While blues music generally doesn't chart in the mainstream, Australia has a strong scene and one musician leading the way is Sydneysider Paul Winn.
With a new live release, 'Live At Lazybones', the Paul Winn Band have returned with another work of exceptional quality.You're overseas at the moment; is that for touring/ live shows or a general holiday?
[Paul] The trip is a holiday. I have been living on a sail boat travelling around Komodo island in Indonesia.The band have had more than half a million views on YouTube as well having your music featured in films and TV; knowing your music is reaching such a vast audience, does that drive you on to keep on the music path?
Having a lot of people discover my music on YouTube has opened some doors; occasionally being the reason for getting some fun gigs. Although I am happy with a lot of people listening to my music, these days it takes billions of views to make a serious living out of original music, which means I still have a long way to go.The new album as the title suggests was recorded live at Lazybones in Sydney; looking back, do you still have fond memories from that evening?
The night we filmed and recorded our 'Live At Lazybones' release was a blur. There was a lot of things to concentrate on. I enjoyed the challenge of putting it all together, but I was relieved when the night was over.Did you plan to record the show for a future album release?
I had planned to record a live album and spent a long time planning. I visited a few venues looking for nice acoustics and a visually appealing stage. As our music involves improvisation, not all the songs we performed made it on the record. Sometimes certain songs just connect on some gigs and sometimes the version we do doesn't connect as much as I think it should. The album is all the songs that really worked on the night.The album features Rick Wilson on harmonica; what did he bring to the recording?
Having a harmonica player in the band has opened up a whole, new sound. The last album featured an amazing sax player from New York, Adrian Cunningham. The change to harmonica has moved the sound more into the blues realm. Rick Wilson has also been writing a few songs with me for the next album.Is the harmonica the most under-appreciated musical instrument in modern music?
I haven't heard the harmonica on a recent pop song for a while, so I agree the harmonica may be under appreciated.You're returning to Lazybones (Sydney) to launch the live album in October; what do you have planned for the evening? Any special guests in the works?
I have the exact personnel that appeared on the 'Lazybones' album, except for the drummer. I am fortunate that Simon Fishburn, who is the drummer from all my early albums is making the trip from New York, where he now lives, to play a handful of gigs with me.Any other Australian live shows planned?
The Lazybones launch will be the only gig with the full band. A six-piece band gets expensive. So I will be planning some smaller-sized band gigs over the next few months.
What is your guitar of choice? Why?
About seven years ago I tried my current guitar (prs 513) and I am still loving that guitar. The guitar is so versatile and I love switching sounds from song to song. Flying with more than one guitar is not always an option and the prs has a Stratish sound and a darker Gibson-ish sound all in one.Is music, right now, a 24/7 focus for you?
Music is a seven days a week thing for me. I am on holiday as I write this, but I believe you need to fully immerse yourself in music just to have a chance at making a living these days... I play about five gigs a week performing in other people's bands, solo, corporate gigs and I also occasionally write and record music for films and documentaries. All my spare time is spent writing, promoting and practicing my original music.You've been playing musical instruments since you were seven; would you consider yourself a career musician or do you have other adventures on your life radar?
I am definitely a career musician. I manage a couple of holidays a year and happen to be on one right now. The only other thing I am any good at is scuba diving and snowboarding, so my holidays revolve around that.Your childhood was spent touring in the family Kombi with your dad a guitarist in a number of bands; not your typical upbringing, but I imagine as a kid, it was almost the perfect life; how influential has your father been with your own career?
I think the reason I am singing and playing guitar is because I saw my dad doing it growing up. I was surrounded by musicians jamming in the house, hanging out in studios and watching bands play from the time I could walk. I think that played a huge part in following that path.
Paul Winn Band launch 'Live At Lazybones' at Lazybones (Sydney) 12 October.