POSTED ON DECEMBER 14, 2011:
Measure Of a Man
The venue and sound may change but Peter Mayer is the real thing
Peter Mayer is not to be pigeon-holed.
The irony in the juxtaposition of the term ìChristian Rockstarî has surely not been lost on Mayer. ìWhat I do for a living and for my life is make music. I just happen to do both of these. Sure, not everything jibes and jells all the time, but Iím happy to do it whether Iím in a church or a bar,î Mayer said in a recent Quad-City Times article.
By "both of these" Mayer means the half of the year that he spends touring as the lead guitarist for Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefers and the other half he spends spreading the message of Christianity with his band The Peter Mayer Group (PM).
Mayer has been playing with the Coral Reefers as the lead guitarist and Buffet's co-writer since 1989. His existing band, PM had been coasting off the success of their first single "Piece of Paradise" and subsequently enjoyed playing gigs opening for bands such as Chicago and Moody Blues.
Unfortunately, (or maybe it's more appropriate to say fortunately as it's seemed to have worked out) their second single tanked. A saving grace however came shortly thereafter when they got word from their producer Elliot Scheiner that "...Jimmy Buffett was looking for a band."
Mayer, familiar with the flagrantly hedonistic messaging of Buffet songs such as "Margaritaville" and "Cheeseburger in Paradise," was not initially sold on the idea of signing on with the Coral Reefers. "But then we thought, what the heck, it's going to be fun," he said. "We headed to Key West [Fla.] and then on to summer tours." Over two decades later, they're still touring.
In Mayer's downtime from touring with Buffett, he's experimenting with combinations of adult alternative music with jazz, classical, rock, folk and a tiny bit of country. Peter's accompanying band is as eclectic as his musical influences with percussionist R. Scott Bryan, Native flutist Mark Holland, bassist Marc Torlina, pianist Chris Walter, and Maggie Estes on violin and mandolin.
It is The Peter Mayer Group (and decidedly not in fact, the Coral Reefers) who are bringing Tulsa the "Stars and Promises" tour on Dec. 16 at Asbury's Venue 68.
One of only 10 concerts on this year's tour, Mayer and his band will perform Christmas carol classics as well as original holiday themed compositions. The "Stars and Promises" tour began in 2000 with the recording of a studio album by the same name. In 2002, he recorded Stars and Promises Alive, a live CD and DVD recorded at a concert in Nashville, Tenn.
As the Son of Lutheran missionary parents, Mayer developed the "Stars and Promises" tour from inspiration from his early upbringing in India.
Out of the Box.
"On Christmas Eve my father would make a star out of a spotlight and a piece of gauze to show the Indian people from the village the way up the hill to our home where we would all gather," Mayer said. "It would send chills up my spine to hear these people, who had very little in terms of earthly wealth, sing with such joy and abandon. In the middle of it all, we shared a bit of peace on earth and we sang for what really matters -- a star to guide you home and a promise that won't fade with the passing years."
Musical influences from that early period of his life can most certainly be heard in his playing. Peter recalls, "The Indian musical culture of that time definitely influenced me, in terms of their use of percussion, and strings and I guess also the singing style, which was very melodic and flowing... They would play their drums and flutes, shakers and bells, and sing their Tamil Carols. It was a sound I'll never forget."
For the past decade, The Peter Mayer Group has continued to tour and share their music, all the while, giving back to local communities along the way.
This "Stars and Promises" show is no exception. For going on the 9th year, 100 percent of the concert proceeds from the Tulsa show will be donated to the Goodland Academy, a Christian-based Oklahoma Boarding School for boys in need of a wholesome long-term home and educational opportunities.
"Goodland Academy offers students an opportunity to experience a place where they are treated and loved as individuals. It is a place where each young man can receive the particular guidance he needs to succeed in school, in relationships and in life," reads the school's website, goodland.org.
"Stars and Promises" is a testament to the creative vision of The Peter Mayer Group and their mission to spread the joy of music and goodwill all the world over.
The concert is on Dec. 16 at 7pm at Venue 68, 6910 S. 101st E. Ave. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at itickets.com.
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