Paul Strummer - Singer Songwriter

About Paul Strummer

Bio: "Live-looped electro-acoustic dance-punk rock n r&b/soul singer-songwriter from Wellingborough, with two albums of original songs, originally recorded solo acoustically, but now performed with a live looping setup, live looping drum, bass and guitar for more of a band sound from one person. Paul also has many unexpected acoustic versions of well-known catchy pop/soul/rock cover songs from past to present."
Pic: hi-res picture of Paul Strummer performing live 2016
Pic: hi-res picture of Paul Strummer performing live 2013
Pic: hi-res picture of Paul Strummer's 2nd album artwork 2013
Pic: hi-res picture of Paul Strummer performing live 2012

Born in 1967, lived in Wellingborough for my first 18 years, went to John Lea School, went to college in Birmingham for 3 years, lived in London for 9 years, then moved back to Wellingborough after meeting my lovely wife-to-be (another Wellingburian) in Wellingborough's night club in 1997 (we got married in 2010).

I like to strum. It's an interest I've been getting more and more into since picking up a guitar for the first time, with no previous music experience, at the age of 40 back in 2007 - at that time I managed to pick up a beginner's nylon string classical guitar from Wellingborough Wilford's auctioneers for a fiver! Since then I've moved on to acoustic steel string guitar and did my first open mic set back in May 2011. I am proud to say that my first ever open mic song was a cover of Anita Ward's Ring My Bell! and the rest of that first set of cover songs were Leo Sayer's The Show Must Go On and Ian Dury and The Blockhead's What A Waste! All performed at the local Horseshoe Inn pub (thanks Rob) in my home town of Wellingborough.

I spent the next 4 months recovering from the shock of my first open mic! wondering whether to show my face again at that pub! and started again with my second open mic in October 2011. Since early summer 2011, I also started working on my album of original acoustic songs, 12 songs I've written myself. The album Strummer Singer Songwriter 12 track debut album was released end of November 2011.

For me, an acoustic version of a song, especially a song with just vocals and acoustic guitar, is a way of stripping down a song to its basics. In a basic form, I think you can appreciate the song more for what it is, hear the lyrics better, and get to the heart of the song. When arranging some covers I've actually found that I like the acoustic version when in the past I didn't much like the original produced version!

In the 70's, 80's, 90's I was more into rock (Queen, ELO, etc) and various r&b/soul. Apart from some noted acoustic exceptions like Queen's Love Of My Life and Is This The World We Created, it wasn't really until the 90's and Noughties that I first started seriously getting into acoustic songs. I started listening to acoustic artists sing covers in pubs (more so on holiday), covers of which helped me re-discover singer songwriters I hadn't paid enough attention to the first time round like Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, and Neil Young. I was also lucky enough to see Midge Ure's An Intimate Evening With ... 2007 tour, when Midge Ure visited The Castle Wellingborough and sang acoustic versions of his Ultravox, Visage (Fade to Grey), and other songs. Couple that with some recent guitar artists like Seasick Steve, Rodrigo y Gabriela, more recent coverage on BBC4 of songwriter shows like Songwriters at the BBC, Old Grey Whistle Test, Songwriter's Circle, and a general growth of unplugged performances like MTV Unplugged, BBC Live Lounge, acoustic sets at Glastonbury (even an acoustic version of Dizzie Rascal's and Calvin Harris's Dance Wiv Me), and I think it was inevitable that I was going to get interested in acoustic music.

I have managed to acoustically arrange, break down to the basics, some fairly complexly produced songs from various music styles, from songs like Ian Dury and the Blockhead's What A Waste to Donna Summer, Sister Sledge and Bee Gees disco songs. To me this makes me think more that the acoustic style is a neutral style for a song, allowing for many styles of music to be played acoustically. Turning that idea on its head, I also think that an original acoustic song can go the other way and be turned into different styles of music once the arrangement, production process, and artist/band style are added. To this end, and for other reasons, I decided to start creating some of my own songs in 2011, and home record an acoustic album due for digital release end of November 2011. This was done in the hope that it might appeal to others who like acoustic music, and in the hope that perhaps some professional (unlike the rank amateur I am!) musician/artist/band might like a song and produce their own non-acoustic version in the future and get the song out to a larger audience. As much as I would like to, I wont be giving up the day job, music is very much a hobby for me - it's good to have a hobby.