Organic. Unpolished. Deep.
Typically, two of these words could be used to describe the music of Peter Furler. While always a vast well of creativity and theological substance, neither his Newsboys days nor even his first solo effort suggested “unpolished.”
However, after taking some time to decompress from his previous rollercoaster band life and the feverish days of launching a solo career, Peter is strolling down a new path. Hungry for simplicity, thirsty for honesty, Peter backed away from his label and worked on a new project, Sun and Shield. And this time, he’s got company— Dave Ghazarian (Superchick, Audio Adrenaline) on bass and Jeff Irizarry on drums.
“We’re still in the early days yet,” says Peter. “Between Dave and Jeff, Jerry, who runs all my stuff, and my wife, Summer, we’ve got a cool little family team doing what we do. It’s been a lot of fun, because we’re in it for the right reasons. We’re just enjoying this time and this process. It’s kind of like a new beginning, but we’re really savoring things more this time.”
Peter and Dave have been friends and respected colleagues since Dave’s days in Superchick. He was the first guy Peter called to tour with him in support of On Fire. Dave went on to play for Audio Adrenaline for a year; but when his time there was done, he knew where he belonged
“I couldn’t be happier to be back playing with Peter,” Dave shares. “We have great synergy both on- and off-stage. I love Peter’s attitude toward life and music, and it is such a healthy group of guys to be around.”
Drummer Jeff Irizarry is new to the contemporary Christian music scene, but he’s had plenty of experience behind a kit. He has toured and/or recorded with more than 20 bands and artists. Even so, he never expected that simply seeking advice from another seasoned professional would land him here. It started through a mutual friend of Peter and Jeff
“Peter called this friend to ask if he knew any drummers in Nashville,” Jeff recalls. “It wasn’t until eight months later that I sent Peter a performance drum video for advice. He called the next day to ask if I wanted to do rehearsal and one show. At the time I felt like the luckiest drummer in Nashville. I still feel that way, and I’ve learned so much in the past two years touring with Peter.”
Longtime friend and co-writer/producer Steve Taylor joined forces with Furler for the first time since the Newsboys’ gold-certified Adoration album to bring Sun and Shield into the light. Peter credits Taylor for the lyrics for one of his favorite tracks on the new record, “Shame.”
“That’s something he put together,” says Furler, “but when I first had the music for it I didn’t know it was going to go that way. Shame is something that doesn’t get talked about often, and a lot of this record is like that. It’s a deeper record, and by that I mean it’s for those who are looking for something a bit more than the repetitive, ‘I get it on the first listen,’ songs. There’s nothing wrong with that necessarily, but that’s not what we set out to achieve with this record, and ‘Shame’ is a great example of that.”
Another song on the album is a family affair. Peter’s father-in-law, Mylon Le Fevre (Mylon and Broken Heart), provides vocals, which takes it to a new place. Summer Furler joined her husband in penning the song, much to Peter’s delight.
“Well, we’ve been married for 23 years, so we get on pretty well,” he says. “We’ve written other songs together. It just kind of happens naturally. I’m in the studio, just playing the beginning riff, mumbling around, trying to come up with something. She stuck her head in the door and said, ‘Hey, I’ve got an idea. This is how it goes.’ And it went from there. She added a lot to it.”
Sun and Shield is indicative of the monumental evolution — though still in its infancy — of Peter’s solo efforts. Trusting the lyric and the musicality of each track to stand on their own, the record captures a seasoned artist preserving the integrity of his craft rather than entrusting it to production. Much like his life overall, the music, the faith and the message of Peter Furler Band resonate with effortless artistry and undeniable faith.
“With On Fire, I was running with the same fuel in the tank that I had for many years. Instead of using the same process of making a record this time, I walked in to the studio and just laid down a track of my vocals with a guitar; and the band kind of played around that,” says Peter. “So it was very organic, dynamic. Very unpolished and not reliant on software or anything… It’s kind of like capturing the right photo at the right time. I would compare the two like this: On Fire is more like getting a photo and putting treatments on it for effect. There’s nothing wrong with that; it’s an art form in itself. But this one is more like strapping a camera on your back, heading off somewhere and trying to just capture that great moment.”