Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

John 'Papa' Gros Announces April 17 Release of CENTRAL CITY

John 'Papa' Gros Announces April 17 Release of CENTRAL CITY

New Orleans native John "Papa" Gros (pronounced "grow") has been celebrating the Crescent City's culture with the world for over three decades. Today, ahead of the release of his third solo album Central City on April 17, he shared his take on John Prine's "Please Don't Bury," which debuted this morning at American Songwriter.

Listen below!

"I played twelve years at the Original Tropical Isle, at a little hole-in-the-wall bar one door off Bourbon St. at Toulouse St.," says Gros. "We played Yacht Rock before it became a genre, lots of Jimmy Buffett, soft rock hits from the '70s, and assorted, off-the-beaten-path favorites. This is where I was introduced to John Prine's music. and I have been a devoted disciple ever since. I have many favorites, but 'Please Don't Bury Me' was my first love. His storytelling inspires me with its simplistic wordplay, satire, and brutal honesty. I often wonder if Randy Newman and Prine are related."

Central City is the latest chapter in the singer and pianist's lifelong tribute to his city's diverse musical legacy. Gros' feel-good originals hold their own alongside his takes on beloved songs by Allen Toussaint, Lloyd Price, and Prine. The stellar supporting cast, which includes Papa's former boss, bassist George Porter Jr. (The Meters), as well as drummer Herlin Riley (Wynton Marsalis) and trumpeter Mark Braud (Harry Connick Jr.), has defined the cultural, historical, and musical significance of New Orleans for generations.

"The most important reason why I recorded 'Please Don't Bury Me' is I have four friends who have been in need of organ transplants," Gros says. "One had a successful liver transplant, a second is in recovery from a successful lung transplant, and two friends are struggling on the list waiting for new kidneys. The lyrics in the chorus say it best: 'Please don't bury me, down in that cold, cold ground. I'd rather have them cut me up and pass me all around. Throw my brain in a hurricane and the blind can have my eyes. The deaf can take both my ears, if they don't mind the size.' If I can use John Prine's song to bring awareness to donating organs, help my friends live a long happy life, AND put smiles on people's faces, then I've done something good. Please donate your organs."

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes, and More from Your Favorite Broadway Stars

Related Articles View More Music Stories

From This Author TV News Desk