Three-time New Mexico music award winner, 8-time nominee; winner, Xtreme Folk Scene Songwrier Contest, Gary Paul is a compelling storyteller, an insightful songwriter & a masterful performer. Accompanying himself on fingerstyle guitar, he melds life on the road with the folk traditions of Northeast & filters them through a southwestern sensitivity to deliver a travelogue of the American landscape. The styles and traditions at his command take you from acoustic blues, traditional folk & Celtic influences through to bebop & gospel.
Growing up in Brooklyn slums meant being poor, but not being deprived of music, theater & poetry. Piano lessons at age 5 gave him a love for melody & working on his grandparent's farm gave him a love for bucolic settings & bluegrass (one of his award-winners came from experiences on their farm). But it was around Boy Scout council fires that he grew to love storytelling.
Known for acoustic work, Gary played electric guitar in rock bands in his teens while studying drama at NYC's High School of Performing Arts. It was drama by day & music by night at the N.YC. hot spots of the time (eg Peppermint Lounge, the Purple Onion, the Cheetah). After high school, he continued on two tracks, acting Off-Off Broadway while playing the Greenwich Village folk scene, appearing at The Bitter End, The Village Gaslight, Folk City & elsewhere.
But to make ends meet, he played fender bass on club dates, learning the American songbook. He studied bass with famed Latin bassist, Victor Venegas, ragtime guitar and banjo with Jack Baker &, More recently, lap slide with Pat Wictor. He played bass with:
- Jeffcott & the Swamprockers
- The New York Frets (bluegrass)
- Satie (Brazilo-Cuban fusion)
- The North American Udu Band (world music)
- Shotgun Wedding (country)
- Joined @ The Head (classic rock)
During the day, he worked with the developmentally disabled and completed degrees in Psychology, Public Administration & Computer Science.
In 2002 he began playing original songs at small clubs & open mikes. By 2003, he was playing coffeehouses, Folk Festivals & cable TV shows throughout the Northeast, also appearing on internet radio. In 2006 he won the Xtreme Folk Scene Songwriter contest, with a triumphant appearance at XFest.
His debut CD, "Sid's Gaseteria," was released in 2007 on the Big Moose Music label (available through cdbaby.com AND right here on this web site - see Music/Video/Discography on the menu).
Gary Paul now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, performing throughout the Southwest & returning at intervals to his Northeast/Mid-Atlantic stomping grounds. His latest CD, "American Road," released on the Storm Canyon Music label, debuted at 38 on the Folk Charts.
Photo (c)2016 by Barbara Carroll