Papa John Mays
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Papa John Mays

Band Folk Acoustic


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CD project begins summer 2009



Papa John Mays is a singer/songwriter based in Austin, Texas, performing in the solo acoustic folk guitar tradition. Papa’s songs exhibit careful craftsmanship in lyric, melody and rhythm. His acoustic guitar style is percussive and syncopated and his culturally insightful lyrics often have a whimsical edge. One listener said, “After hearing your songs I think you would be a very interesting person to sit down and talk to.”
In songs like Long Long Journey and One Little Look Papa sings in a subtle and understated idiom that promotes social justice through commentary on the ways contemporary culture tends to marginalize those who are most in need. Sometimes, as in What are You Talking About? and Everyone’s a Hustler Now, the social message is loud and clear, and comes with a bit of humor to soften the blow. Some of his songs, like Lonely Roads, Minor Encounter, and Doggies and Tattoos are introspections on the complexities of human relationships and the value of community in the modern world. Other tunes, like Today’s the Day, Hold Fast, and So Beautiful, are just simple songs with great hooks about the wonderful opportunities and beauties we find all around us when we stop and look.
As writer and performer of original material, Papa draws on his mature experience as a husband, parent, teacher and global traveler to create songs that reach into our interior world of community, politics, relationships, culture and faith. Papa describes himself as a seeker of truth, devoted to learning a consistent way of life, a life that is honest, just, and compassionate. Papa’s songs urge us to value other people, and our lives together with other people, above the fleeting satisfactions of money or possessions.
Papa’s early influences include 1970s greats such as James Taylor, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne and Leo Kottke. In recent years he has come under the spell of Eliza Gilkyson and Patty Griffin, songwriters whose work he deeply admires.
Papa is in the early stages of planning for his first CD, which he intends to record during summer 2009.