Author, three-time New Mexico music award winner, eight-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; 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.
His first successful foray into storytelling on paper was in June, 1965, when he won the New York City Junior High School Narrative Writing Contest for his short story, "A Day at The Beach," about a family seaside outing gone wrong.
Music and theater were the parallel tracks of Gary's performing life. He played rock guitar in his teens while studying acting at NYC's High School of Performing Arts. It was drama by day & music by night at the Peppermint Lounge, the Purple Onion, the Cheetah & other NY hot spots. After high school he continued studying acting at HB Studios, acting Off-Off Broadway while playing the Greenwich Village folk scene, appearing at The Bitter End, The Village Gaslight, Folk City & elsewhere. He even studied photography with veteran photographer Osbert Charles.
But to make ends meet, Gary Paul played fender bass on club dates, learning the American songbook, & the unique styles of authentic Caribbean & South American Latin music. He studied with famed Latin bassist, Victor Venegas, while also studying ragtime guitar and banjo with Jack Baker. Later, he studied lap slide with Pat Wictor. As a bassist, he played 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.
Starting in 2002 he began focusing on original songs at small clubs, open mikes, coffeehouses, Folk Festivals & cable TV shows throughout the Northeast, as well as appearing on internet radio. Then came the 2006 Xtreme Folk Scene Song Contest win & 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).
Now a resident of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Gary Paul performs both as a soloist on acoustic guitar and on bass for other singer songwriters, returning at intervals to his Northeast/Mid-Atlantic stomping grounds. He even occasional appears on bass with the EDM group Chill-Factor 5. Gary is a member of Folk Alliance International and many of its regional chapters. He is a founding member of the SWRFA New Mexico subcommittee. He is also the current Western Representative on the Executive Board of Local 1000, the North American Traveling Musicians Union. He was featured performer at the SWRFA-Colorado 2012 conference. His Sophomore CD, "American Road," was re-leased March 2nd, 2018 on the Storm Canyon Music label, with digital distribution through Electron Farm Records. It debuted 38 on the Folk DJ Charts.
Gary has also finished his first novel, tentatively entitled The Port Edgerton Chronicles, has begun work on a second novel in that series and is also writing a science fiction/fanstasy novel that he hopes to turn into a series.
Photo (c)2016 by Barbara Carroll