Peter Searcy literally grew up in front of a mic stand. It seems like he’s been here forever because he has. He raged at punk clubs and rode the college rock wave before truly finding his groove as a singer-songwriter. His latest, “Leave It All Out There,” is his most intensely personal record, created as Searcy was going through some major emotional upheaval and looking for catharsis any way he could.
“It’s a situation I lived through,” says Searcy. For an energetic performer accustomed to writing big, crowd-pleasing rock songs, Searcy says the shift into introspection took him out of his comfort zone.
“It was hard for me to write songs that were literally my day-to-day life for a while,” he said. “I’d never done that before.”
Emblematic of this is “Move On,” which has the kind of instantly memorable hook that Searcy is known for, but also the kind of intensely biting and personal story that, frankly, Searcy is not all that known for. Typically, he would labor — almost to a fault — over the words to his songs, but this time was different. This time, with distractions in his personal life overwhelming him, Searcy sat down with his guitar and just let his emotions take over.
“I’d never done that before,” he said. “Lyrics just came to me and I embraced them.”
Not all the tracks on “Leave It All Out There” are as autobiographical — and Searcy cagily won’t say which ones are, perhaps to retain some playful distance — but you can count on them to all have the extroverted, pop-rock sound that has made Searcy a favorite on the club circuit year in and year out. He considers it a badge of honor to occupy the same niche as legends like Elvis Costello and Bob Mould, angry young men like Searcy who have matured into witty, barbed pop stylists who can still put the pedal to the floor and blow you away night after night.
“I have nothing against the music that’s popular or trendy right now,” Searcy said. “But I think there is something to be said for just going out and putting on a great rock show for the audience.”
“Leave It All Out There” is available on vinyl and digitally from Eastwood Records. Peter Searcy will be on tour in 2017.