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Paul Asbell | Steel String Americana

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United States - Vermont

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Blues: Acoustic Blues Folk: Fingerstyle Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Steel String Americana

by Paul Asbell

Highly individualized acoustic-guitar-driven twists on blues and jazz standards, old-timey country-based themes and original pieces from the "american roots" tradition.
Genre: Blues: Acoustic Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Such A Night
4:29 album only
2. Happy Thumb
3:28 album only
3. You Can't Get That Stuff No More
3:40 album only
4. Down In The Valley To Pray/Jesus, Make Up My Dying Bed
4:52 album only
5. My Blue Hellhound
4:11 album only
6. Stardust
5:11 album only
7. Stack-A-Lee
4:16 album only
8. Amos Moses
4:18 album only
9. Bury Me Beneath The Willow/Redwing/Knuckle Breakdown
3:15 album only
10. I Loves You, Porgy
4:18 album only
11. You've Been A Good Ole Wagon
3:48 album only
12. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?
3:32 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
From his early years, playing blues on Chicago's South Side, to his present multi-faceted career based out of northern Vermont, Paul has earned an underground reputation as a true "musician's musician". He has played and recorded with Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, Lightnin' Hopkins, Otis Rush, Magic Sam, Earl Hooker, Lightnin' Slim, Paul Butterfield, Sam Lay, Pops Staples, Donny Hathaway, and numerous others while in his hometown of Chicago, Ill.

Paul moved to Vermont in the heady "back-to-the-land" days of 1971, where he still lives. He soon started playing with a head-spinningly diverse array of artists, including Big Mama Thornton, singer-songwriters Paul Siebel, Jim Ringer, Mary McCaslin, and Rosalie Sorrells, jazz greats Jon Hendricks, Bobby McFerrin, Sonny Stitt, and Nick Brignola, and many others. In 1978, seeking an outlet for more personal musical visions, he formed Kilimanjaro, and recorded 2 award-winning albums for Philo Records which led to several appearances at the Kool Jazz Festival at SPAC, the Atlanta Jazz Festival, the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the Roskilde Festival in Copenhagen, and numerous national tours and concert dates. In 1981, he and other members of Kilimajaro joined forces with a legendary saxophonist/blues singer to form Big Joe Burrell and the Unknown Blues Band, which remains a Northeast regional favorite to this day.

Recent performance/recording credits include David Bromberg, Paul Butterfield, Betty Carter, Joshua Redman, James Carter, Kermit Ruffins, Michael Ray, the Sun Ra Arkestra, The Wild Magnolias, John Stowell, guitar wunderkind Julian Lage, and former student Trey Anastasio.

In 2002, his much-awaited debut acoustic CD, "Steel String Americana", was released to rave reviews in Guitar Player, Acoustic Guitar, Vintage Guitar, Sing Out, Downbeat, Dirty Linen, and others. The Flynn Theatre called it "A genre-blurring, virtuosic waltz through the the deep heritage of American folklore, where styles of Robert Johnson, Doc Watson and Dr. John rub elbows with those of Joe Pass and Bill Frisell." Acoustic Player Magazine.com called it "A must own CD for any collector of American music."

In March, 2005 a follow-up CD, "Roots & Branches", was released, and the raves are already starting to roll in. For more info on Paul, check out his website at paulasbell.com.



to write a review

Buddy Bolden

Great Music from a Brilliant Guitarist and Arranger
Paul Asbell is a fine singer, as he demonstrates on several of these tracks, but the main reason to buy this album is that he is one of the best acoustic guitar players active today. An expert fingerpicker with a beautiful tone and formidable technique, Asbell is revered by guitarists for his inventive renditions of traditional blues, folk, and ragtime tunes, as well as for his original compositions in those idioms. However, he is also extremely talented as an arranger and performer of jazz numbers and standards from the American popular songbook, and some of his most intriguing arrangements inject country blues with a strong infusion of jazz, or vice versa. (For example, check out "My Blue Hellhound," a clever mash-up of "My Blue Heaven" and Robert Johnson's "Hell Hound on My Trail.") This album is a great introduction to an extremely talented musician who should be much more widely known.

Michael Wong

Paul Asbell's Guitar Mastery
Paul Asbell’s sublime trilogy beginning with “Steel String Americana, followed by "Roots and Branches" and culminating (so far) with "From Adamant to Atchafalaya” is a journey and exploration of Americana in a way that have never been done before. It is a survey of what makes American music so distinctive while acknowledging it’s source origins. (celtic, afro-carribean, etc.). Paul’s mastery of the jazz, blues and “country blues” guitar genre and “in character” vocals gives him the perfect platform to present these arrangements that are whimsical, sometimes tongue in cheek, sometimes beautiful to the point of tears. A thoroughly entertaining emotional journey that stirs the soul!

Eric Madis

Paul Asbell: Steel String Americana
Steel String Americana" by Paul Asbell is a trip through American music, from Delta blues to Piedmont blues to country to jazz to standards from the American songbook. Asbell is no dilettante, no lightweight. He is a monster, master guitar picker playing a variety of music with great artistry and presented in a thoughtful and truly enjoyable manner. Although many of the tunes are solo performances, there are terrific duet and trio performances on some tunes, featuring Asbell with vocalist Sandra Wright, organist Mike Sucher and bassist Tony Markellis. This recording is truly enjoyable and engaging throughout, so do yourself a favor and support this deserving artist!


Excellent acoustic guitar music
An excellent Cd from Paul Asbell. Perhaps not as good as Roots & Branches but still one of the best acoustic guitar CDs around. I would recommend this CD to anybody who loves Americana and guitar music.


Dr. Kent Gustavson

There's No Sweeter Guitar Picking Than This
Simply click "play" on "Down in the Valley to Pray/Jesus, Make Up My Dying Bed" and you will hear the brilliant hybrid of country and city, hills and flatlands. Asbell's title couldn't be more apropos - America oozes from the resonance of his steel strings. This album rivals the ambient journey of Brian Eno's "Music for Airports," while, at the same time, echoing the hard sweetness of guitar masters like Doc Watson and Mississippi John Hurt on the other, spun, at times, through the complicated turns and cycles of jazz. This album is good enough to eat, and I've been feasting on it over and over again. It is always at arm's length in my commuter Camry.

Tom Young

A must have for the acoustic guitar afficianado!
Whether you are a guitar player, music historian, or a guitar music fan (or all three!), this recording offers up both a lesson and a listen. On the surface, it's a collection of expertly written/arranged and performed tunes that most likely will stay in your listening queue for some time to come. If you dive deeper, the player will receive a valuable lesson in composing, arranging, and playing; the historian will be taken on a journey through the many influences of American music; and the listener will be treated to the musicality of the obviously gifted Mr Asbell's craft.


Solid release...
This release of Paul's does a great job of showing his dynamic playing abilities. Whether it's the faster picking or slower more melodic style....everything is played with great intonation and feeling. I can only hope to play this well someday. Now I gotta get his newest release that's also for sale here on CD Baby.