Guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Peter Mayer, of the Peter Mayer Group, has melded a unique and multi-faceted writing style, a distinctive voice, and inspired musicianship to create compelling and accessible music that is electrifying in live performance. Mayer has culled influences from his childhood in India that ranged from traditional Indian music to the Beatles, and from his studying and teaching Jazz guitar at Webster University in St. Louis, MO. Add the many years that he has shared the stage with Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band, James Taylor, Mac McAnally, Sonny Landreth, Don Henley and others, and you begin to trace the musical storyline of the Peter Mayer Group.
Peter’s life began in Tamilnadu, the far southern region of India, where his parents served as missionaries for 17 years before returning to their Missouri roots. Musical influences from that period of his life can be heard in his playing. Peter recalls, “I can remember Indian musicians coming to our house on Christmas Eve to sing and play into the evening. They would play their drums and flutes, shakers and bells, and sing their Tamil Carols. It was a sound I’ll never forget.” After the family’s move back to the U.S., Mayer went on to study formal theory and composition, and to teach jazz guitar as a faculty member of Webster University.
Teaming up with his brother Jim on bass, and drummer Roger Guth, the trio quickly realized they shared a unique musical bond and rare songwriting chemistry. They joined forces, formed the group PM, and in 1987 signed to Warner Brothers Records. Working with Producer Elliott Scheiner (Steely Dan, Aretha Franklin, Bruce Hornsby) the group PM released their debut album for Warner Brothers (WB No. 25751) in 1988. This album produced the single “Piece of Paradise,” which rose to number eight on the Billboard adult contemporary chart.
Following his work with PM, Elliot Scheiner was hired to produce Jimmy Buffett’s Off To See The Lizard album. He suggested that Buffett use the group PM as rhythm section for the recording sessions. Buffett was impressed with their unique versatility as musicians and performers and quickly hired them for the following summer to be part of his own Coral Reefer Band. It is a successful relationship that continues to date. The group PM released two subsequent CDs, Street of Dreams (1991 LFM #0998) and Red Wine and Lemonade (1993 LFM #0999) before Mayer released his first solo work, Green Eyed Radio in 1995 (LFM #1000).
Since then, The Peter Mayer Group has grown into its present form; an inventive ensemble that features R. Scott Bryan (Sheryl Crowe, Mama's Pride, Jeff Coffin) on percussion, guitar, and vocals; Marc Torlina (Chuck Berry, Neil Sedaka, Treme Terra) on bass and vocals; Maggie Estes (Buddy Spicher, Leahy, Mike Snider) on Violin and Mandolin; and Chris Walters (Bela Fleck, Alabama, JD Souther) on Keyboards. Between them they boast an extensive performing and songwriting portfolio with experience in numerous styles ranging from jazz, world, country, rock, bluegrass, classical, and gospel music.
Following Green Eyed Radio, The Peter Mayer Group released nine additional CDs; Romeo’s Garage, Spare Tire Orchestra, Stirrin’ Up The Water (collection of original songs of faith), Stars and Promises (Christmas), Musicbox, Stars & Promises Alive (live Christmas recording), Echoes Of The Season, Still In One Peace, and their latest, Goodbye Hello.
Goodbye Hello is a celebration of music of the Beatles, who have had a lifelong influence on the music of Peter Mayer. Going beyond simple Beatles covers, this CD takes these timeless songs and re-imagines them in stylistic settings that include the elements of Jazz, classical, Caribbean, folk and rock and roll. These are striking, innovative arrangements of songs that have been the seminal music of our contemporary world. A cast of exceptional musicians has contributed their talents to this album, including a selection of string players from the St. Louis and Nashville Symphonies and a special appearance by Jimmy Buffett. Goodbye Hello receives regular airplay on Sirius XM Radio Margaritaville, the syndicated “Beatles Brunch,” as well as expanding radio audiences in various parts of Europe. The CD has been welcomed with rave reviews. This from author Tom Corcoran: “Its brilliance astounds me. It's a tribute not just to the original music but to George Martin, the whole of the Beatles catalogue, and to the great music of the past 40 years. When I can hear Antonio Carlos Jobim, Michael Hedges and Ricky Scaggs all in the same set of tunes… it blows me away. Every time I listen, I hear new touches of inspiration and artistry.”
With its rich and varied discography, the Peter Mayer Group may defy easy description as they cross the borders of musical category and radio markets. But the many facets of its sound serve as a passport to a fresh, engaging musical experience that is riveting in live performance. Those performances range from: festivals to performance art theatres, clubs, churches and conventions (such as the ELCA convention that brought 38,000 youth to the Super Dome in New Orleans LA in 2009).
Each December, the Peter Mayer Group embarks on its Christmas Tour, Stars and Promises. For many, these 16 or 17 performances kick off the Christmas-Holiday season and have become both a thrilling and meaningful part of their celebration. These performances feature a collection of original and traditional Christmas music played by an expanded musical cast that include guest artists such as noted Native Flute player Mark Holland, local children’s and bell choirs in select areas, and the beautiful scenery and sonic presentation brought on board by the production of Chad Stewart and Stewart Sound.
The Stars and Promises tour has continued to grow, seeing frequent sellout crowds since its inception in 2000. In 2010, the group will ring in the holiday season with its most ambitious tour to date, celebrating its tenth anniversary with a tour that is sure to thrill audiences across the country.www.PeterMayer.com
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