Today, Peter One, a 67 year old country-folk musician originally from Cote d’Ivoire now living in Nashville as a US citizen, announces his major label debut solo album Come Back To Me, set for release May 5, on Verve Records. His debut single “Birds Go Die Out Of Sight (Don’t Go Home)” featuring Allison Russell and telling the complex story of yearning to return home as an immigrant, is out today.
Pre-order Come Back To Me and listen to “Birds Go Die Out Of Sight (Don’t Go Home)”
The song was premiered with Rolling Stone who stated, “its buoyant, countryish acoustic guitar riff and lilting rhythm transform Peter One’s impassioned pleas to his friend, with Allison Russell sweetly echoing his calls to “don’t go home.” Rolling Stone continues, “Togetherness is a recurring theme for Peter One, one he says is part of his purpose in making music again.”
Watch live performance video for “Birds Go Die (Out Of Sight)” HERE.
Jason Isbell, with whom Peter has been touring, also told Rolling Stone, “When you hear Peter One singing, it sounds like he’s singing from a place that is not commercialized. He’s singing something he really means…you can tell this man has performed many times for many people…and you feel like you’re seeing somebody who is a legendary singer.”
Peter One also today announces that he will make his Grand Ole Opry stage debut on April 14, as well as appearances at SXSW, Luck Reunion, Big Ears Festival and other US headline dates, below.
Peter shared his sentiments about the new album with Rolling Stone, stating, “I feel lucky. I feel also really, really happy because it’s kind of a revival,” he says. “It’s an opportunity for me to get back to an unfinished job.”
Originally from the Cote d’Ivoire, Peter One was once a star in West Africa, as one half of a duo (alongside his writing partner Jess Sah Bi) who created a seminal folk album Our Garden Needs Its Flowers in 1985. The album gained momentum across the region, and found Peter performing his music for presidents, first ladies, adoring sold-out crowds, and even soundtracking the release of Nelson Mandela from prison in 1990 as shown on the BBC. Peter moved to the United States in the 90s, due to political unrest in his home country in an attempt to pursue his music career stateside. However, due to cost of living, he was forced to switch jobs and has been working in relative obscurity as a nurse first in Delaware, then Tennessee, for the better part of 20 years, until now.
A 2018 re-issue of Our Garden Needs Its Flowers reignited attention on Peter One, with coverage from Pitchfork and Rolling Stone, and now Peter returns to the music scene with a unique blend of Afro-pop and 60s and 70s influenced country-folk soundtracks. The album was co-produced (alongside Peter One) and engineered by Matt Ross-Spang (Jason Isbell, John Prine) and features some of Nashville’s finest musicians including Pat Sansone (Wilco), Ken Coomer (Uncle Tupelo), Paul Niehaus (Calexico), and more. The result is a heartfelt collection of folk songs sung in English, French and Guro, sharing tales of painful divorce, love and loss, as well as reflecting on concepts of the healing power of music, diaspora, immigration and home.
And as anyone who hears the first ebullient, inviting notes of “Cherie Vico” on Peter’s new album will surely tell you, Peter One has once again arrived, and he has brought with him a set of songs that might just transport their listeners to new vistas, new moods, and new modes of experience, because they are the reflection of Peter’s own unpredictable, ever-surprising journey. There is a joyfulness that emanates from so many of the tracks which seems boundless, though even Peter is hard-pressed to account for the source of that joy:
“You know, some scientists, or philosophers, or psychologists,” he says jokingly, “they say that as humans we live several lives, and maybe in a previous life I came across this kind of music—I don’t know. But I really love the way that music is expressed through folk music—all kinds of folk music are really touching to me.”
Also reflective of that immigrant’s journey—again, a resolutely American tale, in more ways than one (Peter became an American citizen in 2008)— is his desire for the quality of his work, his music, to shine through first, whether he sings in Guro, English or French.
“If people love those songs in African languages even more than the English songs, I’ll be really happy because then I know that the music is making the connection.”
Track List - Come Back To Me
Staring Into The Blues
On My Own
Je E Moi Le Piano
Birds Go Die Out of Sight