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the gentle giant
Monday, 28.10.2013, 20:20
oh what a night...
Paul Armfield
& Band (UK)
In 1970, the Isle of Wight off the coast of Southwest England, hosted the biggest Rock Festival to date and many others since. It's a spot much milder and sunnier than the rest of the British Isle, which is why Queen Victoria built her summer home there. And what fit the English queen, fits the king.
Paul Armfield is a 205 cm tall gentle giant, he spent some time in the boiling pot of a changing Eastern Europe but settled back on his beloved isle in the early 90's. The prodigal son has returned and he's again part of a hotbed music scene with his then bands Motion Pictures and The Bees. Oh, mundane matters like marriage, kids and a preciously stocked book store as well as the quiet to write and cultivate new Folk Noir pearls are keeping him landlocked there as well.
Contrabass and guitar are his favourite tools for fuzzing around and he's even been known to get a saw to sing. Two masterpieces «Evermine» and «Songs Without Words» got done, the latter was also issued as a Special Edition Coloured Vinyl for the 2013 Record store Day. Then, after time off, he produced  «Blood, Fish & Bone» with his band, The Four Good Reasons. And you give us one good reason why you wouldn't want to see this artist. Because, for example, moving on down the line and in 2011, he gave us the literary album «Tennyson», a musical and accessible translation of the writings of the 19th Century bard to king and queen.
Now with «Up Here», this king's returning to his roots with a collection of songs that are bittersweet, socially critical, a little cynical, heck yes, and above all, masterful. In a calm and collected manner, Paul draws the listener into his world and confronts them with an astounding onslaught of instruments like contrabass, accordion, guitar, piano and mandolin, made whole with the addition of the cora, hackbrett, sitar, charango and oud. His voice, perhaps greatly helped by oversized lungs, is throaty and sometimes roars. He sings about simple things like birds, church bells, trees, clouds, and always, always the sea. Paul describes «Up Here» as sitting up on the pinnacle of middle age, a point in his life that encourages him to contemplate the before and also to look towards what's coming up. It's a unique perspective to him, and it's one that he thinks is important and one that he savours.
From the Isle of Wight to the Isle on the Mississihl, this in more ways than one big guy is going to open his heart, art, music and bear arms to you.   

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