“Too young to give up, too old to fight, and way too late to scare me away!” -- CD REVIEW--
"Too young to give up, too old to fight, and way too late to scare me away! "Paradise Found – Review of Scott Paul's album Paradise by Christina Navarro, Ed.D. I had the opportunity to meet Scott Paul recently on a trip to Pennsylvania. Early one evening his business manager drove me onto what appeared to be an off-road course into pitch-black darkness - the kind only found in the country. However, we soon pulled up to a quaint 100 year-old, blue and white Victorian house just outside Bethlehem's city limits. A parade of rabbits greeted us along the dirt path leading to the house. And as we stepped onto the creaky wooden porch, I noticed a standard issue baseball 'home plate' instead of the traditional welcome mat. A whistle blew, and the entire house shook as a train made its way down a nearby track.
I wondered, who is this character? The inside of Paul's house gave me another window and perspective into the artist as a person. Among exposed brick walls, a denim couch, and antique furniture were several gutiars, a piano, drums, two computers, and the painting found on the album cover. A warm smile and embrace welcomed me, which signaled I was in the company of a friend. He offered me a glass of wine, and we sat down among the equipment and got to know one another. What I learned is that Paul is a study in contrasts. An artist by heart, a talented film producer by trade and a Harvard educated professor in another life, Paul has worked, written, produced, and played in various venues for more than 25 years. Anyone who listens to his music or meets him in person quickly learns there is more than meets the eye and still waters run deep. His music and persona straddle the genres of folk and country settling comfortably into Americana. Originally from Raleigh, a fertile area for musicians and songwriters, Paul eventually resettled in New York for a respectable almost two-decade career as a network news editor. In 2003, he left the concrete city life for the winding, tree-lined roads of Northeast Pennsylvania to try his hand as a college professor. After a few years, the cinderblock hallways of academia began closing in, while the fresh air and small town life permeated his soul and ultimately lead to the production of Paradise. Perhaps paradise is what Paul has finally found and, after decades of willing it to life, been able to convey through a mix of songs. Smart, is the most fitting word for the album.
The music is a mix of upbeat, sing-out-loud folk songs, slow moving ballads filled with beautiful imagery, and another set which address the social and cultural phenomena of politics and religion. Each song takes the listener on a journey of personal highs and lows as well as a sociologist's insight into American culture. The album opens with "Save Me." It's hard to know if Paul is crying out for personal redemption or pleading with society to tithe as the lyrics shift from, "…something to put away" to "…you won't need to beg or borrow because today I need to share." Regardless, the song is fun to sing and could easily be heard in the contemporary Christian rock scene or as a philanthropic corporate motto. The album quickly shifts to "Roll With the Punches," a quirky and clever song getting a lot of radio airtime in Texas, where many witnesses claim to have seen a UFO. Actually, the song is a commentary on society from the perspective of an outsider. Not many artists can mention Dr. King, Mohammed, Kung Fu, Mata Hari, and metro-sexual in one song - and it makes sense. "Paradise," the album's title track, takes the listener back down to the earthiness of the genre as Paul contemplates the constructs of happiness, love, religion, and peace. "I Love What I Do" is a metaphor of his personal paradox. "I Love What I Do" has a happy, toe-tapping, get out of your chair and dance rhythmic beat that could easily be the theme song for the Society for Human Resource Professionals. The verse is simple and profound, "I only make a pretty good living but I'm living a really good life." "New World Order" once again showcases Paul's ability to take an outrage at the state of politics in the country and create amusing and thoughtful images. "Tell Me When" is one of the slowest ballads on the album and the pace adequately sets the mood. The lyrics are universal for the human condition of the need to relentlessly forge ahead and to sometimes "...let your poor self be." "The Hungry" poetically describes unnamed societal caste systems people aimlessly move through daily in the U.S. "Another Man's Shoes" comments on religion, a nonjudgmental lifestyle, and personal freedom. "Getting Started," is a high energy shuffle one could imagine becoming a cult phenomenon for those turning 40 and entering midlife – inspiring great hope that " I'm too young to give up, too old to fight, and way to late to scare me away. I turned 40 this morning to a midlife warning and I'm getting started today. " This song screams Martina McBride or Shania Twain - a chick, karaoke hit for sure. Scott Paul's Paradise appropriately closes with a song about Pennsylvania titled, "Promise Land," which could easily be marketed as a state song or for the tourist bureau. It is an easy listening melody that would make any Pennsylvanian proud and outsiders envious.If you like Lyle Lovett, Paul Simon, John Hiatt, or even Billy Joel - give Scott Paul's Paradise a whirl. His genuine Americana style echoes the genre's roots in folk, country, blues, and rock for a synergetic blend complete with full band arrangements. Maybe he is a living example of the genre itself – a smart contemporary living a simple life in the small, quaint American town. His album Paradise is a culmination of work that took 25 years to percolate into a mediation that is finely brewed and warms the soul. Scott Paul is proving to everyone that he's just "gettin' started." Visit The House Concert European Hub (& Acoustic Music Club Network) The Medicine Show