John “Papa” Gros is a bedrock New Orleans artist, a keyboardist, singer and songwriter who draws on funk, rhythm & blues and Americana songcraft, not to mention the whole New Orleans Mardi Gras repertoire.
John “Papa” Gros is a bedrock New Orleans artist, a keyboardist, singer and songwriter who draws on funk, rhythm & blues and Americana songcraft, not to mention the whole New Orleans Mardi Gras repertoire. For over three decades, Gros has brought his city’s celebratory culture to listeners around the globe, mixing all the sounds of New Orleans – funk, trad jazz, brass band, blues – and makes it his own signature gumbo. His new solo album Central City, shows Gros capturing New Orleans’ distinct feel-good charm with help from some of its’ most renowned players.
Gros began playing gigs when he was just fifteen years old but didn’t truly kick off his career until after college.. During the seminal years that followed, the young man cut his teeth as a solo performer on Bourbon Street while also developing a reputation as a formidable sideman. He backed up some of the biggest names in the Crescent City,: such as Meters bassist George Porter Jr. and guitarist Snooks Eaglin. Studying under mentors decades his senior, Gros absorbed a lifetime of lessons in only a few years and quickly became part of the direct lineage of New Orleans music.
Between 2000 and 2013, Gros began his transition into the spotlight by leading Papa Grows Funk. The band released six critically-acclaimed studio albums, including Needle in the Groove, which was co-produced by New Orleans legend and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Allen Toussaint. The group’s weekly gigs at the world-famous Maple Leaf became a staple for both locals and tourists alike. After the group dissolved, Gros returned to sideman work, and in 2016,he returned to the spotlight yet again with his second solo album River’s On Fire. His newest album, Central City, pays homage to everything he loves about New Orleans and is available now on CDand vinyl.