About Us

Americana Music Academy has been operating since 2002 in pursuit of our mission to teach, promote, and support the advancement of all forms of American roots music and its influences and to pass on the grand tradition of American-based music to future generations.

Founded by local Lawrence musician Thom Alexander in 2001 as a gathering place for musicians, artists, teachers and learners committed to American roots music, Americana Music Academy continues to thrive today with the support of our teachers, board members, donors and stakeholders.

 Americana Music Academy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts and culture organization dedicated to helping those at a disadvantage take part in music education, learning and jamming!  

 

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Offering individual lessons on many instruments!

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Weekly jams and a music calendar!

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Tens of thousands of lessons of taught since 2002

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We work and live in the Lawrence community!

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Ask about our audio options for live events!

Just like any small organization, Americana could not be successful without the contributions of our donors, benefactors, teachers and students and their families. Special thanks to the Bramlage & Willcoxon Foundation for their support over the years.

Americana Music Academy Board of Directors – EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Bud Jeans

Bud Jeans

TREASURER

Bud Jeans is an Americana Music Academy rugrat having spent much of his childhood at or around our house and community. Bud is a real estate appraiser, plays mandolin and bass with the Breezedale Trio and has a background in finance. 

Joe O'Brien

Joe O'Brien

PRESIDENT

Joe O’Brien is a professor emeritus with the School of Education at the University of Kansas. Joe is committed to top-quality education and educators and has been donating his time and skills to Americana for nearly two decades.

Megan Luttrell-Guss

Megan Luttrell-Guss

SECRETARY

Megan Luttrell-Guss is a local singer-songwriter based out of Baldwin City, KS and winner of the 2020 Best of Lawrence Solo Musician award. She is also the founder and host of the Women’s Songwriter Showcase. http://www.meganluttrell.com/

Mike Hannah

Mike Hannah

VICE PRESIDENT

Longtime Lawrence musician, radio host and marketing specialist Mike Hannah has been with Americana Music Academy for years. Mike is also a founder of the Kaw Valley Roots Festival in Lawrence. You can see Mike performing around town as a mandolin player and vocalist.

Staff

Max Paley

Max Paley

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Lawrence native Max Paley returns to Americana Music Academy after a nonprofit musical journey with KUVO Jazz 89 and Swallow Hill Music in Denver, CO. Max first encountered Americana Music Academy at community jams behind the old Harmonic Arts building in Lawrence, KS around 2002. He later taught both group and private mandolin lessons at the Academy from 2006-2008. After over a decade of touring nationally and internationally with bluegrass groups including Oakhurst, That Damn Sasquatch and the Blackberry Bushes Stringband, Max returned home to lead Americana in September, 2020.  

Christy Miller

Christy Miller

SCHOOL DIRECTOR

Christy Miller is a Kansas native and folk music historian with a special penchant for mid-century American folk music. She holds a doctorate degree in Musicology from the University of Kansas, and her research has taken her to archives throughout the US and England. A 2015 BMI Woody Guthrie Fellowship allowed her to spend weeks neck-deep in Woody Guthrie’s personal papers and unpublished writings and lyrics, and she has presented her work as part of numerous local and national conferences and publications. 

Christy is also an experienced and passionate teacher: she has twenty years of piano teaching experience and has taught collegiate courses at William Jewell College and the University of Kansas. She is also the co-founder of Piano Detectives Club, a beginning piano curriculum for children. Christy is driven by the belief that music is for everyone, and she is thrilled to help Americana fulfill its vision of being a home for students, teachers, and music-makers of all kinds.

Supporting organizations and businesses

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