Singer Has Payson On Her Mind

PAYSON PEOPLE

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Singer-songwriter Lynda St. John loves Payson -- so much, in fact, that she's written a song about the area.

And if things go as planned, "Payson On My Mind" could be on your mind very soon as the town's official song. St. John has been talking to Scott Flake, director of the Payson Regional Economic Development Corporation, about the idea.

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Lynda St. John

"We were talking about something else and the idea of a town song came up," St. John said. "I told him I'd written a song, ‘Payson On My Mind,' that would be great.

"I ran home and got a copy and gave it to Scott. He played it real quick before he had to run out and he really liked it."

The timing would be perfect, because St. John opens at Fargo's Steakhouse on Friday, April 2. While she's been performing elsewhere of late, St. John is no stranger to the Rim country.

"I played at the Landmark for a long time," she said. "Then I went to Vegas and most of Christopher Creek came too. It was fun, but we all came back."

Over the course of a career that began when she was 17, St. John has also performed at such places as Kohl's Ranch, the Ox Bow Saloon and the Rye Bar in the Rim country, at Camelback Inn, Rawhide, Mr. Lucky's and Graham Central Station in the Valley, as well as in Vegas, Nashville and Hawaii. She's opened for such headliners as Lee Greenwood, Ray Price and Hank Williams, Jr.

With a voice that is a dead ringer for Patsy Cline's, audiences can count on hearing "Crazy" and "I Fall To Pieces," but the Payson resident has done covers for people as diverse as John Denver and the Mills Brothers. And then there's her own original stuff.

Besides "Payson On My Mind," the Montreal, Canada native has written dozens of songs, including "To Be With You Tonight," "Swing Me," and "Just To See How Far They'll Get."

One you've probably heard is "Little Doggies Need Loving Too" which became the anthem for the Arizona Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

"I wrote it for this dog that just loved me and I loved him. One day I heard on the news that Amanda Blake (of ‘Gunsmoke' fame) was coming to Paradise Valley Mall to raise money for the animals," St. John said. "My dad encouraged me to go down there with my guitar and perform it for her.

"I ended up singing it for Amanda Blake and hundreds of people. That day the ASPCA adopted the song. I donated it to them and I went on to do 12 TV commercials for the ASPCA with Amanda Blake.

She and Blake became close friends, and when the latter developed cancer St. John "became her right hand."

"I took care of her domestic animals, chauffeured her," she said. "I met a lot of people, so it helped me too."

Between 1988 and 1994, St. John won a host of awards, including the Arizona Country Music Association's Top Female Vocalist and the National Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year. After that she seemed to drop off the face of the earth.

"I came to Payson," she said with a laugh.

While her focus turned more to recording, St. John has never stopped performing. Nor does she think she ever could.

"If I go one or two weeks without working I start climbing the walls," she said. "I'd sing eight nights a week if I could."

She's working on a new CD at the rate of about one song a week. Local engineer Billy Ikita is mixing the tracks and it should be out in another month or so.

You can also catch St. John performing at Francisco Grande Hotel and Golf Resort in Casa Grande on Thursdays and at Casino Arizona on McKellips and Interstate 101 on a given Friday or Saturday.

But all the places she's performed, she likes Payson best. That's why she hopes Fargo's turns into a long run.

But if it doesn't, she's working on another dream.

"I do the best ribs anywhere, and I want to open a restaurant called Ribs and Roses," she said. "Basically it will be mesquite barbecued ribs and all the ladies will get a rose."

In fact, she originally went to see Flake to talk about a location for her restaurant.

"Oh, I definitely plan to do it up here," she said.

Payson On My Mind

by Lynda St. John

See the white caps on the mountains

The fallen snow that lies up there

Lost all alone in among all those trees

Feel the breeze in the air.

A tiny squirrel on a hilltop

Casually stops to say, ‘Hello'

Bumble bees don't bother me

These are times I love so.

Peaceful moments spent

Moments I won't forget

Just to leave the world behind me

Kiss the tears away

For they'll return someday

The moment I have Payson on my mind.

I see a dove in the distance

Gathering food for her young

Little sparrows nesting fast asleep

Assuring me the day is done

Peaceful moments spent

Moments I won't forget

Just to leave the world behind me

Kiss the tears away

For they'll return someday

The moment I have Payson on my mind.

(To purchase a CD of "Payson On My Mind" or for information about booking St. John, call (602) 463-0418 or e-mail stjohnmusic@hotmail.com.)

Profile

Name: Lynda St. John

Occupation: Musician/entertainer

Employer: Self

Age: 46

Birthplace: Montreal, Canada

Personal motto: Love is unconditional.

Inspiration: Angel guides

Greatest feat: Mountain climbing (climbing a 5.7 in Nevada)

Favorite hobby or leisure activity: Anything out in nature.

Three words that describe me best: Short, furry, cuddly.

Luxury defined: Log cabin in Payson, a big one with lots of wildlife inside and out.

Dream vacation spot: Maui

Why Payson? I fell in love with her majestic beauty. Mother Nature was very generous to Payson and the Rim country.

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