With Parker Paul's debut full-length Lemon-Lime Room, many wondered if the piano man wouldn't be consigned to the awkward yet prestigious league of musicians' musicians--that cadre of the pop intelligentsia which includes the Harry Nilssons, Randy Newmans, Todd Rundgrens and Ron Sexsmiths of the world. Each one is recognized for their superior songwriting talent, yet the cash register has never rung for any of them with quite the same frequency as would naturally be suggested by the multitude of airy plaudits they have each garnered. With the unleashing of the second full-length record Wingfoot--the album that no one expected to hear for another five years--Parker Paul has made it clear to the world that he is not a man to sit on his hands.
You should have no illusions. The future for Parker Paul is still unclear. But he is resolute on one thing: not relying on critical acclaim, on ivory towers alone, to spread the word. The masses will come or Parker Paul will fade permanently into obscurity. Lingering in and out of the public's eye, clutching tightly to the consolation prize of being deemed "canonical", will not suffice.
The formula remains the same. Parker Paul writes songs about people whose lives have a real lived-in quality to them. They are not overly beatific, worn-down or damaged as the subjects of most realist songwriters today are. And when Parker Paul's lyricism provides sage advice to the listener, it is accidental, not intentional. Parker Paul is never pedantic. For him, stating the obvious comes natural: "The people who tell lies / About their crappy childhoods / Probably had crappy childhoods."
To really fill out his songs of love, laughter and devotion, Parker Paul enlisted a full band of crack musicians who, performing together, sound like a New Orleans cosmic brothel jazz band. Members include Dan Sullivan (Nad Navillus), Emma Niblett (Scout Niblett), Adam Busch (Manishevitz), Fred Lonberg-Holm (Peter Brotzmann Tentent, John Zorn and Light Box Orchestra), and Jeb Bishop (Vandermark 5 and The Flying Luttenbachers).
Wingfoot was produced by the Schwartz Brothers (Michael Krassner & Busch), and various arrangements were made by Lonberg-Holm.
Parker Paul is, first and foremost, an entertainer. He is then both a piano player and a story teller. He comes to your town in his little blue Pacer and gets on stage and makes you feel really good for the evening. In the spirit of the classic vaudevillean performers of yore, Parker Paul fuses his lucid sense of humor and uninhibited vision as a story teller to convey absurd truths of life -- especially those truths that profound sadness can inspire and those that, being acutely sentimental, can make you laugh out loud. From nonsense springs wisdom.On the spectrum of modern songwriters of refined yet wily wit, Parker Paul fits somewhere between Randy Newman and Shel Silverstein, Harry Nilsson and Loudon Wainwright III. He never succumbs to silliness yet can still whip a zinger with the best of them. At his best he makes you understand the deepest of longings.He is just a man and his piano. And LEMON-LIME ROOM, his debut record, is recorded live with zero overdubs. But don't let the piano fool you. Parker Paul is a rock and roll veteran. He has experienced the world of rock in a few of its guises -- as pivotal member of the now defunct Virginia rock groups the Curious Digit and the Fledglings and through a short stint as keyboardist with Royal Trux.