"In 1971, Papa John Kolstad was sifting through some debris in a condemned building on the West Bank when he came across an old tin sign with the words “Mill City Flour Factory” painted on it in swirly Victorian script. The sign inspired him to write a song, “Mill City Blues,” which he went on to record with his band, The Sorry Muthas, and use as the title track of an album that helped define the thriving West Bank folk scene."
This talented graduate of Berklee College of Music performed as a soloist at the Smithsonian Bicentenial Folk Life Festival, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Winnipeg and others. Papa John has been Artist in Residence at Rutgers University, DeKalb University and the University of Minnesota.
Papa John was the founder of the band The Sorry Muthas who played across the country in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Papa John, Cal Hand, Bill Hinkley, and Judy Larson of The Sorry Muthas recorded with Rosalie Sorrels on the 2009 Grammy nominated album "Strangers In Another Country" a tribute to their friend U Utah Phillips.