Life in our Foothills November 2021 – Peter Eisenbrown, Music Producer and Audio/Visual Guru
Published 1:37 pm Thursday, November 4, 2021
Peter Eisenbrown –Music Producer and Audio/Visual Guru
Most people would love to work in a job that is also their passion. Peter Eisenbrown, of Saluda, is one person who found a way to make that happen.
While Peter Eisenbrown might not be a household name to some readers, many probably know the things he does in and around Polk County. One of the most notable of these is his work as producer of the Summer Tracks music series held for over 20 years at Roger’s Park in downtown Tryon. Thousands of music lovers have gathered in the amphitheater over the years to listen to some of the best musical acts in the region. Summer Tracks has become known as the place to be to hear a wide range of music from across several genres. Its appeal has grown, and those regulars have not kept it a secret. These days it’s expected to have people driving from cities and towns far and wide to appreciate the bands Peter has booked. Many bands have become crowd favorites and Peter works to get them back on a regular basis. This past summer Amanda Anne Platt and her band, The Honeycutters, filled the seats (leaving some much-appreciated social-distancing space), filled the surrounding woods, and spilled onto the sidewalk above the venue. No one left disappointed, they never do.
Peter was also one of the early music producers for the Blue Ridge Barbecue Festival that brought crowds to Harmon Field each June. He originally took on the job of booking the smaller groups (individuals and musicians on the way up) on the Riverside Stage. And then he was tapped to also book the bigger names for the main stage. It’s no easy job attempting to squeeze in so much into two days of barbecue and music. A good festival year might attract 20,000 people over those two days making it one of the biggest events of the year. Most came for the barbecue, many came for the crafts, and you can be sure that everyone there also enjoyed the music.
Smaller venues are also no stranger to Peter’s work. For years he has helped produce the music and work the audio for solo performers and groups at the Purple Onion in Saluda. He also designed the sound system there and in other businesses and homes in the area.
It has been a tough year and a half with Covid shutting down festivals and music houses. The music scene is slowly returning, but with caution. Peter is a big believer in playing it safe. He isn’t shy in making his case in front of audiences for getting vaccinated. His announcement is generally met with an audible round of approval as attendees want things to look normal again. The Roger’s Park shows have an added level of protection by being outside. Other venues are still not willing to cram music-hungry people into small rooms.
While music lovers were waiting patiently for things to get back to normal, Peter stayed busy wearing another of his many hats. His “Tech Works Easy” business is thriving. This business helps people with all things audio and visual. Peter starts with a consultation with a new client to see just what they want and then works to find a solution that fits their budget. Peter installs giant TVs for some clients and designs amazing sound systems that bring life to music for others. Many clients want it all. He works with homeowners and commercial establishments. His work doesn’t stop with the installation. That’s the “easy” part. It’s sometimes a bit harder to show customers how to use their new home theaters or audio equipment or even their new smart watch…but that’s part of Peter’s business model. He feels best when his customers are happy, and they are happy when they know how to use what at first seems so complicated. Many customers would call Peter Eisenbrown a miracle worker.
He’s also an expert at helping people navigate their new and not-so-new Apple products including Mac desktops and laptops, iPhones, and iPads. It’s hard to keep up with technology that keeps moving ahead at lightning speed…but that’s what Peter does. He says he can muddle through PCs and help folks, but Apple products are his specialty.
Peter literally surrounds himself in his work. His workshop might remind you of the laboratory of a mad scientist with gear stacked from floor to ceiling. Numerous boxes and bins contain spare parts, large components, spools of wire, and an amazing array of flotsam and jetsam. Like the owner of an old-fashioned hardware store, only Peter knows where to find the part needed to complete the job. Every corner of his house has some sort of audio system. After all, he must practice using this gear so he can help others. Peter makes it look easy so that his customers can feel at ease using their new gear. Even if Peter didn’t do the installation, he can help clients learn to use it. Peter says, “I’m the guy who reads the manuals.” He does this so the customer doesn’t have to.
And take it from this writer…I know how frustrating it is to unbox some shiny new piece of electronics only to find out it’s not all that easy to use. Peter knows that feeling and he’ll do his best to simplify it so that the listener or viewer is up and running without frustrating delays.
While Peter might say he’s “self-taught” in all of this…he was almost predestined to do what he’s doing now. He grew up in Ohio with an engineer father who would often bring home various spare parts for the three Eisenbrown boys to play with. They would build contraptions, hook things up to batteries, add miscellaneous pieces, throw in a buzzer and a switch or two, and soon have something that perhaps only doting parents might appreciate. But the gears were turning in his head and in his fingers. This love of building and experimenting led him to expand his knowledge of electronics and especially audio and visual equipment. Today he’s a sought-after expert.
Peter seems to have a knack at being roped into various community projects. If he isn’t volunteering, he’s often pressed into service by well-meaning friends. Many years ago, Peter thought it might be fun to volunteer his tech skills to help the Tryon Little Theater and Tryon Fine Arts Center with backstage work. However, it wasn’t long before he found himself on stage as an actor. And not just once, but in nearly twenty productions. For a while he sang with The Community Chorus as well as produced tapes and CDs of their concerts.
Peter Eisenbrown has lived in Polk County for thirty years. Peter and his wife, Beth, enjoy hiking and biking in their spare time and loving on their new puppy. But there’s not a lot of spare time. Summer Tracks might be over for 2021, but he’s already mapping out plans for the summer ahead. He continues to find himself helping other festivals and venues with backstage work as well as serving as a sound-mixer from time to time. He doesn’t claim to be an expert in that field. Most people would beg to differ.
Peter Eisenbrown never planned to become the guy known as the local music producer or the tech expert. But he has never shied away from a challenge. With a lot of “on-the-job” training, a love for reading those tech manuals, watching the how-to videos, and practice – he has perfected his craft. Peter would be the first to question my use of the word, “perfected,” but when you need help and haven’t a clue where to turn – you’ll be glad you found this guy.