Paul Asbell | Roots & Branches: Further Adventures in Steel String Americana

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United States - Vermont

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Blues: Acoustic Blues Folk: Fingerstyle Moods: Instrumental
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Roots & Branches: Further Adventures in Steel String Americana

by Paul Asbell

Highly individualized acoustic-guitar-driven twists on blues and jazz standards, old-timey country-based themes and original pieces from the "american roots" tradition.
Genre: Blues: Acoustic Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Chunky Monkey Gumbo
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3:21 album only
2. Needed Time/Jesus On The Mainline
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4:09 album only
3. Ain't Misbehavin'
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4:56 album only
4. Parker's Mood
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5:39 album only
5. Somewhere
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4:00 album only
6. St. Brendan's Fair Isle/St. Anne's Reel
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3:15 album only
7. Fishin' Blues
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5:17 album only
8. Fool Me Just Once
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4:12 album only
9. Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good To You
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4:04 album only
10. The Water Is Wide
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3:03 album only
11. Gambling Blues
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4:18 album only
12. Mystery Train
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4:04 album only
13. Windin' Boy
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4:11 album only
14. Hideaway
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4:36 album only
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
From his early years, playing blues on Chicago's South Side, to his present multi-faceted career based out of northern Vermont, Paul has earned an underground reputation as a true "musician's musician". He has played and recorded with Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, Lightnin' Hopkins, Otis Rush, Magic Sam, Earl Hooker, Lightnin' Slim, Paul Butterfield, Sam Lay, Pops Staples, Donny Hathaway, and numerous others while in his hometown of Chicago, Ill.

Paul moved to Vermont in the heady "back-to-the-land" days of 1971, where he still lives. He soon started playing with a head-spinningly diverse array of artists, including Big Mama Thornton, singer-songwriters Paul Siebel, Jim Ringer, Mary McCaslin, and Rosalie Sorrells, jazz greats Jon Hendricks, Bobby McFerrin, Sonny Stitt, and Nick Brignola, and many others. In 1978, seeking an outlet for more personal musical visions, he formed Kilimanjaro, and recorded 2 award-winning albums for Philo Records which led to several appearances at the Kool Jazz Festival at SPAC, the Atlanta Jazz Festival, the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the Roskilde Festival in Copenhagen, and numerous national tours and concert dates. In 1981, he and other members of Kilimajaro joined forces with a legendary saxophonist/blues singer to form Big Joe Burrell and the Unknown Blues Band, which remains a Northeast regional favorite to this day.

Recent performance/recording credits include David Bromberg, Paul Butterfield, Betty Carter, Joshua Redman, James Carter, Kermit Ruffins, Michael Ray, the Sun Ra Arkestra, The Wild Magnolias, John Stowell, guitar wunderkind Julian Lage, and former student Trey Anastasio.

In 2002, his much-awaited debut acoustic CD, "Steel String Americana", was released to rave reviews in Guitar Player, Acoustic Guitar, Vintage Guitar, Sing Out, Downbeat, Dirty Linen, and others. The Flynn Theatre called it "A genre-blurring, virtuosic waltz through the the deep heritage of American folklore, where styles of Robert Johnson, Doc Watson and Dr. John rub elbows with those of Joe Pass and Bill Frisell." Acoustic Player called it "A must own CD for any collector of American music."

In March, 2005 a follow-up CD, "Roots & Branches", was released, and the raves are already starting to roll in. For more info on Paul, check out his website at


to write a review

Michael Wong

Paul Asbell's Guitar Mastery
Paul Asbell’s sublime trilogy beginning with “Steel String Americana, followed by "Roots and Branches" and culminating (so far) with "From Adamant to Atchafalaya” is a journey and exploration of Americana in a way that have never been done before. It is a survey of what makes American music so distinctive while acknowledging it’s source origins. (celtic, afro-carribean, etc.). Paul’s mastery of the jazz, blues and “country blues” guitar genre and “in character” vocals gives him the perfect platform to present these arrangements that are whimsical, sometimes tongue in cheek, sometimes beautiful to the point of tears. A thoroughly entertaining emotional journey that stirs the soul!


An excellent CD of guitar music
This CD is one of the best acoustic guitar CDs I have heard and is a must for any serious listner to acoustic guitar. Paul Asbell's playing is melodic, intricate and tasteful throughout. The choice of material is eclectic and inspired with Somewhere being a stand out track.

Highly recommended.



Extremely talented guitar player...
Paul plays the hell out of a guitar, and this album is more intricate and well-played compared to his first album. I think it's an album that is going to appeal more to guitar fans than simple music fans. The first album is going to appeal more musically to all fans. Both are worth adding to your collection.

Dr. Kent Gustavson

A True Guitar-Master at Work
Paul's sound reaches from the sweaty, kudzu-covered hills of the Appalachian mountains to the growling bars of the inner cities. His technique is as supreme as his taste. No movement and indeed no note is wasted in this stunning collection of haunts & melodies. The naked skill of his solo fingerpicking tunes are the gems of the record, but from cover to cover, Paul swings and hops, sighs & wails through the strings of his guitar. Brilliant.

Eric Madis

Paul Asbell: Roots & Branches
Roots & Branches" presents Paul Asbell's guitar playing and arranging through a variety of American music, ranging from Piedmont & Delta blues to Old Time Country & Bluegrass to Jazz to Broadway musicals. What makes this a truly enjoyable musical experience from start to finish is Asbell's taste, guitar mastery and overall musicianship. Most of the tunes are presented in intimate, primarily acoustic solo, duet and trio settings. Some feature guest appearances by top flight musicians, such as harmonica ace Howard Levy, bassist Clyde Stats, saxophonist Michael Zsoldos, and fiddler Joel Smirnoff. If you think that Freddy King's "Hideaway", Charlie Parker's "Parker's Mood", and Leonard Bernstein's "Somewhere" (from West Side Story) cannot be presented in the same recording, think again, because everything here is done with artistry. In fact, the only criticism I can think of is that I wished that "Somewhere" was 8 minutes, rather than the 4 minutes, in length! If this were a completely fair and just world, Asbell would be a star, but.....