Doing this separately from the regular music-rec posts because, whoo boy, tracking the guy down at all was a Journey.
Peter Donnelly does soft rock/folk pop — think Dan Fogelberg, but gay romances instead of straight ones. Some of the lyrics get to be more direct and nuanced than any “highly LGBTQ-relatable feelings, but wrapped in a layer of metaphor” songs. Others are sweet and heartfelt without any gender-specificity. Some are just funny or weird. Most of them are really pretty.
…and almost none of them are findable online anymore.
It took a bunch of searching just to find non-dead links about the right Peter Donnelly. This is the one who did A Sure Thing (AllMusic, Amazon, the producer’s website) and Express Café (AllMusic Amazon).
Can’t stream any of his songs on Amazon or Spotify. Can’t get the lyrics…pretty much anywhere. If you have one of the CDs, Windows Media won’t be able to identify it. The only audio left on YouTube is “a couple of well-buried shaky-cam videos of live performances” and “this one fanvid I made.”
I did finally think to check the Internet Archive — they have a version of his website from 2013! Which is the only place I found any info about his last album, Road With No End (consider its threadbare Amazon listing). Plus a tiny treasure trove of sample .wma files.
Facebook has a pretty recent live performance (non-embeddable), and reports the duo of Donnelly and Richardson having future gigs as well as past ones. So apparently he’s still around. Hasn’t changed his name, or died, or anything drastic like that.
He’s just…staying way off the internet.
(Feel free to compose your own “and who can blame him” jokes here.)
So at this point you may be thinking “hang on, Erin, you are not exactly a known aficionado of obscure and/or indie music. How do you even know about this guy?”
Well, in the late 2000’s he was one of various LGBT+ performers and speakers that my college’s Alliance hired to do their thing on-campus.
(About that club name: it started as the Gay/Straight Alliance, then the community acronym started expanding, and somebody with excellent foresight realized we’d be changing the name every few years if we tried to keep up. So we sidestepped that problem by dropping the descriptor at all.)
(Still unimpressed about the time I was trying to get formal authorization for some club thing, the admin person assumed we were the Environmental Alliance, and when I clarified that actually we were the gay one, they went “wait, that’s a school-accredited club?” Like it was a surprise.)
So Peter Donnelly set up at the local coffeehouse, and did some songs, and I thought they were great.
I bought both the CDs he was selling! I got them signed! I am so glad I still have that physical evidence, now that it’s all dropped off the face of the web!
This whole thing has really driven home that in-person stuff is important. Local community groups are important. Outreach to the people in your area is important. You never know what you’re going to be saving for each other.
…I can only find Express Café in my CD rack right now. Went ahead and scanned the whole lyric booklet. If anyone comes across this post looking for Peter Donnelly lyrics and/or Express Café lyrics…here they are, straight from the source:
I did type up the Dangerous Games lyrics — not long after I bought the album, wow. For the rest of the songs, you’ll have to do your own transcriptions.
If I ever find my copy of A Sure Thing, I’ll scan the materials from that too.
…and since there’s no longer any way to get this audio directly from the artist, or through a sales channel that supports him, I’m just gonna leave these here.