Join the Mailing List

Step Inside the Loop and Receive the Peter Bolland Newsletter


Upcoming Shows and Talks

  • Aug 22

    Vision: A Center for Spiritual Living

    San Diego

  • Aug 29

    Vision: A Center for Spiritual Living

    San Diego

  • Aug 31

    Oasis San Diego

    La Mesa

  • Sep 8

    The Chopra Center - at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa


  • Sep 13

    Vision: A Center for Spiritual Living

    San Diego

Other Media

Review of Peter Bolland’s album “Two Pines”

Driving around San Francisco yesterday I put in Peter Bolland's new CD Two Pines. It felt like it was coming right out of the ground with the California sound I love so much. I don't like to compare artists, or say they sound like others, but I do know we are influenced by what we love. Two Pines seems to have all of my favorite influences mixed in it -- harmonies that sound like the Byrd's, pedal steel that blends in like The Flying Burrito Brothers, chunky wood guitars with a hint of Neil Young's rhythm, and a warm rich full sound that feels so good on the ears. As I left the city heading to the redwood trees I was stunned by Peter's lyrics and song writing. Peter paints the terrain with words, and tones, his bridges are just at the right time that either lifts and moves the song around the corner, or tears your heart open with a minor key. I believe a songwriter has to have lived before they can truly write believable songs. Peter Bolland has nailed this one, headed to Half Moon Bay, his song about going to the beach brought back my younger days, but inspired me to turn the music up, roll the windows down, and breathe in the wonderful tones of Two Pines.

Peter Bolland and Jay Allen Sanford of the San Diego Reader discuss his new album "Two Pines" and the CD Release Concert

Bare Bones Bolland

“I haven’t made an album in seven years,” says Peter Bolland, whose last two full-lengths with the Coyote Problem earned Best Americana Album trophies at the San Diego Music Awards.

For his upcoming solo full-length Two Pines, “A lot of songs had piled up since 2007 so, when it came time to record a new album, it was pure torture whittling down the list. Did I want a quiet, finger-picking Sunday morning album? Or a driving-hard-through-the-desert vibe? I sat down with my producer Sven-Erik Seaholm and we talked about the approach we wanted to take.”

Taking their inspiration from Neil Young and Tom Petty, “I wanted to build a foundation of three basic elements: bass, drums, and acoustic guitar. That was the frame upon which we going to build these songs. Keep it simple…I played all the guitars myself, acoustic six string, twelve string, and nylon string guitar, electric guitar, lap steel, and Dobro. Sven played a little piano riff on one song. That’s about it. We added on a bunch of other stuff, but in the final mix we stripped it all off and cleaved close to the essence of each song. Anything that got in the way got cut. What’s left is honest to God Americana rock, cut and dried, and bare to the bone. Nothing left but the truth.”

When they’d finished recording, “It felt like something was missing. I needed one more song to tie everything together around a unifying theme. I sat down and wrote a new song called ‘Two Pines,’ about relationships and how people draw strength from each other in tough times. As soon as I wrote it, I knew I had a title song.”

The album debuts June 27 at Mira Mesa’s Unity Center, where Bolland’s band will include Marc Twang (guitar), Jim Reeves (bass), and Bob Sale (drums). Aside from the new songs and Coyote Problem tunes, Bolland promises “a few choice covers, because this band is a bullet train and I can’t wait to turn them loose on my favorite songs by other people, like ‘White Line Fever’ by Merle Haggard. When you stumble on a song that great, you just get out of way and let it rip.”

“It’ll look like I’m fronting the band, but actually I’m just another fan of the way Marc, Jim, and Bob play, and I’ve got the best seat in the house.”

Interview with George Varga of the San Diego Union-Tribune

Link to the original article with video performances of "Drivin' Around" and "On the Bridge."

Peter Bolland's music of higher learning

The veteran singer-songwriter has just released an arresting new album. By day, he heads Southwestern College's Humanities Department

By night, Peter Bolland is a veteran singer-songwriter and San Diego Music Award winner. By day, he is, well, a chair.

“I’m a professor of philosophy and humanities at Southwestern College,” Bolland said. “I’m also the department chair, because nobody else wanted it and it’s something that kind of circles around. It sounds important, but it’s not that important. It’s a great opportunity for me to teach and work with a lot of young people and also have a hand in how the schedule’s put together and I get to call myself a 'chair'."

Under any name, Bolland is an accomplished troubadour whose music is not remotely pedantic.

Witness the absorbing “Two Pines”, his first new album in seven years.

Produced by San Diego music mainstay Sven-Erik Seaholm, its 14 songs combine Bolland’s thoughtful lyrics and warm, conversational vocals with songs that salute Neil Young, Gram Parsons, Jackson Browne and other singer-songwriters who established country-flavored rock in the late 1960s and early ’70s. By turns melancholic and upbeat, it’s a well-crafted work that doesn’t make a single overt reference to the world of academia. Although …

“You know, for me, they’re so interconnected, I really don’t know how to separate them anymore,” said Bolland, who performs a CD release show Friday at the Unity Center. “Whether I’m in front of a classroom working with students, on a stage singing, preparing a presentation, writing a song, planning a show … all this work kind of comes from the same place.”

Bolland laughed when asked if he has ever been inspired by one of his students to write a poignant ballad called, say, “You’re Flunking Out”?

"No, I don’t recall that one," he replied, with an almost straight face.

What he does recall very well is the extended incubation period for "Two Pines," whose rustic music is reflected in its title.

Under any name, the KickStarter-funded "Two Pines" sounds very much like a logical successor to Bolland's previous outings and his work with the award-winning San Diego band The Coyote Problem. He handles all of the vocals, as well as playing acoustic and electric guitar, lap pedal steel, harmonica and more.

"I hadn’t made a record in seven years, since the Coyote Problem’s last album, 'California'; I was kind of on a hiatus for about seven years and a bunch of songs piled up," Bolland said. "So I went to (producer) Sven-Erik Seaholm, who I've worked with before, and planned this new album. The working title was 'Life and Death,' but that was pretentious; we were never going to use that. But when we got done recording all the songs, I needed a title song. so I just sat down and wrote a song called 'Two Pines.'

"There’s a couple of things behind that title. One, in the room where I normally write at home, there’s two pines in my neighbor’s yard, right outside the window. It’s really that simple. I love the mountains, I love the back-country and I love pine trees. I had a great picture that I’d taken up in the Cuyamacas of these two pine trees that I really like and thought we could use it on the album cover. So all these things came together. The (title) song is about two people in a relationship that kind of weather a lot of storms and fires and stay together."

One of the most touching songs on the album is "On the Bridge." It was inspired by the declining health of Bolland's father, who died about a year and a half ago. Its title and its heartfelt chorus -- You can't go on, but you can't stay here -- sensitively address the challenges of dealing with a loved one whose life is unmistakably on the wan.

"My father had Alzheimer’s," Bolland said. "Those last couple of years were really really difficult on my mom and us three boys. It’s like any other family going through this. To lose your patriarch and see their personality vanish before your eyes... The last time I saw him, he seemed particularly absent and yet present. There was this strange way of being here and not being here, and I was really caught by that.

"And you just grab your guitar and that’s where that song, 'On the Bridge,' comes from, being in that place and really giving permission to someone to die. That’s what the hospice nurses worked with us on, especially my mom. You need to tell (your loved one): 'It’s OK to let go.' Because they tend to want to stay here, for you. And it was just past that point. So, what a merciful thing for my mother to lay down with my father and tell him it was okay for him to die. It was really powerful."


Review of Peter Bolland’s album “Two Pines”

Local roots rocker Peter Bolland plays California music, the hybrid style of country-rock ushered in by Neil Young, Gram Parsons, and the early Eagles, among others. Bolland is a master of evoking the unhurried stumble-step of Young’s ballads, the catchiness of the Eagles’ rock hooks, and close harmonies and country-wise feel that made Parsons an icon. He also manages to transcend his influences, giving songs his own flavor.

            Bolland’s last two CDs featured his trio the Coyote Problem, most recently California (yup) in 2007, produced by local studio maestro Sven Erik-Seaholm. He is back with a new solo album, Two Pines, again with Seaholm at the board – a good move, as is recording all of the instruments and vocals himself except for Jim Reeves (bass) and Bob Sale (drums), with Seaholm’s help on piano and banjuke. The disc is a nicely blended palette of 14 Bolland originals, varying from spare to lush.  

            The title tune opens with the ambling drum gait from several slow Young tunes, bringing in acoustic guitar, lap steel, and harp, then Bolland’s deep vocals and richly blended harmonies telling the story about the timelessness of nature, told through two tall, ancient trees. Bolland has a day job as a philosophy and religion professor, but he was once a surfer who enjoyed the party life; “Take Me to the Beach” is a slice of autobiography: “What if I told I was still that kid? Would you carry me over all the things I did?” Some of us who raised hell in youth, then settled, will identify. “My Favorite Song” is a slow ballad with a distinct singer/songwriter vibe, as Bolland is taking stock of his life while on the road. 

            Following a couple of slow tunes, “In the Rain” is an ear-grabbing rocker, burning with the kind of energy that made the Jackson Browne’s “Take it Easy” a hit. Brisk acoustic strumming and sharp harmonies soar high, and Sale’s insistent beat drives the tune as nicely carved electric guitar solos fit the catchy highlight perfectly. The level doesn’t drop as “The Longing” goes for an E Street feel and succeeds: a homesick GI’s lament, “It’s just about a couple of clicks from Fallujah to a soldier’s bed/ I’ll be dreamin’ of home before the pillow ever hits my head.” It nails the angst of the soldier in the distant desert, managing some of the scale of Springsteen’s wall-of-sound anthems, another standout. “Hands” makes three winners in a row, as Bolland sings a memento about key moments of personal spiritual awakening, to one of the catchiest hooks on the disc.

            With “Sand County Time” Bolland saves one of the best to close the disc, a powerful, catchy rocker with beautifully layered guitars, vocals and harmonies; it leaves the listener wanting more. Other memorable songs include “Driving Around” and “Iron Road,” and there’s no real dross – a feat on a 59-minute disc. Front to back, Two Pines is a generous collection of first-class roots rock by Peter Bolland, with much to enjoy for California music lovers.

 Review of The Coyote Problem’s album “California”

The simple presentation and honest sentiment of California is The Coyote Problem at its best – just three men delivering songs that do what great songs do – make you feel the joys and pains of being alive. Singer-songwriter Peter Bolland is, quite simply, in the class of artists like Jackson Browne, Steve Earle and John Hiatt who built Americana before it had a name.

Review of The Coyote Problem’s album “California”

The Coyote Problem obviously knows how to craft a good song. Each tune takes you on a fulfilling journey…

Review of The Coyote Problem’s album “California”

California is a likable, radio-friendly country-rock hybrid…lovely melodies and truly memorable hooks. What’s most remarkable about this album though is how fully integrated the band’s sound is. Yes, Bolland’s slightly raspy vocals are a major component of the band’s sound, but so is the casual, loping rhythm of drummer Danny Cress and the tightly woven interplay between Billy Fritz’s bass and Bolland’s guitar, as are the vocal harmonies of Bolland and Fritz. The band itself has a personality apart from that of its three members. “Into the Mystery” is a good example of that personality. The song opens with a Mexican-tinged guitar opener before Bolland's attractive tenor singing voice takes the lead atop a gently rocking guitar-bass-drums backbeat. "She's Alone Again" is another gem: plush-pile vocal harmonies, gorgeous melodic theme, as is "I Still Believe."

Review of The Coyote Problem's album "Wire":

• Album of the Month on

The Bakersfield gods smile when the Coyote Problem plies their wickedly enjoyable brand of beefy Americana. Lead singer, guitarist & chief songwriter Peter Bolland leads the crunchy, red dirt power trio. Their bio says they trust "the mysterious center of things is best revealed by uncluttered music, direct lyrics and child-like honesty." As manifestos go, this one has my full support. This set is as warm & dangerous as an old flame that blows in on a whim. A few cold ones and who knows where things might lead. Opener "Any Port In A Storm" updates "Take It Easy" drawing water from both of that song's authors, Glen Frey & Jackson Browne. It's one of many tunes on Wire that makes one wonder why Bolland isn't already an industry darling. Might be that he rocks a bit too raunchily especially with a chooglin' CCR like rhythm section like the one here. There's a bit of the classic '70s outlaw country vibe, a touch of Butch Hancock & Rodney Crowell's unvarnished poetry, Johnny Irion's open road sensibilities, a heaping spoonful of vintage boogie a la Savoy Brown & Ozark Mountain Daredevils, and a smidgen of all-over-the-place variety that does Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show proud. Oh sure, the rest of the Golden State's honor roll (Byrds, Gram Parsons, Neil Young, etc.) rear their sun bleached heads but the Coyote Problem isn't retro. With little effort you can imagine these songs brightening up modern radio. If Trisha Yearwood sang "I'll Let Go" it'd already be platinum. And I'm waiting for Bolland to team up with Willie Nelson on a duet version of the hyper infectious one-hitter "It's Always 4:20 Somewhere." They can do it on the Country Music Awards as soon as the Bible Belt gets that hickory stick out of their ass. The divorced-with-dignity "My Way" recalls the Drive-By Truckers, and "Pull Me Through" dusts off western swing in a winning way. There's almost too much to like here. Mainstream country and rock stations could use this kind of rejuvenation. The same flavors still taste mighty fine if someone seasons & stirs them with this level of skill & care. For now, folks around San Diego get to enjoy this Problem but it'd be a damn shame if they didn't reach more ears.

Review of The Coyote Problem's album "Wire":

A masters course in roots rock style…heartfelt songwriting expertise…a perfect soundtrack for a long lonely ride out to the desert.

Review of The Coyote Problem's album "Wire":

Three stars…a fine roots rock debut…easy to enjoy.

Review of The Coyote Problem's album "Wire":

This trio’s second album covers broad ground stylistically, but does it well. Showcasing front man Peter Bolland’s excellent songwriting that spans country to riff-rock to soaring pop, the album is deep in potential singles, particularly the Hammond-drenched “Any Port in a Storm” with the dreamy ballad “We Got High” a close second. Other highpoints include the sweet pedal steel weeper “You’re So Damn Pretty” and the storming “Fit To Be Tied”, a rocker ZZ Top wish they wrote. Best of the fifteen songs here may be the swamp groove of “Goin’ To Vegas” with its piercing and frenzied closing guitar work. But if you’re a fan of Americana and its relations, there’s no shortage of close contenders.

Review of The Coyote Problem's album "Wire":

Wire grabs the real California…full of eccentric characters and sage blowing over the mountains and dry desert air and trailers with a bondo-ed Toyota in the sienna-red lava rock driveway. The Coyote Problem makes each song intelligent, but without tipping its hand. Peter Bolland’s lyric sensibility, crafty guitar work and “right there” vocals blend well with the melodic bass lines and liquid harmonies delivered by Marcia Claire. Drummer Danny Cress comes from the “steady does it school” that’s at the core of every great rock band in the world. The Coyote Problem makes music that is so essentially American you’ll wonder why it isn’t being played on the radio.

Review of Peter Bolland's album "Frame":

Four stars…a collection of beautifully crafted alt-country tunes…

Review of Peter Bolland's album "Frame":

Wise man…young sound…timeless passion, raw emotion and pure drama.

Review of Peter Bolland's album "Frame":

No fancy, specialty-store ingredients were used to create this 12-cut feast. Still, it’s meat-and-potatoes fare prepared by a master chef. Peter Bolland has The Gift.

Review of Peter Bolland's album "Frame":

Grade A…Peter Bolland brings something different to the rock scene – interesting lyrics.

Review of Peter Bolland's album "Frame":

The lap steel resonates, the harmonica is pure Dylan/Neil and the voice is singular and soulful. A fantastic record. I am an instant fan.

Review of Peter Bolland's album "Frame":

If mainstream country fans had more taste than the bumps on their tongues then Peter Bolland would already have hits galore. His work is polished but maintains a barroom rock kick. That is when he isn’t quietly breaking your heart.

Review of Peter Bolland's album "Frame":

Along with his debut album, singer-songwriter Peter Bolland offers a word of advice for listening to his music: “It sounds good loud.” Not only does it sound good loud, it sounds good period.