I met Peter Stone in a comedic setting, practicing improv at the HIT. I knew, however, that there was more shadow to his vibe when an audience member at our show threw out the suggestion, "fascism" and he used the opportunity to give a serious monologue deploring the state of the nation. (This was pre--well--early Pandemic. Before the show, people were sipping from a single flask without a second thought, and I did a whole scene joking about how long one should wash their hands. It was a light and dark and naive time, exactly one week before we all said "oops" and went into lockdown.) As you can probably imagine, I haven't seen him since, though I have followed his support in the fight for the environment and indigenous rights. My (vaxxed and masked) spouse recently returned from HMAC, happy to tell me he had spotted but not spoken to Peter, and my boss positively reviewed his outdoor playing at Cork and Fork, so I imagine my time is nigh. I may even check out his upcoming record release show 5/29.
You may be thinking, we're a full paragraph into this song review, and she hasn't mentioned the song. Here's where I'll let you in on a secret: this is my actual first rodeo when it comes to music review, so my inclination is mostly to tell you how excited I was by the title, "Yellow Breeches." My goodness, do I love that creek, but that's a story for another day. In any case, what's to follow may largely use words not germane to music and will likely use words that are actually about music incorrectly. That's not a problem for me, and I hope it isn't for you because I really want you to know how good this song is.
"Yellow Breeches" opens up with a playful, building guitar riff. At first, I even think, "Oh, shoot, I was hoping for something less upbeat." That issue is resolved nearly immediately when the lyrics introduce the notion of fucking up, proving that the riff is just some slice of mischief. Yes, this is exactly the kind of pensive mood I am looking for in a singer-songwriter at this moment. The real game being played in this guitar part is that it never seems to resolve but continues tripping over itself to move the song forward, very much evoking the feeling of a river, or in this case a creek. Stone's frustrated twang lamenting an inner monologue that "won't shut up" reinforces this sense of perpetual fluid motion. It reminds us that much like time, when we allow thoughts to gain forward momentum, they have a tendency to both overwhelm and sweep away whatever is in their path, making the peace of the present moment--or a still lake--elusive.
I imagine I was a teenager in Central Pennsylvania. (I wasn't.) I imagine myself fighting with a friend or lover by the dam in Borough Park in New Cumberland or sitting by the bank in the snow longing for a bygone summer day during which the water and a River Rat supported me and a Ziploc full of weed and American Spirits in being nowhere in particular at no time in particular. The trajectory of these thoughts is surrender as Stone relents the creek into its final destination, the Chesapeake. In the end, a distant, almost vintage, guitar solo overlays our familiar playful riff, inviting us to let go into a subtly psychedelic headspace.
This song gets the Paris seal of approval. If it's any indication of what the rest of the album is like, I cannot wait to hear more. His new song, "Pacific" drops tomorrow 5/14!