A native son of northern Minnesota, PK Mayo grew up in the mining town of Eveleth. From an early age, when he was known as Paul Kennedy Mayasich, he soaked up a wide range of diverse styles of music coming over the airwaves of the local college radio station, KUMD. He refers to those listening years as his college.
“Since the first time I heard Duane Allman’s intro to ‘Statesboro Blues’ on At Fillmore East by the Allman Brothers, I knew I wanted to play guitar,” he exclaims. When I was six or seven I ‘played’ my Mom’s broom with a 11/16 socket as my ‘slide’ to emulate another favorite, Lowell George.”
Mayo has spent the majority of his life following the muse of that sound while recording, gigging and stepping on stage 200+ nights a year.
He started gigging around his hometown as a teenager, playing in country, polka and rock cover bands. He moved to Minneapolis and sought the tutoring of seasoned R&B, soul, jazz and blues musicians. After a fair amount of jamming Mayo quickly fell into local bands and stepped out to front a few of his own.
He’s racked up a shelf of awards, including induction into both the Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame and the Minnesota Rock & Country Hall of Fame. While in Blue Chamber, the backing band of Big John Dickerson, he won the Minnesota Music Award for best blues recording for the song, Arms of the Blues, which, by the way, he wrote.
Along his musical journey, on stage or in the studio, Mayo has played behind a veritable who’s who of rock, blues and jazz royalty including Johnny Lang, Tracy Nelson, David Hidalgo (Los Lobos), Shannon Curfman, Dinah Washington, Jack McDuff, Terry Evans, Big Walter Smith, Bernard Allison, Leland Sklar and Mark Naftalin, to name a few. He’s traveled the world playing festivals, theatres, night clubs, concert halls and entertaining audiences from Greece to Belgium, from New York to San Francisco and all points in between. In recent years, Mayo has been the go-to slide guitarist for the Grammy winning Bowe.
Decades of touring and gigging has honed his guitar skills to a razor’s edge. Mayo’s abilities playing slide guitar (acoustic and electric) – his rare touch, feel and dynamism on the instruments combined with his accomplished original songwriting, and soulful vocals Mayo is the complete package. His music is an aural quilt built of what is today called the Americana genre: country, rock & roll, blues and folk, shaken and stirred into a satisfying musical brew.