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MP3 Paul Gaughan - Invisible Man

Acoustic guitar based indie folk pop rock angsty navel gazing with a touch of unreqited love, if you will.

9 MP3 Songs in this album (37:41) !
Related styles: Rock: Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Folk: Folk-Rock, Solo Male Artist

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The songs on Invisible Man, the new album by Paul Gaughan, lay bare the heart and soul of this gifted artist. A native of Detroit, Michigan, who now lives in the nearby suburb of Ferndale, Paul is a singer/songwriter of uncommon talent and insight. He creates nakedly autobiographical songs that describe his search for self, yearning for love, and reactions to the vicissitudes of life. Paul wraps his incisive lyrics in a musical mélange of folk, rock, and country with touches of jazz and R&B. By listening to the candid, heartfelt songs on this disc, you will learn who Paul Gaughan really is.
As a songwriter, Paul is fearless. His songs portray his journey of self-discovery with absolute honesty. Early on, Paul learned that the best way to deal with pain is to disappear, to fade into the shadows, to become, in his words, “the invisible man.” At times, the protagonist in these songs sounds angry, fearful, cynical, frustrated, and even desperate. His loneliness and self-doubts are palpable.
Despite their brutal honesty, Paul’s songs are not depressing—quite the contrary. His protagonist, who wants to be loved and to be recognized for who is really is, finds the best in himself through his relationship with other people, the “angels” that he meets in this world. He sees beauty and value in them and, in turn, they keep him grounded. Paul’s appreciation for and dedication to those he loves are expressed perfectly in these songs.
Paul’s lyrics are poetic without being excessively literary, emotional without being maudlin. His clever wordplay and self-deprecating wit help to keep his songs sharp and strong. Paul’s tunes are introspective, sensitive, and beautiful, but there is an inherent toughness to them. They are realistic, clear-eyed observations of life and love that come from hard-won experience. At the same time, Paul’s compositions reveal his openness, warmth, and optimism. Ultimately, the songs on Invisible Man radiate hope, both for their creator and for humanity.
As a musician, Paul writes haunting melodies that often go to unexpected places. His tightly constructed songs are kept interesting by the surprising directions that they take. A similar sense of adventurousness characterizes Paul’s guitar-playing. A guitarist of uncommon skill and fluency, Paul fills his songs with unexpected chord progressions, licks, and riffs that catch the ear while subtly demonstrating his technical virtuosity.
Paul’s music is eclectic. It ranges from rootsy blues/rock to delicate English-style folk and ethereal, atmospheric soundscapes. No matter what their genre, all of these tunes have prominent hooks and definite grooves. Paul sings his songs in a resonant, flexible low baritone. To my ears, his vocal style hearkens back to some of his biggest influences—Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, John Hiatt, Ray Charles, Mick Jagger, and Richard Thompson, among others--while capturing the passion, soulfulness, and individuality of his music.
Paul has found a sympathetic collaborator in his co-producer, Jim Grant. A gifted singer/songwriter and musician, Jim has worked with Paul to create a seamless, understated production that brings Paul’s voice to the fore. The pair layers vocals and instruments while keeping the mix of the album clean and uncluttered. Jim and Paul use acoustic and electric guitars, keyboards, and drum programming to provide a complementary sonic palette for the songs. The touches that they use—a flurry of notes from a classical guitar, a wash of wind chimes, a funky bass line or drum part—are tasteful and appealing. Their production reminds me of Daniel Lanois’ solo work, of his work with Robbie Robertson and Chris Whitley (the latter produced with Malcolm Burns), and of Erik Jacobsen’s work with Chris Isaak—artfully noir-ish while respecting the wide-open spaces of this music.
On Invisible Man, Paul creates a world view that is both personal and universal. With Jim Grant, he has produced a collection that is cohesive, consistent, well crafted, and satisfying, both lyrically and musically. These memorable compositions will make you glad that you got to know Paul Gaughan, who has become a major artist with this record. After you hear these songs, this “invisible man” will be invisible no longer.

--Gary Senick

Gary Senick is a vocalist and guitarist as well as a freelance writer and editor. He has appreciated Paul Gaughan and his music for more than thirty years. (https://www.tradebit.com https://www.tradebit.com )

Copyright ©2009 by Gary Senick

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