Peter Mayer | 04.12.08

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petermayer.gifMixing and blending influences you can get a glimpse of the world music rhythms and flow of Paul Simon, song craft from The Beatles, vocal and acoustic guitar nuances from James Taylor, jazz guitar improvisation like Pat Metheny, and extremely slick lead guitar playing in the style of Larry Carlton. I can't believe he hasn't caught on more nationally on a large scale level.

 

 

Blueberry Hill, St. Louis

Peter Mayer gave an inspired performance in a rare appearance for his hometown fans of St. Louis. Fortunately for us all, it was caught on film. Within the intimate setting of Blueberry Hill's Duck Room, the show was taped to be broadcast on the CCIN show "The Set". Peter Mayer put his heart out there into a seemingly flawless show. The crowd was full of energy and had a great time moving to the music. It was the perfect setting to capture the true flavor of watching Peter Mayer sing and play his music.

On break from his role as backup band for Jimmy Buffet, he takes opportunities to record and perform his original compositions.  The original lineup of the group PM was his brother Jim Mayer on the bass and Roger Guth on drums. Jimmy Buffet used the band once for some fill in work and ever since then he hired Peter Mayer's entire group as his permanent rhythm section.

He has many songs to select from his lengthy recording career starting with the first PM release in 1988. He played selections from his new release as well as some older classics like "Romeo's Garage", "Faith in Angels", and "Still in One Peace". He also did a raucous version of one of my favorite tunes, "BB's Got the Blues". It's all about a great little blues club in downtown St. Louis called BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups. His song is about sneaking in, growing up and sharpening his chops down there watching the masters of the blues; it's always a good time!

There seems to be no bounds to his talents as singer, a songwriter, and as a guitarist. Mixing and blending influences you can get a glimpse of the world music rhythms and flow of Paul Simon, song craft from The Beatles, vocal and acoustic guitar nuances from James Taylor, jazz guitar improvisation like Pat Metheny, and extremely slick lead guitar playing in the style of Larry Carlton. I can't believe he hasn't caught on more nationally on a large scale level. Especially with the popularity and fascination of American Idol being in the mainstream, here is a guy whose singing ability alone, places him in the top ranks of vocalists on the charts today. But his mastery of songwriting and melodies and harmonic movement - it is just astounding. Then you put on top of it that his virtuoso guitar playing is at a level to rival the best jazz artists and studio musicians around. For example, his songs have a lot of chord changes in them, and have a strong bass line that is also picked up by the piano, then there is a soaring melody that is harmonized with the violin; well, his fingering on the guitar would have these incredibly complex arrangements that cover the bass part, the chord changes and the top note of the melody all at the same time that he is singing with incredible expressive freedom. It is awe inspiring to watch him do it all so effortlessly as the music just flows out of him.

Peter Mayer had some very talented, top notch musicians backing him up. Chris Walters from Nashville was all over the piano and keys, perfectly in sync with Mayer and also quite a soloist. The incredibly diverse Scott Ryan was on percussion, harmony vocals and acoustic guitar. It took me a moment to realize that he wasn't using a kick drum on his drum set. He was using a box drum, which is simply a box that the drummer sits on and plays the bass drum part with his hands. He was using brushes for most of the set, so it was a very unique and warms sounding way to approach the percussion. Mayer also had the beautiful young Maggie Estes on violin and mandolin and played with both subtlety and authority. Each of these fine musicians are recording artists in their own right and have CD's available and a long list of studio and touring credits to their name. As it happens, prolific internationally renowned keyboardist Jay Oliver happened to be in the audience and was encouraged to sit in on a tune. It was bad ass .

Definitely go pick up his new release called Still in one Peace (Flock Records). The compositions and the quality are right in line with his best work. He also has a series of Christmas music and does performances in St. Louis during the holiday season. Keep an eye out for upcoming shows when he is in town, you won't want to miss it! | Derek Lauer

 

 

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