PM Eaton has sung in and around Doylestown plenty of times over the years. But, this weekend will be the first time he’s truly bringing his own voice.
“I love Doylestown, I love the arts and communities there, and I want to be a part of it,” said the guitarist, singer and bandleader of Phunkyman.
This Saturday, Eaton brings his band to Puck Live for the first time. As the lead singer for a corporate band, he’s performed at countless weddings in the area. He’s also played Puck and other venues as a sideman in other projects.
But Phunkyman, a funk/soul/rock/R&B outfit with a full horn section and strong influences from the likes of Prince, Jimi Hendrix and Lenny Kravitz, is an entirely different kind of party.
“This is my artistic outlet, where I’m able to use my own voice with people” said Eaton. “I’m not using Jay Z’s voice or Kanye or the Beach Boys. It’s my experience of love and loss.”
It’s also only part of the story. Along with the wedding band and Phunkyman, which has released three albums, Eaton’s also the Chair of the Fine Arts Department at Girard College and leader of the Music Ministry at the Greater Philadelphia Church of Christ. That’s not even accounting for his studio work and smaller projects. It’s a lot of work, if you consider it work. Eaton doesn’t.
“Music is what I do all the way around. For me, it’s not work because it’s music,” he said.
“When I’m at church, I’m ministering to people, so that’s not work. When I’m teaching kids and seeing the inspiration, being able to feel themselves and realize they can conquer anything they put their minds to, that’s not work.”
Even the wedding band has its place: “Every weekend, I get to see someone get married and take part in their happiness. So that’s not stressful.”
It’s all part of his mission to share God’s message of love, family, faith, hope and perseverance to the world. It’s an idea that may be rooted in his own faith, he says, but is ultimately universal.
“When you’re young, you just want to have fun and go and hang out and fall down and do what you do,” Eaton said. “As you get older, you start looking for other things, finding your faith or finding your path in life.”
That means, along with the “good-time” music, are songs about his son, who passed away as an infant, and how he and his wife persevered to stay together after that. Others are about their love or his 10-year-old daughter.
“There’s no story related to everyone, but someone needs to hear that one story,” he noted.
But the occasional weighty subject matter won’t make the show a solemn affair. “It’s still dance music, some horn tunes, people go wild for it,” Eaton said. “If they’re dancing, I’ll keep them dancing.”
Phunkyman will perform a free show at Puck Live, 1 Printers Alley in Doylestown, on March 19. Visit www.reverbnation.com/phunkyman.