Raleigh is home for Peter Lamb. “I love it here,” Lamb says in an interview, calling from his Flying Squirrel Music shop in Raleigh.
Lamb tried to lay down roots on Broadway. It didn’t work out.
“I moved to New York right after college,” Lamb recalls. “I moved there just before 9-11 happened. I’ll never forget waking up that morning at 10 a.m. since I was working as a musician and a bartender. It was surreal. It looked like it was snowing over Manhattan but it was a clear blue sky. I left New York to come back to Raleigh in November. It was just too depressing living there.”
Lamb, who attended East Carolina University, was happy to return to Raleigh, where he’s been ever since. “Everything is here for me,” Lamb says. “A friend told me that Austin is the number one city in the country for work for musicians and Raleigh is number two. I believe it. I’m always working.”
The saxophonist, who initially moved to Raleigh when he was 8 years old, and his band the Wolves, will perform May 29 at Koka Booth Amphitheatre. They’ve played numerous gigs at Humble Pie over the last decade as well as at the Hopscotch Music Festival and an array of clubs throughout the Triangle.
“We’re in demand around here and because of that, it’s sustainable for us,” Lamb says. “We don’t have to move away. People like what we do.”
The group, which delivers New Orleans-style jazz with some R&B tossed in for good measure, is fun live. Lamb can’t stand still, and he and the rest of the band feed off the energy of the audience. “It’s just fun every time we step on the stage,” Lamb says. “We get to play out and make music.”
Lamb and the Wolves, which includes his brother Paul Rogers on trumpet, Mark Wells on piano and vocals, bassist Pete Kimosh and drummer Stephen Coffman, are long overdue for an album. It’s been five years since the last album. The group is working on an album, Lamb said, and will preview the songs at the Cary show. They hope to finish recording the tracks in July.
“The album should be out by August but we can’t wait to work out the new songs,” Lamb says. “We have a lot of material. We’re going to record 30 songs.”
It’ll be a split between originals and rearranged covers. “We don’t see the point of replicating what another artist has already recorded. We’re about putting our spin on the songs.”
Lamb and the Wolves, which played at the North Carolina inaugural balls for President Obama’s second inauguration in Washington in 2013, are going to record a variety of tunes, ranging from John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” and the 85-year-old classic country and western tune “Tumbling Tumbleweeds,” from Sons of the Pioneers.
“The style and the age of a song doesn’t matter,” Lamb says. “What matters is if it’s a good song and if we can add something to it. It’s looking good for us with the album.”
And then there is Flying Squirrel Music, where Lamb repairs musical instruments. The shop has been open for nearly five years.
Lamb said he sometimes is bummed that the face of the Triangle is changing. “I hate all of the high rises, condos and McMansions that have popped up in the area,” Lamb says. “When I think Raleigh, I see beautiful oak trees and brick houses. But it’s a double edged sword. The people in the McMansions are the ones who can afford to hire musicians. My phone is always ringing.”
Lamb, who grew up in Five Points and is a graduate of Needham B. Broughton High School, doesn’t have plans to leave his Raleigh home. “I just built a chicken coop there and I’m 2 miles from the shop,” Lamb says. “There is no place like it here. I’m sticking around.”
Who: Peter Lamb and the Wolves
When: May 29, 5:45 p.m.
Where: Koka Booth Amphitheatre, 8003 Regency Parkway, Cary
Tickets: $5. Kids 12 and under are free.
Info: 919-462-2052 or boothamphitheatre.com