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“Can’t Miss” upcoming events in the Mid-Atlantic Region!
Joanne Shaw Taylor (Alexandria, VA) May 30, 2019
Jason Isbell (Columbia, MD) June 21, 2019
Hootie & The Blowfish (Bristow, VA) July 27, 2019
Jimmy Buffett & The Coral Reefer Band (Holmdel, NJ) August 6, 2019
Many casual American music fans know Peter Mayer as the longtime lead guitarist for Jimmy Buffett’s, Coral Reefer Band. Mayer has had what some consider “the coolest summer job on earth” for nearly three decades now. In the “off season” however, the son of Lutheran missionaries keeps busy with a vast array of other musical endeavors. Mayer has over a dozen solo projects under his guitar strap and has produced and/or recorded for numerous other artists including his son, Brendan Mayer.
A few years ago, the singer/songwriter realized that one of his most fulfilling and worthwhile ventures is the Peter Mayer Christmas Tour. To Mayer fans, his solo tours are already legendary and the Christmas shows are deemed even more special. This year, Mayer and company will spend most of December travelling America from coast to coast performing in small theaters and churches. You might say his Christmas gig elicits a contrasting atmosphere to that of his summer band of piratical gypsies.
Pete was kind enough to talk with Antietam Music Review recently about his 2018 Christmas tour.
AMR: When did you start doing Christmas tours and what inspired you to do so?
PM: “When I was living in St. Louis, I played at churches and venues in the area, sharing the Christmas songs we had written. By the year 2000, we had recorded “Stars and Promises”, our first Christmas album. The Christmas tour officially began about that time. My brother Jim and I, along with percussionist R. Scott Bryan, would go to various venues and hire string players in each city to perform with us. It was a wonderful time. From just a few shows in the early days, we’re now up to doing 15 or so shows a season. This makes our 19th year for the Stars and Promises Tour.
AMR: Tell us about your Christmas band.
PM: “We have a 7-piece band of wonderful musicians that include piano, keys, guitar, violin, mandolin, bass, percussion and native flute. This year’s band is as best it has ever been. All of the musicians are seasoned pros and have played with some of the best in the business. What I love about their shared musical abilities is that we can move to just about any style of music pretty confidently. It makes playing this music each year a lot of fun. To add a bit of icing to the gingerbread so to speak, is our production, provided by Stewart Sound of Asheville, North Carolina. Chad Stewart and his crew have designed a wonderful set for this year and their sound and lights are state of the art.”
AMR: Musicians joining Mayer on stage for this tour are: Chris Walters (Piano/Keyboard), Zeb Briskovitch (Bass), Brendan Mayer (Guitar), Mark Holland (Flute), Miles Vandiver (Percussion/Drums) and Ben Sanders (Violin/Mandolin).
AMR: Will all the material be Christmas themed?
PM: “Yes it will. There will be carols old and new in settings that feature much variety in the music. Musical styles run the gamut from Jazz to Americana, Classical to Rock and Celtic.”
AMR: How did you choose the locations and venues for these shows?
PM: “One of the challenges of playing a Christmas tour is that we have about three weeks to do all of our performances. That is quite a puzzle to solve when trying to make the city to city transportation. When riding by tour bus, it’s doable. We are thrilled to be playing in Hendersonville, North Carolina for our first show at Grace Lutheran Church.”
AMR: Your December 12th show is in Winchester, Virginia, the hometown of Patsy Cline. Have you ever performed in Winchester before?
PM: “I have not, but can tip my cap and perk up my ears for the sounds of Patsy Cline and all the great music she gave us.”
AMR: Will you be touring with Jimmy Buffett again in 2019?
PM: “Yes, it looks that way. Jimmy seems to be related to the energizer bunny and does not slow down for long. It has been an amazing journey to be with him for these 29 years.”
AMR: In addition to being a singer/songwriter and musician you are also an author. How did your book “A Junkman’s Christmas Eve” come about?
PM: “This book came about because of my love for Christmas, its music, its celebration of some “best of us”. I believe there’s not one of us that don’t get stopped in our tracks when a song that accompanied a formative story of our lives plays out of the blue. Ever since I first walked into the living room where my dad would play his classical and popular LPs in India where I grew up, the melodies, harmonies, voices and lyrics of music made sense of the sentences that rattled out of a noisy world each day.”
The Peter Mayer Christmas Tour begins in Hendersonville, North Carolina on November 30th and concludes in Tulsa, Oklahoma on December 20th. Mayer’s book and his CDs are available on line and will also be sold at the events.
Details and ticket information for all shows can be found at www.PeterMayer.com.