"West Virginia's Paul Epstein has certainly compiled a diverse discography, ranging from an all-original song affair and a children's music outing to his latest, a seducing set of mostly original fiddle instrumentals. While the rollicking reels and jigs are obviously rooted in Celtic music, overall there is a bright assortment of compositions."
"'Penina's Wedding' resembles an Eastern European wedding march-without the worry of stepping on shards of broken glass. The infectious air, "Appalachian Morning" is particularly haunting, while "Virus," a duet, features separately dubbed rhythmic and melodic guitar parts. The waltzing title song is indeed expressive as Epstein takes his time to unfold the tune's beauty."
"He is quite a lyrical fiddler, pouring out intense passion and eloquent phrasing. In the capable hands of Epstein, the fiddle sings freely and uninhibited." --from a Review in Dirty Linen#102 Oct/Nov. 2002 (by DW)
From the "Charleston Gazette":
"Epstein plays guitar and fiddle on the CD, and is joined by longtime bandmate and mandolinist John Longwell, on the "Corner House/Fort Hill/Potterfield" medley.
The title tune, Strawberry Lass is a very lyrical melody with hints of Celtic music and a throaty vibrato on the fiddle. Virus features Epstein trading jazzy solos with himself on guitar and fiddle. Wellington's Porch leans more to the traditional side, with a stately, old time setting.
On the other hand-or is that fiddle?-"Hannah on the Mountain" creates a very Irish atmosphere. On Appalachian Morning, the title says it all, while the pretty melody suggests lyrics one can almost hear."
Paul Epstein has been living and playing music in West Virginia since 1974 where he came to settle. He had taught himself guitar as a teenager growing up in PA. In the early 70's he played string bass with string bands in Maine and Pennsylvania. When Paul arrived in West Virginia to settle in rural Roane County, he acquired a fiddle and began going to festivals and listening to and studying the fiddling of many legendary West Virginia fiddlers including Mose Coffman, Bill Iman, Johnny Johnson, and Glen Smith. He and friends formed a string band, Booger Hole Revival, that traveled widely and recorded two albums. During this time, Paul's musical interests expanded to include traditional Irish, swing, country, and writing songs.
Paul began teaching elementary school in Kanawha County in 1987. In the 1990's he made two recordings. School Bus Comin' has received much acclaim by parents and teachers. His second CD is called Lessons Life's Taught Me. With accompaniment by members of WV Public Radio's Mountain Stage Band, it is a richly textured recording containing heartfelt songs of love and loss as well as celebrations of the beauty of his chosen home. It echoes with Paul's diverse musical interests. Through the mid 1990's Paul served as songwriters' liason and songwriting events coordinator during Vocal Week at the Augusta Heritage Workshops.
Paul was also called on to write and play the theme music for The West Virginians, a documentary produced by the WV Film Project. That tune, Appalachian Morning, is included on his latest CD, Strawberry Lass, which contains 12 of Paul's original fiddle tunes. Today, Paul plays fiddle with the Contrarians, a high energy Contradance band ( www.homepages.charter.net/contrarians ),he presents writing workshops to teachers, performs his songs in a variety of venues, and teaches school in Charleston, WV. He also co-directs the Central WV Writing Project and presents writing workshops to teachers. Paul continues to record new songs, some of which can be heard at http://www.garageband.com/paul_epstein