Join The Record Exchange (1105 W. Idaho St., Downtown Boise) on First Thursday, May 5 (5:30pm) for a Thomas Paul Album Release Party and Idaho Gives “Friendraiser” for The Peregrine Fund. Free beer courtesy of Payette Brewing Co. (21+ with valid I.D.) will be available. As always, this Record Exchange in-store event is free and all ages.
The evening also doubles as the closing party for “The 22 Are Coming” art exhibit. On March 12, DeAngelis unveiled 22 life-sized California condor silhouettes on the roof of The Record Exchange. On First Thursday, guests can observe a live raptor and hear from DeAngelis and representatives from the Boise City Department of Arts and History and The Peregrine Fund‘s World Center for Birds of Prey as we raise money for The Peregrine Fund during Idaho Gives, an annual day of mass fundraising for the state’s nonprofits.
ABOUT THOMAS PAUL AND ‘SINGALONGS’
Thomas Paul’s winkingly-titled “Singalongs,” his first all-instrumental album, was captured in Room 242 of The Modern Hotel on May 7, 2015 amid the hustle and bustle of Modern Art, the annual art happening where Boise artists and musicians transform rooms into galleries, installations, performance spaces or, in Paul’s case, a recording studio. “East River Road,” the album’s opening track and first single, is streaming now via Bandcamp.
Unlike traditional recording sessions, however, friends, fans and complete strangers were there to intimately observe Paul and his supporting cast (Bob Nagel, upright bass; Todd Chavez, drums and cajon; Eric Dewitt, saxophone and synthesizer; Jonah Shue, violin; Jeffrey Barker, flute). A team of volunteers at the door managed the crowd – once the tape was rolling on a song, the room was closed off until the recording was complete; the guests inside then were treated to a playback of the first 15 seconds of the finished song before they were escorted out and a new group entered for the next recording.
The musicians operated in this fashion for five hours – the duration of Modern Art – “and then fell over,” Paul says.
“The challenge was to make an album with several people milling in and out. For us, it was a way of taking the music off the 40-foot stage, so to speak, and literally rubbing elbows with the audience while we played. It was a fun experiment to watch people attempt to stand still in silence for 4 minutes at a time.”
The concept was partially inspired by Beauty Pill, an arty Washington, D.C. band associated with the otherwise punk-infused Dischord Records scene that was commissioned to turn a D.C. arts center into an immersive recording studio/art exhibit. For two weeks, the public was invited to observe daily 10-hour recording sessions; the resulting album, “Beauty Pill Describes Things as They Are,” was released in April 2015, shortly before Paul’s “Singalongs” session at the Modern.
Paul worked under much stricter time constraints and stressed “no overdubs” in the album’s final mixing and editing, which was overseen by Nate Agenbroad of Mixed Metaphor Recording, who also recorded and engineered the Modern Art session. “All sounds were captured at the Modern that night,” Paul says.
Cinematic and tinged with noir moods, the “Singalongs” material was sonically influenced by several of Paul’s instrumental favorites, everything from film scores to Chicago post-rock to the wordless segments of ’70s prog suites. Paul also drew from his previous experiences collaborating with filmmakers and theater groups.
“I’ve always writing non-lyrical music, always had odd-duck musical ideas that weren’t verse-chorus-verse songs,” he says. “Playing and recording at home before I had a professional career, I started noticing how music was used in movies, or how even punk bands like Fugazi and Minutemen would include instrumentals on their albums. Lyrics are great, but they’re not always needed.”
Paul also was intrigued by the idea of taking his impressive vocal range – which has drawn comparisons to Jeff Buckley, among others – completely out of the picture.
“Some would consider my voice to be my best instrument, so the challenge was to take it away.”
Thomas Paul is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and songwriter from Boise, Idaho. Regarded as one of the region’s most versatile, gifted musicians, Paul’s output as a bandleader/solo artist and in-demand sideman and session performer covers a wide range of genres, including garage rock, lounge blues, alt-country and folk.
In baseball terms, Paul is both the big bat carrying the team and the utility player contributing everywhere on the field – in short, “a talented dude,” as Idaho Statesman critic Michael Deeds wrote. “He’s been in more Boise bands than any sane musician should, and he plays essentially any instrument with strings or keys plopped in front of him. He’s also eccentric. Can music be funky and ominous? Paul’s can.”
Paul’s talents are demonstrated on vocals, guitar, bass, keyboard, mandolin and accordion in live performances and on his albums “Goodbye, Waterloo…” (2011) and “House On Fire” (2009) and EPs “Yours, Etc…” (2004) and “Interference” (2015).
When he’s not leading his own band, Paul adds sounds to several established Northwest outfits, including Nick Jaina, aka Belle, New Transit, Andy Byron Band, The Country Club,eLDopamine, LarkSpur, Ryan Bayne, SFM-Steve Fulton Music, Tracy Morrison and others. Paul also has been a member of the Boise Philharmonic Master Chorale since 2013. Past contributions include work with Circle, Rung, Wheel Of Fish, Clock, Mystery Date, Me & My Ego, MayerForceOne, Tim Andreae’s Gem State, Bill Coffey, Gizzard Stone and many more.
Paul has shared the stage with dozens of musical luminaries, including Buddy Miles (RIP), John Hammond, Mike Watt, Built To Spill, Charlie Hunter, Royal Crown Revue, Michael Martin Murphey, Teddy Thompson, Q & Not U, Calobo and Pickwick.
In addition to performing, Paul also shares his love of music as a DJ and radio host for Radio Boise‘s V3 (9am-noon Fridays), private teacher at Old Boise Music Studios and instructor at Boise Rock School and TrICA (Treasure Valley Institute for Children’s Arts).
Paul is currently at work on his third through fifth albums, in no particular order.