Austin, Texas’ Debra Peters wears a big hat. In fact, Debra wears many hats as a bandleader, entertainer, recording artist, singer/songwriter, session musician, music teacher, and entrepreneur. As a professional accordionist/pianist and vocalist for nearly 3 decades, Debra Peters has been recognized for what few women in the business have been able to accomplish. In addition, a hearty tip of the hat to Debra Peters because she has managed her own band for twenty-five years, a rare feat for a woman in the music industry.
Early in her career, Debra Peters toured as a solo musician accompanying herself on piano and a drum machine, in clubs as far away as Japan, Mexico, France and Holland. Yearning to learn the Blues, Debra began to seriously study the genre for several years. Her love for the Blues led her to seek out and master Zydeco/Cajun music in New Orleans, LA. The music of Clifton Chenier inspired her, initially, and because of him, she began to focus again on the piano accordion, after setting the instrument aside for a while. Like Chenier, she defied convention and sang with the piano accordion, which was not often done at that time. She utilizes the piano accordion, not only to accompany her voice, but has performed with it proficiently and with great innovation throughout her career.
Debra Peters performed with Ponty Bone and the Squeeze Tones of Lubbock Texas, and then developed her own band, Austin based, Debra Peters and The Love Saints. Tex-Mex and Zydeco/Cajun music are represented in her repertoire along with Americana (Rock ‘n’ Roll, Blues, Pop and Country & Western), Cowboy Songs, Railroad Songs and dance forms, such as Polka and Texas Swing. With her band, Debra has recorded four albums, “Twisted Love”, “10 Songs for 10 Dollars”, “Blast from the Past” and “Girl Without the Blues”, “Rockin’ at the Barn”. Debra Peters has performed many times with Flaco Jimenez, Joel Guzman, Augie Myers, Cory Pesaturo, Rosie Flores and Marcia Ball. Debra Peters has opened shows for many traveling Louisiana acts such as Beausoleil, CJ Chenier, Wayne Toups, Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Joel Sonnier. She has performed as a session musician with Jimmy LaFave, “Buffalo Return to the Plains”, Sue Foley, “Walk in the Sun”, The Buckaroos, “In Austin”, Beth Williams “In This Old House”, Paul Orta and the Kingpins, “I Can’t Believe My Eyes”, Shelli Coe “A Girl Like Me”, Jukebox Cowboy, “Rockin’ At The Barn” and a self-titled album by The Danglers. Debra has been a serious songwriter as well as a musician, performing and singing her own compositions on four self-produced CD’s and 3 DVD’s.
Debra Peters was determined to create her own lesson videos for accordion and in 2005, her educational video, The Blues, Chords and Chops was produced. She followed up by producing and self-marketing The Blues, Chords and Chops, Volume II and 25 Bass Patterns. Debra has been a long-time member of the National Accordion Association and has been involved in the organization on all levels, from event planning, teaching and as a performer. In addition, she has presented accordion workshops annually, for nearly two decades. Debra Peters also maintains a thriving teaching practice in Austin and is a member of the Accordion Teacher’s Guild.
Debra Peters pours her time, energy and commitment into well-known regional events in the world of the accordion in the Southwest. She has been invited to perform at all of the Texas Folklife Festivals and Squeezebox Mania and has been a judge for The Big Squeeze competition and its final concert, Accordion Kings and Queens, since their inception.
With her commitment, enthusiasm and vision for her instrument, Debra Peters is a reason why interest in the piano accordion flourishes in Texas and continues to grow in North America.