Rhythm and blues, soul and rock and roll musician Peter Wolf has been delivering us his cure for loneliness, music, since the late 1960s when he started djing on Boston’s WBCN radio station. Now, at the age of 70, he brings us his thesis on music’s therapeutic power, A Cure for Loneliness, which was released in April with Concord Records.
“The cure for loneliness for me is music,” Wolf said. “It’s been a support. When things were going rough, music sort of helped me out. When things were going good, music sort of helped me out.
“And I find [that] the artists that I love, the record collection that I have, making music, the musician friends that I have, spending so much time in my life with music, it became an interesting title for me. Because as the landscape of the musical world starts changing I realized that one thing that remained constant for me was my love and joy of listening to music and seeing good bands. That still remained the same.”
Wolf is bringing his cure for loneliness to Alexandria and the rest of the Washington, D.C. region on Wednesday, June 1 for a date at The Birchmere.
He said that the tour, which started around the same time of the early-April release of his record, has been going well so far, but that he and his band are looking forward to coming to The Birchmere.
“The Birchmere is, for me, one of the more unique rooms to play because it seems to put all of its energy on the music,” Wolf said. “The acoustics are great, the people treat you great, it’s a comfortable room. The audience seems to have great sight lines, so it’s a place I’m looking forward to returning to.”
The last time that Wolf came to the area was 2013, when he played a few dates in the region, including at The Birchmere and Rams Head Live in Baltimore. Then, he was just a few years removed from the success of his 2010 offering, Midnight Souvenirs, which reached number 45 on the U.S. Billboard 200.
Now, Wolf is returning with a collection of songs in which he is noticeably more introspective. “Well, you go through life and you have a lot of introspection,” Wolf said. “And so I guess it reflects in the songs.”
He told the News-Press that nearly all of his lyrics are autobiographical and that he connects with songwriters and artists who write in that tradition.
“I admire that artists who I feel I can connect the artist with the song…. When you listen to a Joni Mitchell song, you feel she is talking about something in her life. When you listen to a Bob Dylan song or a Hank Williams song, you feel it’s coming from a place that they’ve experienced,” Wolf said. “Those are the kind of songs and artists that I tend to admire.”
On A Cure for Loneliness Wolf scrutinizes his own past on songs like “Rolling On,” “Mr. Mistake,” “Peace of Mind” and more. On “Peace of Mind” he asks the world “Can’t you feel the changing times?” as he remembers his past as a young man who “believed in everything” and contemplates his present as an older man who doesn’t “know what song to sing.”
“When you’re a young man you kind of have great beliefs that you can do this or do that,” Wolf said. “And as you get older you feel the challenges are greater. Things become complicated and so that [lyric] reflects that.”
• For more information about Peter Wolf, visit peterwolf.com.