Jeff Pehrson

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Jeff Pehrson
Jeff Pehrson
Jeff Pehrson, 11/12/2011 @ Boardwalk Hall (Atlantic City, NJ) with Furthur
Background information
Born (1967-02-21) February 21, 1967 (age 51)
San Francisco, California
GenresRock, Psychedelic rock, R & B, Folk rock, Americana
InstrumentsVocals, acoustic guitar
Years active1991–present
Associated actsFurthur (2009-present)
Box Set (1991-2006)
Box Set Duo (1991-present)
The Fall Risk (2009-present)

Jeff Pehrson (born Jeffery Vernon Pehrson on February 21, 1967 in San Francisco, California) is an American singer-songwriter who performed backing vocals for Furthur, a band that included two former members of the Grateful Dead. Pehrson also currently performs with the folk rock band The Fall Risk, which he founded, and previously performed with Box Set, a folk rock band which he cofounded.[1]

Early life[edit]

Jeff was born in 1967 in the Haight-Asbury district of San Francisco. His mother was of Native American heritage and his father, who was a concert pianist, was of Northern European descent.[2] Jeff was adopted at three months of age by John Pehrson, who was an electrician and flight instructor, and Janice Quintana (née Petrie), who was an administrative assistant. Jeff's father remarried Christina Grant, a nurse, in 1980, and has a half-sister, Heather, from that marriage.[3] Jeff was raised in the East Bay area in San Leandro, California and attended Pacific High School from 1981 until 1983, when the school closed, and subsequently attended San Leandro High School until his graduation in 1985.[4] Jeff credits his earliest musical exposure to his father, a stereo fanatic who regularly played jazz music at home, and to his mother, a native of Kansas, who loved listening to country music. In the fourth grade, Jeff started playing saxophone in his school band and continued until the ninth grade, when he began focusing his attention on playing football for the school team and participating in the school's theater, performing regularly in plays and musicals, where his singing skills became increasingly apparent.[5]

Musical career[edit]

In 1985, Jeff matriculated at San Francisco State University, where he majored variously in broadcasting, political science, theater arts, and ultimately, creative writing.[6] In college, Jeff was first exposed to guitar playing via friends in his dormitory, eventually trading his old saxophone for a guitar of his own. He took to the instrument extremely well with an apparent natural ability, and quickly proceeded to mastering rhythm guitar technique, which he used as a foundation for his subsequent songwriting.[5]

In 1986, Jeff pursued his love for improvisational comedy by cofounding the Ground Zero Comedy Troupe with his college roommate, Jeff Ballard. The ensemble, which included six comedians and a band, performed humorous skits punctuated by musical numbers, and became increasingly popular around campus.

In 1987, Pehrson, along with Matt Twain, began frequenting The Owl and the Monkey Cafe in San Francisco, where they started out performing Pehrson's original songs as the Twain & Pehrson Duo on Thursday's "open mic" nights, ultimately appearing regularly in 1989 as part of the cafe's Saturday night concert series. In 1991, Jeff first met singer-songwriter Jim Brunberg, who came to hear the duo perform at Simple Pleasures, a cafe in San Francisco's Richmond District. Recognizing their innate musical chemistry, the three united and formed the trio Box Set, named for the then growing trend of artists releasing box set compilations. After a few months of playing locally, Pehrson and Brunberg decided to begin touring regionally. However, Twain, who had a day job, did not wish to travel and decided to leave the band. The resulting Box Set duo began playing small venues between San Francisco and Seattle.[7]

In the summer of 1992, the two bought one-way tickets to Europe, where they spent several months playing their music in the streets, selling demo tapes, and writing songs. Returning to the U.S. with accelerating enthusiasm and a plethora of fresh material, the duo began playing more frequently and at larger venues in the Bay Area. The songwriting and vibrant vocal harmonies of the two have prompted comparisons to Simon & Garfunkel. Aspiring to diversify their sound, though, Box Set added bass player Chad Heise and drummer Matt Abbott in 1993, and, shortly after producing their eponymous debut CD, recruited harmonica/keyboard player Sam Johnston in 1994.[1][8][9] The band was recognized by Billboard on their "Honor Roll of Unsigned Talent" in 1994, and was named "Group of the Year" by the National Academy of Songwriters in 1995.[10] In 1997, Box Set won two Bay Area Music Awards ("Bammies") for "Best Club Band" and "Outstanding Americana/Roots Band". Shortly thereafter, the group began touring nationally, opening for a number of bands, including Huey Lewis and the News and RatDog, and were signed by Capricorn Records, releasing the CD, Thread, in 1998, which was produced by Grammy Award winner Joe Chiccarelli.[7] Box Set released a total of 12 recordings between 1991 and 2006.[2][11][12]

Box Set continued with a rigorous touring schedule, performing with groups such as Dave Matthews Band, Barenaked Ladies, Lenny Kravitz, Willie Nelson, Hot Tuna, Blues Traveler, and the Goo Goo Dolls, until 2004, when their touring pace slowed, in part due to Brunberg's moving to Portland in 2002, and eventually entering law school (though he never pursued a law career, opting instead to open Mississippi Studios recording studio/music venue). In 2006, Box Set performed its last show at the Sweetwater Saloon in Mill Valley, CA. Jeff subsequently worked in marketing for a merger and acquisitions firm in San Francisco before eventually creating another band in 2009, The Fall Risk, composed of Jeff Pehrson (guitar, vocals), Jeff Ballard (harmonica, percussion), Matt Twain (keyboards, vocals), Mark Abbott (drums) and Eddie Berljafa (bass). In 2010, The Fall Risk added Sam Johnston (organ, accordion, pedal steel) and Rich Goldstein (rhythm, lead, and slide guitar), and in 2011, added "Fiddle" Dave Muhlethaler (fiddle, mandolin) and Phil Savell (lead guitar). In 2012, "Fiddle" Dave Muhlethaler left the band, followed by Jeff Ballard and Eddie Berljafa in 2013, at which time Mike Sugar began playing bass.[1][13][14]

In 1997, Box Set's "Can't Save Myself" (written by Jeff Pehrson) appeared on the soundtrack for the movie, Trial and Error.

In 2001, Pehrson played a biker named Snake in the movie, Christmas in the Clouds.

In 2003, Pehrson wrote songs and performed vocals on Jack Casady's first solo album, Dream Factor.[1][15]

In late 2009, Furthur decided to add backing vocals to their newly formed band, enlisting Zoe Ellis and Sunshine Becker. After Zoe left the group in early 2010 to focus on her a cappella ensemble, SoVoSó, Jeff was recruited as her replacement and debuted on May 24, 2010.[16]

In early 2012, Jeff Pehrson and Jim Brunberg performed together for the first time since 2006 with a Box Set Duo reunion and later played a 7 night run in June 2012 at McMenamins Al's Den in Portland, OR.[17]

In March 2013, The Fall Risk began recording their first CD at TRI Studios, which was released on August 1, 2013.[14][18][19][20][21]

Personal life[edit]

When not performing with Furthur or The Fall Risk, Jeff enjoys riding his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, jet-skiing, reading political satire, sampling regional wines, traveling and spending time with his fiancée.[6]

Jeff Pehrson
Jeff Pehrson, performing with his group, The Fall Risk, August 2, 2013 at A Bear's Picnic in Hughesville, PA.


Box Set[edit]

  • Box Set (Cassette, 1991)[10][22]
  • Box Set (Cassette, 1992)
  • On The Busk (Cassette, 1992)
  • Box Set (CD, 1994)
  • Twenty-seven (CD, 1995)
  • Live Bait (Cassette, 1996)
  • Mean Time (EP CD, 1996)
  • Four Needles & A Thread (EP CD, 1998)
  • Back To You (CD Single, 1998)
  • Thread (CD, 1998)
  • Live Duo (CD, 1999)
  • Lemonade (CD, 2000)
  • X (pronounced "Ten") (CD, 2001)
  • Live Duo 2 (CD, 2003)
  • Live Trio (CD, 2015)

The Fall Risk[edit]


  • 1994: "Honor Roll of America's Unsigned Talent" – Billboard Magazine[23][24]
  • 1995: "Group of the Year" – National Academy of Songwriters[25]
  • 1997: "Bay Area Club Band of the Year (public write-in)" – Bay Area Music Awards ("Bammies")[26][27]
  • 1997: "Americana/Roots Band" – Bay Area Music Awards ("Bammies")[26][27]


  1. ^ a b c d "Furthur: About The Band". Archived from the original on 7 October 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
  2. ^ a b Freedman, Richard (July 22, 2005). "Dynamic duo juiced about playing Jamba stage". TImes-Herald. Vallejo, CA.
  3. ^ "Miss Grant Weds John Pehrson". Daily Union Democrat. Sonora, CA. January 8, 1980. p. 6.
  4. ^ "Pacific High School Classes of 1962–1986 Alumni, San Leandro, CA". Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  5. ^ a b Linehan, Gary (March 31, 1995). "Dance package: Box Set and Sushi". The Union Democrat. Sonora, CA. p. 7.
  6. ^ a b "Jeff Pehrson info page". Retrieved 18 December 2011.
  7. ^ a b Poet, J. (January 18, 1998). "Out of the Box: Indie folk-rock band Box Set aims at the big time with major-label debut". San Francisco Chronicle. San Francisco, CA. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
  8. ^ Wilson, MacKenzie. Box Set biography at AllMusic. Retrieved November 4, 2011.
  9. ^ Budnick, Dean (1998). Jam Bands: North America's hottest live groups plus how to tape and trade their shows. Toronto, ON: ECW Press. pp. 46–47. ISBN 1-55022-353-4.
  10. ^ a b Robinson, Bruce (January 4, 1996). "Box Set". The Sonoma County Independent. Santa Rosa, CA. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  11. ^ "Box Set Discography of CDs". cdUniverse. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
  12. ^ Box Set discography at AllMusic. Retrieved December 16, 2011.
  13. ^ Markovitz, Brian (2011). "Jeff Pehrson and The Fall Risk, August 7, 2011". Retrieved November 4, 2011. Jeff Pehrson's - other band - The Fall Risk performs at Jerry Day in San Francisco
  14. ^ a b c Budnick, Dean (August 1, 2013). "Jeff Pehrson: Furthur's Vocalist Embraces The Fall Risk". Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  15. ^ Heisler, Steve (February 13, 2004). "Hot Tuna reinvents unplugged sound". Herald-Tribute. Sarasota, FL. pp. 4, 9.
  16. ^ "Furthur Tests New Lineup in San Rafael". 25 May 2010. Retrieved June 22, 2010.
  17. ^ "McMenamins: Box Set Duo". June 11, 2012. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  18. ^ "The Fall Risk Facebook page: Comments re: starting EP recording work". March 5, 2013. Retrieved March 5, 2013.
  19. ^ Grabien, Deborah (March 16, 2013). "One Great Band, One Great Studio, Two Great Days: Hanging With The Fall Risk at TRI Studios". Retrieved April 10, 2013.
  20. ^ a b Grabien, Deborah (July 30, 2013). "The Fall Risk, Volume 1: Perfect Americana". Retrieved July 30, 2013.
  21. ^ "Furthur's Jeff Pehrson and The Fall Risk Share "Angeline"". July 31, 2013. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
  22. ^ Elwood, Philip (January 14, 1995). "Box Set's go the whole package: Local band displays good singing, playing and writing". San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  23. ^ Newman, Melinda (December 24, 1994). "Bands to Bank On: An Honor Roll of America's Unsigned Talent". Billboard. pp. 5, 97–98. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  24. ^ Newman, Melinda (March 9, 1996). "An Update On 'Bands to Bank On': From Verve Pipe To The Box Set". Billboard. pp. 16, 19. Retrieved December 18, 2011.
  25. ^ Iwasaki, Scott (July 25, 1997). "Former schoolteacher now roams club scene in Box Set". Deseret News. Salt Lake City, UT. p. W8.
  26. ^ a b Elwood, Philip; Marine, Craig (March 16, 1997). "Honors for Jazz Great: Box Set, Tommy Castro Band among Bay Area standouts". San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved December 12, 2011.
  27. ^ a b Graham, Travis (March 17, 1997). "Band Managers Rise To The Occasion At Bammies". VH1. Retrieved April 15, 2013.[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]