Our Last Goodbye
Paul Michel was born in Philadelphia in 1957. His first musical instrument was an eight-key xylophone that he played with a serving spoon. At the age of eight, after his family had moved to central Ohio, he relinquished the spoon and started learning tunes on his father's old 'potato bug' mandolin. He got his own mandolin in 1967, a guitar a few years later, and an old Sears and Roebuck fiddle in 1974. He never returned to the xylophone. During his high school years, Paul had the chance to hear and play with many great old-time and bluegrass musicians at dances, festivals and taverns around Columbus. While attending college in Gambier, Ohio, he fiddled in a country band with Howard and Judy Sacks, Bob Cantwell and Gordon Keller. He learned a lot of and about music from them, from recordings of past and present masters and from great young players like Jeff and Rick Goehring, Kerry Blech and the Maple Hill Rounders from northern Ohio, as well as from his own brother Bob. He spent summers in the late 1970's traveling and playing in upstate New York, Boston, Seattle, North Carolina and many points between, soaking up tunes, styles and songs. After college Paul lived in the west of Ireland for a year, learning the fiddle music of County Clare. He returned to the States in 1980, and moved to Seattle in 1981. During the 1980s he headed up the Tidewater Stringband, performing old time music at festivals and fairs around Puget Sound. He was also a guitar and mandolin player for Howie and Lori Meltzer's Interstate Stringband. Paul played less publicly during the 1990s, but in the past couple of years he has returned to the guitar and mandolin as well as the fiddle, and he's tried his hand at songwriting. The influences, inputs and errors of forty years of playing have resulted in a sound that isn't easy to categorize, but in one way or another it's all country music, nothing 'alt' about it, inspired by the great ballad, blues and barn dance traditions that emerged in rural America during the early 1900s, 'went to town' in the second half of the century and remain very much alive and picking today.