horrible behavior and a lack of civility. For me, art is about truth, beauty, human decency and compassion. When I start writing again, I know I’ll focus on what always matters to me-people, and their moments of clarity and moments of seeking.”