Paul WJ serves up down-home roots music. Americana, the country music tradition — “with its storytelling legacy and its small-scale views of human frailties and triumphs” (this description of country music was found in issue #62 of roots music magazine No Depression). Songs that have heart.
Together with Thomas Lina (Rosemary’s Sons), Paul recorded his debut album Songs That Tell A Story, an EP featuring six songs (2012). The album was listed in “The year 2012 in top country albums” by New Country Radio at Smelne FM.
In the Spring of 2009, Paul traveled to Nashville, TN, for a Songwriting Intensive by Mary Gauthier and Darrell Scott. In the liner notes for the song Nashville on his debut album, Paul writes: “Being a fan of acoustic guitar blues, one day I was scouring the blues section in a record store. Between the regular stuff, I noticed a CD with the cover depicting, in black & white, a man holding a battered acoustic guitar. The album was Dublin Blues, by Guy Clark. I’d never heard of him – but everything looked just right, so I gave it a try. Much to my surprise, it was a country album, and it has been one of my favorite ones ever since. More than ten years later, in May 2009, I participated in a Songwriting Intensive with Mary Gauthier and Darrell Scott in Nashville, TN. On the second day of the workshop, Guy Clark made a surprise appearance as a guest teacher, and I broke down… (Later I found out that Darrell Scott was one of the musicians on Dublin Blues.)” Oh well. Hey, Josh Ritter once said that Guy Clark “is so imposing that even his hair looks like it could kick your butt” (Mountain Stage, Oct. 4 2010).
Also at the workshop in Nashville, Paul met Darden Pierce (Oklahoma City, OK). Later that year, Paul happened to be in Arlington, VA, not far from where Darden lived at the time, and they arranged a get-together. Darden brought two guitars, a couple of cans of beer and an idea for a song that had come up during his two-hour drive to the hotel. They finished the song in the hotel room that night and have been writing together ever since. The song, “This Time (I’m Listening to my Heart)” is one of the songs on Paul’s debut EP.
Paul listens a lot to artists like Guy Clark, Slaid Cleaves, Mary Gauthier, Tom T. Hall, Mississippi John Hurt, Jim Lauderdale, John Prine, Darrell Scott, Wayne Scott, Jesse Winchester and Townes van Zandt. And many others. Preferably live, whenever possible.
Paul WJ — an economist by trade, a songwriter by heart — lives in the Netherlands.