Max Bunyan looks like Burl Ives or a Santa Claus with his pearly white beard, rotund figure, and jolly, smiling face. But when this Dodge City hometown boy sings, he sounds like an angel.

    Bunyan will share his songwriting and singing talents from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Carnegie Center for the Arts’ free Final Friday Art is Ageless concert.

    Shortly after retiring in 2005 as executive director of Santa Fe Trail Community Corrections, Bunyan released his first CD, “Follow Your Heart.” Since then, he has written 400 songs in a variety of genres and hopes to complete his sixth CD, “Mercy and Grace,” by the end of the year.

    “One of the biggest changes in my career is finding a freedom to be the musical me that God created me to be,” said Bunyan, who writes and performs folk, cowboy, gospel, smooth jazz, Jesus jazz, country, New American patriot love songs, novelty/fun songs and tribute songs “for the special people who have touched my life, like my wife, Claudia.”


Max Bunyan looks like Burl Ives or a Santa Claus with his pearly white beard, rotund figure, and jolly, smiling face. But when this Dodge City hometown boy sings, he sounds like an angel.
    Bunyan will share his songwriting and singing talents from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Carnegie Center for the Arts’ free Final Friday Art is Ageless concert.
    Shortly after retiring in 2005 as executive director of Santa Fe Trail Community Corrections, Bunyan released his first CD, “Follow Your Heart.” Since then, he has written 400 songs in a variety of genres and hopes to complete his sixth CD, “Mercy and Grace,” by the end of the year.
    “One of the biggest changes in my career is finding a freedom to be the musical me that God created me to be,” said Bunyan, who writes and performs folk, cowboy, gospel, smooth jazz, Jesus jazz, country, New American patriot love songs, novelty/fun songs and tribute songs “for the special people who have touched my life, like my wife, Claudia.”
    Another of those "special people" is his 88-year-old mother, Maxine Beadle, a Good Samaritan Center resident who played “boogie-woogie” on the piano when Bunyan was growing up.
    “I call her my business manager,” Bunyan said. “Mom gave me some good advice. She said, ‘Do lots of fun songs and love songs,’ so that’s what I’ve put together for my Carnegie concert that I’m calling ‘Love and Laughter… From My Heart.’”
    Bunyan’s first memory of singing was “Sweet and Low, Winds of the Western Sea” in third grade at Sunnyside Elementary School.
    “That was my musical awakening,” he said. “The lights came on, and I realized that I loved music. The notes resonated in my spirit.”
    Bunyan has performed since then on KGNO radio programs, the TV show “Horizons of Faith” in Miami, Fla. and in more than 700 performances of the Seventh U.S. Army Soldiers Chorus in Europe.
    He also has sung at the Kansas Wheat House in Cimarron, the Meade County Historical Society, Sawlogs & Strings summer concerts, Busters in Sun City and the Holiday Inn in Joplin, Mo.
    “I’m especially proud of my song about Greensburg (from the CD “Here and Now”),” said Bunyan. “It went all the way to number two on the SoundClick music charts.”
    Bunyan also has been invited to preach and sing at several churches: United Methodist at Mullinville for 80 women survivors of the Greensburg tornado; the Church of God in Ashland; Victory Life Fellowship and Christ the King Lutheran, both in Dodge City; and First Christian in Cimarron, where he ministered in music to the Christian Bikers Association. 
    “I dedicated my song, ‘Rolling Thunder,’ to Gary Mills, president of the Thunder on the Plains Christian Motorcycle Association Chapter from Ashland, and to all the Christian bikers who were there that Sunday,” he said. “I wrote a song ‘Most of All’ for my musical friend, Barry Ward, who has moved to Colorado. One line goes, ‘I will miss my friends on the Kansas prairies most of all’ to the central point: ‘I must follow God’s call most of all.’”
    Bunyan’s CDs “Follow Your Heart” and “Songs for Soldiers and People Who Love Them” are on Wal-Mart’s worldwide online music store. His music also is distributed online by CD Baby to Apple iTunes and other outlets. Locally, his CDs are available at Hastings, Briar & Hale Music, Trails West, Christian Book House and the chiropractic office of Dr. Scott Fischer.
    “I write my songs from my experience,” Bunyan said. “My songs ‘The Dade County Jail (parts one and two)’ are about my experiences as an officer at the Dade County Jail in Miami from 1980 to 1992. 
    “Sam Ormes created and directed the ICTV inmate correctional TV network for 27 years, and it was in its early stages when I was there. Three years ago, I reconnected with Sam, and I’m proud to say they used my songs ‘Dade County Jail’ for their Bible Study theme song every Thursday.”
    For more information about Bunyan, visit his Web site at www.Maxgbunyanmusic.com.