PK Dwyer is a songwriter, creative force, and folk & blues busker extraordinaire. PK is also a living piece of music history, much of it connected to the Seattle area and Pacific Northwest with the distinction of being recognized as the first to busk at the Pike Place Market in 1972 [forming and fronting the street bands Felix & the Freelicks and PK Dwyer & the Live Wires]. He is also the founder of the influential proto-punk band The Jitters and creator of the musical personas George Michael Jackson, Hollywood Dick Doll, and Pioneer Square Jim.
PK's long love affair with Busking began in 1970 performing on UCLA Campus and the streets of Los Angeles. While busking the LA theater lines PK Dwyer and Eric Zahn were tapped to write and record the soundtrack for Jac Zacha's pulp fiction film Walk The Walk. [1970 Kroger Babb Hallmark Productions] In 2006 PK Dwyer felt the calling to go back to his roots as a full time busker -- preferring street corners and farmers markets to the bar scene and club circuit. PK writes and performs his own unique style of rollicking folk and acoustic roots & blues which has become known to his fans as cosmic american blues and Sidewalk Hipster Blues. He is a year round busker and a regular performer at the Pike Place Market and Farmers Markets throughout the Puget Sound area. He also enjoys performing at a variety of the quirkier Arts and Music Festivals during the summer months and presenting his music in concert at the occasional indoor gig.
PK Dwyer and his music first started garnering attention in Seattle in the mid 1970s when folks took notice of PK and singing partner Donna Beck busking around Pioneer Square and regularly playing band breaks at any local bar or tavern that would have them. PK Dwyer and Donna Beck were soon known throughout the Pacific Northwest for their original music and personal style. The pair had a strong following that extended from Vancouver, BC to Portland, Oregon and had a minor radio hit with the much loved song Dandy Annie. 1979 saw the rapid rise -- and 1980 the demise -- of PK Dwyer's ground breaking and influential electric quintet The Jitters. At the time The Jitters were the critics darling and, although PK defines the music as good old fashioned rock & roll, The Jitters are considered cow punk ancestors and front runners of the alternative movement.
PK spent the early years of the 1980s honing his street performing skills and immersing himself in the vaudeville element throughout Europe before taking his newfound energy and ideas to New York City. In New York PK Dwyer created his performer alter-ego Hollywood Dick Doll and the acoustic cabaret known as The Hollywood Dick Doll Revue. Hollywood Dick Doll quickly became an integral -- and controversial -- part of the Fast Folk movement [an esteemed songwriter exchange spearheaded by the late Jack Hardy]. Folk legend Richie Havens was so impressed with the creativity and energy of the Revue he signed Hollywood Dick Doll to his label [Stormy Forest Productions] but the group disbanded before fully getting off the ground. The 1990s saw PK Dwyer drifting from coast to coast, experimenting with musical styles and finding his way back to the Pacific Northwest music scene. Recording projects from this time period include George Michael Jackson: King of Gonzo Folk released by PopLlama Records and the independent Cd releases How Can I Go Wrong - Get Well - and PK Dwyer & the Lowdown Payments.
In the year 2000 PK Dwyer found musical salvation when he was visited by the ghost of Jimmy Reed and inspired to begin what he now calls his Blues Odyssey. PK's journey back to the blues started with an electric trio and briefly morphed into a quartet but in 2002 PK Dwyer's love of acoustic roots and blues compelled him to move on as a solo performer. He has released a series of unique and highly regarded blues Cd's with his 2003 effort Blues Guy Now heralded as a modern blues masterpiece by Vintage Guitar magazine. 2005 was a year of accolades which included PK Dwyer being nominated for a Seattle Weekly Music Award in the Blues category and a generous grant award from Art Patch that enabled the recording and release of the lauded Healed in 2006.
PK Dwyer left the Seattle area in 2005 and spent significant time living in the Appalachian Mountains, New York City, and the Southwestern United States. PK spent those years reconnecting with his busking roots and soaking up the music and culture of each area before returning to the Pacific Northwest in 2012. A nice round of recognition came in 2014 and PK Dwyer proved good things come to those who busk when he was hired off the street to open for Jeff Bridges & the Abiders at the Pantages Theater and received a well deserved standing ovation for his dynamic performance. PK capped off his Blues Odyssey in 2016 with the Cd release Busker Do which has been favorably compared to the likes of Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and Ramblin' Jack Elliot.
PK Dwyer continues to perform, tour and record at an extensive level completing the cross country Dinkytown Tour in 2017 that included performances from Seattle to Minneapolis and 2018's What The Folk?! Tour that covered Washington State, Idaho and Oregon. In 2020 PK quietly released a unique and unpretentious Folk Cd titled Music To Dance To that featured the unusual twist of PK performing the majority of the albums songs on autoharp. PK Dwyer graced the cover of the Fall 2020 issue of Autoharp Quarterly magazine and Music To Dance To has received a nice run of airplay on established Folk programs and independent radio. As restrictions from the Covid-19 Pandemic come to an end PK Dwyer is starting to ease back into performing in the summer of 2021. Music lovers of all ages can find PK busking his original Folk Roots & Blues at the Pike Place Market and performing at select Farmers Markets in the Puget Sound area.
Lowell's Blog / One of my Favorite Buskers in the Market
NPR Music: Discover Songs / Healed [One More Time]
Vintage Guitar magazine / Doing Something Different
No Depression / The Jitters Cd - reissue review
Smithsonian Folkways / Fast Folk: A Community of Singers and Songwriters