Hightstown, New Jersey— Whether Peter Kleinhans takes the stage to perform a set of his music or climbs into the sulky to drive a harness race, the sensations are somewhat similar.
“There’s a nervous anticipation ahead of time, which sometimes isn’t a positive feeling,” Kleinhans said. “Sometimes you wonder why you’re doing it, but when it’s all over and everything has gone well, it’s a great feeling of accomplishment. Then you remember why you want to do it.
Kleinhans, who picked up his first driving win of the season earlier this month in an amateur GSY Series event at The Meadowlands, will perform a 10-song set of his music at The Bitter End in Greenwich Village on Monday night. The Bitter End, established in 1961, is New York’s oldest rock and roll club and has hosted thousands of artists from Bob Dylan to Lady Gaga.
“It’s a classic place, with a lot of history,” said Kleinhans, who has appeared on The Bitter End several times. “I think they’ve stayed true to their roots, so it’s a little tight, nothing’s going perfectly; it’s just interesting. It’s a classic Greenwich Village feel. You have that sense, not to sound corny, but it’s like you’re on a baseball field and you hear the echoes of an old player; it has the same feeling.
Kleinhans will pull material from her two previously released albums, “Something’s Not Right” and “I Was Alive Enough,” as well as her upcoming “By Every Probability,” which is slated for release this summer. He will be backed by a group of New York talent including bassist Tony Conniff, guitarists Marc Shulman and Larry Saltzman, keyboardist Bette Sussman and drummer Shawn Pelton.
“They’re all consummate professionals,” Kleinhans said. “Tony brought them together and they seem to like working with me. I really worked, and I think they like playing with me, and I really respect them and their musical sense.
“It should be a fun set. They are mostly fast tempo songs and many of them are about different characters. It’s a mix of thought-provoking, hopefully, and just fun.
Kleinhans does not write songs with genres in mind, preferring to try to create material he would like to listen to himself.
“I really love the creative process and seeing a song come together,” Kleinhans said. “When I write a song, it starts out really bad, but you work on it and little by little it becomes a real finished song. Then when you play it in a show, it’s very satisfying to see it take shape and see the musicians interpret it. It’s really gratifying.
Although focused on music and several other pursuits, Kleinhans continued to be involved in harness racing as a horse owner, breeder, and occasional amateur driver. Aside from a start, he hasn’t trained since 2013, but his work with Enough Talk is remembered, the sport’s first sub-1:50 trotter and two-time Dan Patch Award winner, as well as the millionaire Lavec Dream.
Last year, Kleinhans-born Think Of Galaxies finished second in the eventual Test Of Faith Horse of the Year in the Empire Breeders Classic for 3-year-old leads and was a finalist for the Breeders Crown. Kleinhans owns the mare trained by John McDermott, who won the Grand Circuit at the age of 2, with Jonathan Klee Racing.
Kleinhans’ April 8 victory in the GSY came behind William McWhiskers, another horse he bred and owner who is trained by McDermott.
“I still love racing, I just don’t have time to train,” Kleinhans said. “I can’t really do it firsthand, which is sad because I loved it. But I have so many other things to do right now that it’s okay.
Peter Kleinhans and his band will perform at The Bitter End, 147 Bleecker Street, New York on Monday, May 2. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. EDT. Show time is at 7 p.m. For more information, visit the club’s website at bitterend.com.