About Paul Lyons

About Paul Lyons

Dad, Musician, Harmonica Player, Programmer, Husband, Writer, Sometime Surfer, Skier, Sunday Bike Rider .. not in that particular order

Paul Lyons – Early days

The Automobile Version

One day, somewhere in a grade school library in the Midwest, A young boy by the name of Gus was looking at a map of the United States. The wind chill was somewhere very negative. The radiators, filled with spiderwebs, were always stone-cold. He looked at the map and saw the California coast and thought – “when I call the shots, and get to choose the program, I am getting the hell out of this God-forsaken place. I am going to check out that Highway 1 that goes up and down the West Coast of the United States. The view from the edge of the continent must be incredible!“

Before that cold day, his family had always traveled East. Back to visit the grandparents. Cousins in Vermont. Reunions in the Holiday Inn in Michigan. Grandparents in tall buildings in Philadelphia. Ashtrays in the elevators smelling like death. Large cars with chrome bumpers. Then three years, in the Middle East with extended layovers and jaunts though Europe. That was pretty cool! Strange smells and colorful sounds echoing from the bazaars. Exotic food that sometime made you wonder if it had recently spent some time in someone else’s digestive track. We survived that, even the skiing in the mountains in the Alburz with the unattended high speed Poma lifts. Above the treeline. Open and barren.

Many years later, in 1982 I headed West in a 1974 Honda Civic CVCC. 38 Miles to the gallon. Five speeds and I mostly lived in gear 5 – like many before, amazed at the open landscapes. After a winter working in the mountains of Utah I spent about a month camping up and down that Highway 1, exploring the coastal towns. I vowed to return someday.

The return trip started on a cold and rainy day in November 1987. After eloping with my beautiful wife in the county of Dodge, we headed West. Married in a law office in a little town. The lawyer looking nervous and foreboding. The female secretary in the office served as witness, seemingly enjoying the change of the daily routine. The second vehicle was a 1966 Mercedes 200D that I bought for $1000. Money earned by painting houses with my brother and playing music in bars and at a summer theater.

The diesel motor diesel gave it 38 miles per gallon but unlike the Honda, this car had three on the column, glow plugs, a sun roof, fins and a massive trunk for all our treasured vinyl record albums we still listen to to this day.

Since then I have called San Francisco home with my wife and two, now, college aged offspring.

Paul Lyons from San Francisco, playing harmonica with some interesting characters

This website, The Pelican Cafe has been around since 2006.

Peace and Be Well


Azabache CD

Wrote many arrangements on this CD. Great working with Manny and Ray from many years ago!

Available at CD Baby and other places listed below.


Ten for Toots – 10 Toots Thielemans Chromatic Harmonica Solos – Transcribed and Analyzed

By Paul Gustav Lyons

Ten for Toots

An in-depth look at the style of one of the great improvisers of the last 50 years. Excellent for not only chromatic harmonica players, but jazz players of all instruments.

Available at Lulu Press

Also see
Essential Toots Thielemans Albums

Arranging for Salsa Bands –
The Doctor Big Ears Essays

By Paul Gustav Lyons
Available as an eBook for $3.95

Arranging for Salsa Bands - The Doctor Big Ears Essays

The Pelican Café Essays from Guatemala

By Paul Gustav Lyons
Available as Paperback for $18.00

Butterfly Jazz Trio


CD I helped produce from 2013 with my son Kai Lyons.

Available on CD Baby & iTunes

Kai Lyons – Guitar
Erik Von Buchau – Drums
Dillan Riter – Bass



01 Cold Duck Time
(Eddie Harris) 5:29

02 Autumn Leaves
(Joseph Kosma, Johnny Mercer, Jacques Prévert) 8:39

03 Gingerbread Boy
(Jimmy Heath) 6:00

04 Polka Dots And Moonbeams
(Jimmy Van Heusen, Johnny Burke) 8:29

05 Adam’s Apple
(Wayne Shorter) 8:13

06 Beatrice
(Sam Rivers) 7:48

07 Oleo
(Sonny Rollins) 4:50