From Paul: "My most recent release is Farewell To Storyville on Threadhead Records. Thirteen songs of just me strumming and telling stories like I've done all over the world and have been doing since I was a boy. It's a look back, not just at the last few years but at a life, my life."
Paul Sanchez grew up in New Orleans.
Born across the street from the Mississippi River on Tchoupitoulas & Soraparu in a part of the city referred to as the Irish Channel. He was raised on First and Constance by his mother Sylvia who's strength earned her the nickname "Rock" from her family. It was a working class Catholic neighborhood populated with hard working, hard living, hard drinking and fun loving German, Italian and Irish immigrants. His father, Joe "Black" Sanchez was Isleno from Delacroix Island in Louisiana who had come to New Orleans as a boy after the flood of 1927 where he met Syl and fathered eleven children, working double shifts as a longshoremen until he died, a young man with a big family.
To look at Paul Sanchez, you just know he is from New Orleans. and when he takes to stage there is no doubt the man is New Orleans in his heart. It’s evident. It’s clear. It’s remarkably, unmistakably original New Orleans music he plays, paradoxically familiar and new.
His new release, Farewell To Storyville, again on Threadhead Records is Sanchez stripped down to the bone. Strumming his guitar and telling stories as he has done on stages all over the world. Having worked with and learned so much from the great jazz and brass band players in the city these last few years, Sanchez went in to the studio alone with those influences and just his songs and guitar. Paul says, " Exit To Mystery Street had a big band on it, I was in shock, more frozen by the events of the last few years then I knew at the time and I needed the support and community as I began to begin again. Stew Called New Orleans felt like me, John Boutte, and a couple of friends hanging out. I was healing but still reeling and needed the company".
On Farewell To Storyville, it feels like the end of Paul's journey home, the third set of songs released in his personal trilogy on the road to redemption. The new release contains eleven originals and the title track, Farewell To Storyville, written by the great, Louisiana born song writer, Clarence Williams. As Sanchez turns 50 this November this release isn't just a look back at the years since the flood, it is a look back at a life. The loss of parents, search for love, the lessons and the laughs along the way. A Farewell To Storyville as he knew it.
His release last spring on Threadhead Records, his first duo record with friend and long time collaborator John Boutte', "Stew Called New Orleans", represents the years of friendship as well as the cultural and musical influences they have had on each other. The eleven songs feature nine new songs written by Boutte' and Sanchez. The cover art, Marigny Girl was a gift to John and Paul from Chicago artist Tony Fitzpatrick who came to town for the art event, Prospect One in October 2008 and has fallen in love with the music, characters and romance of the city.
Paul's first book has been released, also on Threadhead Records. A collection of essays about life, music and love in the new New Orleans. Begun as a series of blog's chronicling Sanchez's return to New Orleans after the flood. "What I lost in the flood was my stuff, what I found since then is my life". "Pieces of Me" is now available on Threadhead Records.
Paul's first band was The Backbeats, along with Vance DeGeneres, (The Cold, The Daily Show), Steve Walters (The Normals), John Herbert, (checkout his 07" CD "Cannonball"), and a drummer he was to encounter again in his career named Fred. The band broke up when Vance took off for Los Angeles and a career in comedy and Paul moved to New York City.
Arriving in the Manhattan in the mid-eighties, Paul refined his art in the flourishing “anti-folk" scene in the East Village where he befriended artists Michelle Shocked, John S. Hall and Roger Manning, This scene of songwriters, poets, performance artists and eccentrics had a lasting impact on his song writing which is audible still. Paul returned home to New Orleans in the early ‘90s to form Cowboy Mouth along with John Thomas Griffith, (Red Rockers), Paul Clement, (Woodenhead), and his old drummer from the Backbeats, Fred LeBlanc.(Dash Rip Rock).
Sanchez chose the name of the band after a play he was reading at the time by Sam Shepard, Cowboy Mouth, about the transforming power of rock n' roll. "Clem" left after six months and was replaced by former Backbeat bassist, Steve Walters,(The Normals), who left after recording the band's first two indie releases. Rob Savoy, (The Bluerunners), became the band's third bass player just before the Mouth signed their first major label deal with MCA. The Mouth's popularity and ambitious touring schedule kept Paul on the road for most of 16 years, through a fourth bass player, Mary Lasseigne, and a fifth one, Sonia Tetlow, (HERMAN PUT DOWN THE GUN).
Though he contributed greatly to the band’s catalogue and success, his desire to make music that was closer to his heart and better demonstrated his talent as a singer/songwriter led to a solo career that paralleled his day job as he recorded seven solo albums, (Jet Black And Jealous, Wasted Lives & Bluegrass, Loose Parts, Sonoma Valley, Live At Carrollton Station, Hurricane Party, Between Friends), while performing his duties in the band.
When Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast and New Orleans was flooded, Paul was in the recording studio. Attempting to process the extent of the losses he wrote a powerful post-Katrina tribute, “Home”, which was featured in the Starz documentary New Orleans Music in Exile.
When being interviewed by Ellen Degeneres on her talk show the year after the flood, Paul was asked by Ellen what he loved about New Orleans and he replied, " well, I'm pretty sure we invented a good time so if you ever had one...).
His music has also appeared on the television series "Homicide: Life on the Street" . In the films , The Accused , (starring Jodie Foster, ), Steven Soderbergh's Underneath, the independent film At Last, which Tom Anton wrote and directed, (starring Martin Donovan and Kelly Lynch). In the movie Paul appears onscreen with legendary New Orleans singer John Boutte' performing the song "Foot of Canal Street", which they wrote together. He served as musical supervisor for the film. "Hurricane Party" from his 2000 release of the same name is featured at the film's end credits and during storm season on NPR. 2009 sees the release of the short film, "The Not Goods Movie:This Is Absolutely Not Good, An hilariously funny rock/mockumentary about the rise and fall of "one of the greatest unknown rock bands ever" directed by New Orleanian, John Sanchez. Paul has a small role as "legendary" record producer Paul-o Not Good and served as the film's music supervisor.
Further contributing to his song writing resume' is the inclusion of the Boutte'/Sanchez song, "Foot Of Canal Street", on the critically acclaimed Shout! Factory New Orleans musical-history boxed-set, "Doctors - Professors - Kings & Queens a Big Ol' Box Of New Orleans". The song appears on the disc after Jelly Roll Morton's "I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say", prompting Paul's New Orleans born mom to comment when she saw it that he had "finally made it up there with the Big Boys".
2008 also saw the re-release of a rewritten version of the title cut of Paul's first solo release "Jet Black & Jealous", originally released in 1992. The Eli Young Band made the song the title cut of their major label debut on Universal/Republic. "Jet Black and Jealous" made it's debut at number 5 on the Billboard Country Album Charts in September 2008. It has been in the charts throughout 2009.
Soul Asylum's Dave Pirner produced his 2008 release of new material, "Exit To Mystery Street", ( Threadheads Records), the title track was written by Paul and screen writer Colman deKay.
In 2008 Paul made his first appearance on a jazz record singing "Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans" on SHAMARR ALLEN's debut release, "Meet Me On Frenchmen Street".
When he does play with a band, Paul Sanchez and The Rolling Road Show ,(check them out at, (www.youtube.com/paulsanchezmusic
), it is a celebration of New Orleans music, communication and letting the good times roll. Each member of the band sings and plays their own songs as well as Paul's. The band is made up of Paul's favorite performers around the city, which include the many different styles, (rock, brass band, funk, folk, gospel and jazz), and is a real coming together of New Orleans musical community.
Continuing to work with his favorite performers in New Orleans he co-wrote "Walking Through Heaven's Gate" with Glen David Andrews. It is the title cut of gospel album released by Glen on Threadhead Records at the start of 2009 on which Paul also plays guitar in Glen's band. Walking Through Heaven's Gate has been reviewed in Billboard Magazine and The New York Times.
One of the most exciting young trumpet players to come out of New Orleans since the flood is Shamarr Allen. Allen just released his second disc on Threadhead Records, Box Who In? Paul co-wrote a song with Shamarr for the release called, Real Bad Habit, assisting Allen in making his rock debut on disc much as Shamarr had done when he invited Paul to sing on his first release, Meet Me On Frenchmen Street. Shamarr spent much of 2009 touring with Willie Nelson and played trumpet on Willie's next record. Shamarr and Paul begin work on a duo release for Fall 09'.
Also coming this Fall, Shamarr Allen and Paul team up for a duo project called, Bridging The Gap.
Paul resides in the Treme' section of New Orleans now. He continues to write, sing, live and breathe New Orleans.