Jesse Peters on the piano at an arts council concert series performance.

Jesse Peters on the piano at an arts council concert series performance.

Strings and swing

Jesse Peters and Lizzy Hoyt put on a phenomenal show for a small crowd as part of the 2014 arts council concert series.

Jesse Peters is charming and funnier than I expected in person.

Chatting in the lounge before the show, Peters was cracking jokes and telling funny stories while I asked him and Lizzy Hoyt a few questions.

Playing music since he was five years old, Peters grew up in Whitehorse, Yukon, where he said he had the “quintessential Canadian childhood” with a skating rink in the backyard.

Both of Peters’ parents were musical and he describes his father’s voice as a “beautiful tenor.” His father also played guitar.

His mother, a flute player and teacher, heads up the agency which represents him now, Magnum Opus.

On stage, Peters was every bit the sexy crooner I expected. His voice and piano are fantastic – full stop.

From some classic jazz tunes to a beatboxing solo, Peters has depth and style.

The show started off with a set by Lizzy Hoyt, a talented vocalist, with a strong, high voice. She played the violin, the guitar and the harp and threw in some fantastic tap shoe accompaniment to round out her opening.

Lizzy Hoyt is sweet, which fits well with her musical celtic folk style, and also grew up under musical parents, but in Edmonton, Alberta.

The two are teaming up for what is their third tour together.

Their first two tours were Christmas shows, with the commonality of Christmas music helping them mesh their very different musical styles.

“It just seemed to be very organic and easy,” said Hoyt.

Teaming the very different musicians up for these tours was the idea of Travis Switzer, the bass player accompanying them.

Switzer played upright bass with Hoyt and electric bass with Peters.

There were two other musicians on stage as well:  Drummer, Tom Bennett and mandolin and guitar player Chris Tabbert.

But it was Switzer who was the surprise.

Switzer was the 2013 Canadian Country Music Association Bass Player of the Year and there were a couple of moments on stage where Switzer had an opportunity to shine through.

Switzer ripped the bass apart and put it back together during a solo with Peters in the second set, brilliantly demonstrating just what the instrument can be capable of in the right hands.

But it was another disappointing showing for the Community Arts Council of Fort St. James, with less than 40 people in attendance.

It was a snowy night, but in Fort St. James it is never far to go, so it was unfortunate to see such a low turnout once again.