"i have discovered that it is enough when a single note is beautifully played" - arvo part
Gregory Paul spent most of his life as a musician in Upstate, NY before moving to Seattle in May, 2009. He has been touring and releasing solo albums sporadically since 1996 consisting of haunted, mesmerizing music with folk, traditional / old time, rock, and experimental influences. He currently can be found performing throughout the week at the Pike Place Market in Seattle where he sings and plays very old clawhammer banjo songs. GP is also known for providing accompaniment for folks like Lindsay Fuller, Sera Cahoone, Shannon Stephens, Shasta Bree, Annie Ford, Sadie Ava, Gibson Cima and more. He is sometimes joined by the very gifted Holly Merrill on vocals and Annie Ford on violin and vocals.
City Newspaper, 2008:
This Side of the Ground
After recently arriving at a seamless blend of his pop songwriting with
roots, ambient, and post-modern influences, Gregory Paul plunges headlong
into mortality -- and his roots side -- on his latest. Delicate electronic
atmospheres float over plucking banjo and rusty guitar like mist over the
Appalachian hills, while Paul’s soft wail hangs heavy with the sorrow of
all the ghosts dwell there. But this isn’t old time music for dilettentes.
When Paul sings “a grain of truth on which to stand,” he sounds wise and
weary, knowing full well where we’re all going to end up (the ground of
the title). By focusing on narratives outside his own experience, Paul
hits a more powerful universal chord and, ironically enough, leaves us
with a most life-affirming work.
Fuzz Sounding in the Snow
Asst. A&E Editor
Skidmore College, 1995:
After the Regular Light set, WSPN courted the audience with a set from Gregory Paul. Still in a light haze, the audience sat down to an acoustic set by one of the members of area known rock band, Stillmotion. Paul, decked out in dim color clothing and a black pull down wool cap, looked as though he'd just come in from fishing on the coast. With only a violin to accompany him, Gregory Paul entranced the entire audience with slow, acoustic indie pop songs. With the addition of the violin, the songs seemed more in tune with a coffee house atmosphere. After a short break, Gregory Paul brought out a good old electric six-string, complete with bow, and began what can only be called a duet with his violinist. For several minutes, the two created a web of sound which lulled the audience into a euphoric semi-alert state. By crafting a field which sounded like a cross between middle eastern prayer songs and some experimental art rock, Gregory Paul enraptured the audience while still keeping a stolid countenance and space between him and those staring at him from the dark.
Big Takeover, 2005:
"This New York upstater must be a studio rat. This is his fourth LP (two are with the band Autumdivers) of making an acoustic guitar expand and shimmer into multicolor soundscape, to back and bolster his confident voice (which bears minor resemblance to Radiohead's Thom Yorke). An expert picker (see the 10-minute soft monster title track) he is equally adept at banjo, keyboards, and violin; anything to create a neo-symphonic climate for his soft-croon to swan dive into. Very, very, transporting" - Jack Rabid, Big Takeover.
Delusions of Adequacy, 2006:
Gregory Paul's story is probably similar to a thousand other musicians in this country. The Rochester, NY native wants nothing more than to play music, and he's been working at it for 20 years now, performing with one band or another and developing a strong solo career at the same time. He became well respected in his small city and toured regularly on the college circuit. He's even had music used in the last Winter Olympic television broadcast from his band the Autumndivers. In short, he's talented and hard working, but widespread recognition has been slow and sporadic.
I've seen Paul play in Rochester a handful of times, but only recently have I come to fully appreciate the depth of this artist's talents. It was probably the Autumndivers latest modern rock take on a shoegaze sensibility of their self-titled 2004 album that sold me, and that was buoyed by some absolutely astounding solo shows as well as Paul's addition to local favorites Hinkley.
While Paul has always mixed some use of guitar and vocal effects into his music, past solo efforts have leaned toward the Elliott Smith singer/songwriter approach. While those songs were good, Paul shows off a completely unique approach on Awake from the Flash, combining elements of folk, singer/songwriter, psychedelic, shoegaze, and experimentalism, while never losing his pop foundation. At the heart of his music is his acoustic guitar, with which he uses a variety of effects. It makes for a grandiose album of sweeping guitars, gorgeous vocals, and emotional beauty that I never expected.
Paul's versatile Jeff Buckley-esque vocals especially shine on "I Still Feel", a gorgeous song that also showed up on the Autumndivers album in a different version. One of the most powerful tracks on the album is
"A Walking Fire," which has a "Battle of Evermore" (Led Zeppelin) style intro but quickly overwhelms with its gorgeous vocals and guitars. The singer/songwriter side of Paul comes through on tracks like "Lost Diamond" quiet, acoustic-guitar led with haunting strings in the background, and the quietly moody "Silly Dream." And "Diver and Child" would fit nicely into the new folk movement highlighted by bands like Devendra Banhart. By contract, other tracks are more experimental, like the swirling "Burn Fast Burn Bright," which uses some nice vocal effects, looping, and sampling of sounds.
It's remarkable that Gregory Paul is able to recreate the effect-laden approach on stage as well as on album, and a couple of shows accompanied by a violinist floored me with their beauty. While Paul has been appreciated on a local scale, I can only hope that a strong solo album like Awake from the Flash helps his music reach an even broader audience.
Gregory Paul, the local singer/songwriter seems to be the busiest musician in Rochester. I’ve seem Paul play many times, and he always offers something different. Yet I’ve never been so completely wowed by the musician – or nearly any musician – as during his four-song, 30-minute set.
Accompanied only by a violinist, Paul offered a dose of songs that made astoundingly beautiful use of effects pedals. His singer/songwriter material became some of the most lush and lovely songs I’ve heard in ages, and I found myself closing my eyes as they spiraled out, accompanied by just the right amount of echo applied to Paul’s Buckley-esque voice. While Paul’s always shown affection for the effects and layered style (see his band the Autumdivers), his solo work, which is more traditional singer/songwriter material on album, came across in that vein astoundingly well. Perhaps the only fault was that it slowed down the night before Hinkley took the stage. But you won’t hear me complaining. It was truly a beautiful sound, and I hope he brings the violinist back for future shows or recordings.
"What a way to start an album. An ambient build-up that seems to shake your nerves, creeping and crawling its way into your body and brain like a slithering snake. Gregory Paul, the frontman for New York�s stellar indie pop band Autumdivers, whom I gave big props to when I reviewed their self-titled album, shows his skills as a solo artist. Paintings of musical tapestries and pin-ups of melodic pop arm the album with a soundscape unlike any other, proving that we as humans have only begun to experience our musical potential. Experimental pop-rock with psychedelic undertones that coast through melodies and harmonies like a speed boat, �Awake From the Flash� could potentially be the singer/songwriter album of the year. Get this album now!" - J-Sin [smother.net]
With guitars, vocals, percussion, violins and electronics, electro-acoustic ambientician Gregory Paul creates the texturally all-over-the-place patchwork of anon which encompasses many things... beginning with a pair of oddly-entrancing folk-ethereal pieces where six-strings twang and sparkle in acoustic and electric varieties and vocalizations hover ; spirit and decibels, a gentle mini-cyclone of soft guitar jangles stirs up softly crooned strains of wordless emotion, preceding the more vaporous ripples of dustbowl couple. Crispy drum-n-bass pitter-pats over the swirly miasma of vocal loops which cycle through pollyanna smile; said beats eventually subside as the puffy waves of sound surge and recede. Somewhat more off-kilter (or less on-kilter, perhaps?) , stronger souls (13:14) reverberates disorientingly while assorted chords strum above in psychedelicate arabesques and glimmery ripples of feedback, for quite some time it seems. Awash in a dense wavering sea, strings and vocaldrones are heard between the jagged crests and troughs of clear interlude (2:27). The droning depths of anon seem considerably (and appealingly!) more sedate after the previously jarring extremes; less-turbulent spirals of glowering cloudiness are sparked with hazy, mid-tempo shuffles (and occasionally, what may be viola-like strands)... a very cool mix! Woozily droning fiddlesounds give guitcello an experimental longform hoedown-meltdown flavor. -ambientrance.org
Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, 2008:
Who: Folk singer/songwriter from Rochester, who plays guitar in the band Varnish Cooks. Why check him out: Because in some of his press photos, he looks like Daniel Day Lewis' character from There Will Be Blood. And if his music was the score for that movie, it wouldn't be all that surprising. For more than 20 years, Paul has been painting images of old-school Southern and Midwest America using instruments such as acoustic guitar, the musical saw and banjo.