Morning Star Newsletter – July 2015 Edition

Welcome to The Morning Star… 
the occasionally updated newsletter of the Peter Mayer Group
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Hello one and all across the nation (and world)! Here in Nashville we have had rain-rain-rain, morphing lately into hot-hot-hot, which is making for a deep shade of green in Nashville. I take my dogs out walking out on the Natchez Trace Parkway stops and parks around Nashville, and the woods and wild grasses are more lush than I can remember. After a busy month on the road with Jimmy Buffett, I am enjoying a wonderful couple of weeks at home relaxing, recording, playing my guitar and finishing up on songs that have long been on the “to-do” list.

But the call of the road is part of the melody in a musician’s life… so in just another week it will be time to head out on our July and August tour with my son Brendan and PMG Group (Chris Walters, R. Scott Bryan, Zeb Briskovich and Miles Vandiver) for a variety of shows. We have stops in Cedar Rapids, IA; Kansas City, KS; Hastings, NE; Lincoln, NE; Madison Beach, CT; St. Louis, MO; Roscoe, IL;  Manhattan, IL; Warsaw, IN; Louisville, KY; and Columbus, OH. Along the way we will be fulfilling some the charity shows for our DemonTHON fund raising efforts. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, to all of you who have been a part of raising the total of over $257,000.00 this year!!!!

Peter Mayer Group July-August Tour

July 21 – Isle of Iowa Parrot Head Club
Isle of Iowa Parrot Head Club
Showtime:  7 pm
Tickets are available at the door – $22.

July 23 – Private Event; Bonnots Mill, MO

July 24 – Jake’s Place – Shawnee, KS
Come celebrate the Kansas City Parrot Head Club’s 20th Year by spending the evening with Peter Mayer (& friends) at Jake’s Place!
Showtime: 8:00 pm
$20 – at the door

July 25 – Private Event – Hastings, NE

July 26 – Grata Bar & Lounge – Lincoln, NE
Showtime:  7 pm
Tickets are $22 and can be purchased by contacting Ardis Moody at
July 29 – Madison Beach Hotel – Madison, CT
Peter Mayer and Brendan Mayer will perform at the Madison Beach Hotel, as part of the Grassy Strip Music & Arts Series!
7:00 – 9:30 pm
This event is free!

July 31 – The Duck Room at Blueberry Hill – St. Louis, MO
Peter Mayer and the Group will be coming back to hometown St. Louis for a night at the Duck Room at Blueberry Hill.  Don’t miss this night, a celebration of songs with all our friends in St. Louis, at one of our favorite clubs anywhere.  And back by popular demand, Brendan Mayer will be there to start the night!  We’ll see you there July 31st!

Tickets are $23.00, and will be available for sale on June 5, at 11:00 am (CDT).

This show is for ages 21+ only
Doors:  7 pm
Show:   8 pm
Limited seating available

August 1 – Private Event – Roscoe, IL

August 2 – Baker/Koren Round Barn Farm Park; Manhattan, IL
COAL CITY STRONG  (click the link for full details)
a disaster relief concert event featuring Peter Mayer Group!

Sanctuary Church, in partnership with the Village of Manhattan and the Manhattan Park District, is hosting a Tornado Relief Concert Event for the people in and around the Coal City area, who were affected by the tornados of June 22.
Tickets are available by clicking here!
August 4 – Noa Noa Wood Grill & Spikes Beach Grill
Peter performs at the Spikes Beach Grill, in Warsaw, IN!
Showtime: 7:30pm  /  Tickets are $17.50.
Tickets can be purchased on line through Paypal at Click on the Peter Mayer link. Tickets can also be picked up at the front desk at the restaurant.

August 6 – TBA; Erie, PA

August 8 – Private Event – Louisville, KY

August 9 – Natalie’s – Worthington, OH
Peter Mayer Group will perform at Natalie’s on August 9!
Joining Peter will be Chris Walters, Brendan Mayer and Zeb Briskovich!
Tickets are available online by clicking here!
Showtime:  8pm

Ray Kennedy Eulogy

My friends and I and the music world bid farewell to a brilliant pianist, composer, kind friend, father and loved one… Ray Kennedy who died on May 28th of this year. Ray, his brother Tom, and sister Wanda, came from a St. Louis, Missouri family that lived and breathed music.  Ray and Tommy went on to make brilliant music with some of the world’s greatest players in the Jazz world. My own experience with Ray dates back to my early years with a group called “Left Lane” with Roger Guth on drums, my brother Jim on bass, and Ray on piano. Ray’s facility on piano was amazing technically, but Ray’s gifts went much deeper to the core of what I believe draws each of us to music whether you do it professionally or casually. He told stories, he moved you, amazed you, then he made you laugh and cry. The heart of his music allowed you, as does all great art, to escape the gravity, the weight of life – the escape that ultimately brings you back to this moment, the only place you are most fully alive.

If you check out the YouTube link below, or listen to the track of “In Common” that we recorded as a group many years ago, you may ask: “Ray… how do you do this? What are you thinking, or do you think at all? How did you practice and develop these skills?”  I asked Ray about those things on the many occasions when we had dinner together after a show, or in one of our late night drives back from Springfield, MO, after playing Murphy’s Jazz Club. He once told me that while improvising over an up tempo jazz tune, the world, the tempo, everything slowed for him where he could see, hear and select notes intuitively in slow motion. It was that kind of “Intuition” that reminds me that Ray was gifted, using his God-given voice in ways that made angels gather, and both scared the pants off of and inspired aspiring musicians like myself.

Roger, Jim and I went to see Ray in New York last year. He was being cared for in a hospital and had been navigating the difficult waters of Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease for years with his family. With his still bright eyes and full smile, we talked and laughed about some of the crazy things we did and experienced as musicians growing up in St. Louis together in the 70’s and 80’s. From band names that for decency’s sake I can’t repeat here, to the Plymouth Fury’s with trunks big enough to carry an upright piano, to his transmission going out at three in the morning in front of my mom’s house (the agonized chattering whine that rose from that huge Chevy station wagon woke up the entire neighborhood).

From time to time during our visit that day, Ray had trouble speaking and suffered from hand and body tremors, but his mind and memory were right there and present. I asked him about his ability to hear and see music and whether it had changed since his hands, after the progression of the disease, couldn’t make that physical connection. He replied that it was all still there, playing in his head and ears and being. He went on to tell a story about Mose Allison, who played the Mayfair Hotel in downtown St. Louis, from time to time. Ray’s group opened for Mose, I believe, and after Ray’s set Mose came up and asked Ray to show him a chord that he had used at a certain part of the song. I asked Ray if he remembered the chord. He proceeded to spell out the chord voicing for us in the room, and how he had used it, this being 25+ years after the fact.

He gave me that same gift years ago, when he lent his brilliant harmonic language to songs we wrote together. He gave many thousands of people that gift in his years playing with John Pizzarelli, his brother Tom, and many of the world’s great Jazz musicians. Ray, your timeless music and spirit live on, our thanks for all you gave us on the way.

Here is a YouTube clip of him playing with John Pizzarelli. A true protege of Oscar Peterson:

The Mayer-Kirby-Mayer Acoustic Tour 2015, with Gary Green!
Photo by Ralph DePalma
“September winds will blow, chasin’ July away…”

September means it’s time to go out on the road for our annual acoustic tour!  Joining me, Scott Kirby and Brendan Mayer this year will be Gary Green on harmonica.  Originally, Gary was going to be playing a couple of shows with us, but we’re very pleased to announce that he will be on the road and stage with us for all eight shows!  Brother Jim will also be on stage with us for the last two shows of the tour.

The Mayer, Kirby, Mayer Acoustic Group with guest Gary Green will be performing in concert venues in September on the east coast from Maine to North Carolina.

September 11:  Star Theatre; Kittery, ME
September 12:  BaHa Brothers Sandbar Grill; Taunton, MA
September 13:  The Stephen Talkhouse; Amagansett, NY
September 15:  Sandi Pointe Coastal Bistro; Somers Point, NJ
September 16:  The Paramount Theatre; Charlottesville, VA
September 17:  Turnage Theatre; Washington, NC
September 18:  Rainbow Therapeutic Riding Center; Haymarket, VA
September 19:  Annapolis Maritime Museum; Annapolis, MD

The schedule is on the website, so look for the shows nearest you!  Check often, as ticket links and updates will be posted regularly!

Vinyl Release Update!

As mentioned previously, we have a new vinyl, double LP project in the works.  We’re getting closer to announcing an autumn release date for “Live in Amsterdam!”  Jim, Brendan and I are eager for you all to hear this double album (yes, an “album!”), but there will also be a way for all of our fans to listen to this live concert, recorded in Amsterdam in 2013, without the use of a turntable.  We send a heartfelt thanks to so many of you who participated in our DemonTHON fundraiser and made a $75 donation to receive a signed copy of the new LP package! Jim, Brendan and I will be sitting down for an autograph party to get your signed copies to you as quickly as we receive them from the manufacturer.  Thanks so much for your generosity and patience!

Stars and Promises 2015 Tour

Photo courtesy of David Hodge
It’s that time of year when we start planning and mapping out our Stars and Promises Tour!  If you are interested in having us come to your city, or hosting a date in your town this December, please contact Beth at:
Peter Mayer Group:
July 21 – Toddville, KS
July 23 – Bonnots Mill, MO
July 24 – Shawnee, KS
July 25 – Hastings, NE
July 26 – Lincoln, NE
July 29 – Madison, CT
July 31 – St. Louis, MO
August 1 – Roscoe, IL
August 2 – Manhattan, IL
August 4 – Warsaw, IN
August 6 – Erie, PA
August 8 – Louisville, KY
August 9 – Worthington, OH
October 25 – Palmdale, CA

Mayer-Kirby-Mayer Tour:
September 11 – Kittery, ME
September 12 – Taunton, MA
September 13 – Amagansett, NY
September 15 – Somers Point, NJ
September 16 – Charlottesville, VA
September 17 – Washington, NC
September 18 – Haymarket, VA
September 19 – Annapolis, MD

More tour dates? Visit Peter’s website at!

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