john paul walters
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john paul walters

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Meisburg & Walters: See The Morning Breaking, Just Like A Recurring Dream, Love's An Easy Song
John Paul Walters: Pure & Simple, The Cat Came Back, Rediscovering The Child In You, I'm My Own Best Friend, There's No Such Thing As Away, An Olde Fashioned Carole Sing


Feeling a bit camera shy


John Paul Walters was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. Over the years, he’s hung his hat in California, Wisconsin, Texas, Tennessee and Florida. Tallahassee, FL has been his home sweet home for the past 20 years.

Walters’ musical training began at age five with lessons in classical piano. The piano remained his primary instrument until, at age fifteen, he played his first guitar and fell in love. He later made friends with the banjo as well.

In his high school and college years, Walters met other musicians who, like him, were searching for creative outlets for their art. The result was a string of bands in which Walters experimented with various strains of folk, pop, and rock music. These groups provided invaluable opportunities for musical growth. But all too often, after a show was over and the equipment packed up, Walters could be found in some quiet corner – guitar in hand, singing to himself and shaping, for the first time, his own Song.

On an intuitive whim, Walters sold his electric guitars, keyboards, and amplifiers and settled into a solo career of coffeehouses and one night stands with his acoustic guitar. The evening’s fare was a predictably delightful blend of his gentle, lyrically poignant songs and friendly, appreciative audiences.

In 1972, Walters moved to Tallahassee to pursue a degree in Music Therapy at Florida State University. In the midst of his studies and weekend performances, he met Steve Meisburg, who later became his partner in the successful duo, Meisburg & Walters. Together these two recorded four albums on the Casablanca label and toured the nation for five years, playing to packed houses and standing ovations. It was a good match, but for Walters something was still missing.

After a year’s hiatus in the Hill Country of Texas, Walters opted once again for a solo career and moved to Nashville – the legendary southern mecca for songwriters and musicians. Three months after his arrival in “Music City”, Walters was offered a publishing deal and signed on as a staff songwriter for United Artists Music.

In 1983, Walters released his first solo album, Pure & Simple. It is a solid mix of self-penned songs, collaborations, and cover tunes. Nashville music critic Robert Oermann, in reviewing the album, described Walters as “a talented song-poet whose music is tender and lyrical in a James Taylor kind of way.” Jim Beal, music writer for the San Antonio Express-News, gave the record high marks and suggested that listeners use Pure & Simple as a “talisman against creeping musical mediocrity.”

Walters’ second album, The Cat Came Back, was co-produced with Mark Miller in Nashville and released in the Fall of 1987. He was joined in this effort by a host of top-notch Nashville studio musicians. The result was a superbly crafted collection of original compositions as well as refreshing arrangements of standards the likes of George Gershwin’s Summertime, Stephen Foster’s Hard Times Come Again No More and, of course, the infectious, in-concert crowd-pleaser, The Cat Came Back. Mark Hinson, music critic for the Tallahassee Democrat called The Cat Came Back “a well-handled and supremely recorded effort…Walters is sentimental, earnest, always wearing his heart not far beneath his sleeve.” Ben Wilcox, of Florida Public Radio, had this to say for the record: “You won’t hear John Paul Walters’ music on your local rock radio station. His style is warm and laid back – perfect for a quiet evening or a Sunday morning.”

In 1994-95, Walters released three CD’s aimed at the “young at heart”. Rediscovering The Child In You, a live album recorded at the Tallahassee Little Theatre, won a Parents’ Choice Award. The nationally coveted annual awards identify for parents the year’s best in all fields of children’s media. I’m My Own Best Friend is a collection of songs with self-esteem themes which help us understand and appreciate the fact that we are all somebody special. There’s No Such Thing As Away is an “environmentally friendly” album that celebrates Mother Earth and promotes social responsibility with songs about ecology, recycling, litter prevention, and the appreciation of nature. The songs from this CD are the basis for Walters’ entertaining, environmental education program for elementary school students, sponsored in communities around the country by local Keep America Beautiful affiliates.

Other creative endeavors include Musical Signatures, a business venture Walters began in 1988 to write and produce music jingles for radio and television commercials. Since its inception, the company has consistently won top honors, with five consecutive Gold Addy Awards for “creative excellence in advertising” by Florida’s 4th District Advertising Federation. In 1992, Walters composed the alma mater for Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in Atlanta. Walters teamed up the same year with illustrator Ray Andersen to produce a book inspired by his song, Birds Of A Feather, for the Literacy Voluntee