“Paul Kaplan has a rare gift for writing and singing songs in the old troubadour tradition. His new CD After the Fire is reminiscent of the works of Gordon Lightfoot and Stan Rogers, with beautiful melodies and strong narratives seamlessly crafted into one classic ballad after another. This is the work of a master.” David Massengill
Veteran musician and songwriter Paul Kaplan has been an enthusiastic participant in the folk music world since the late 1960s when his early anti-Vietnam war songs were published in the legendary protest magazine Broadside.
His involvement with the singer-songwriter movement was sparked by his early love of the songs of Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton. He pursued that love as a frequent attendee at the Songwriters’ Exchange at the Cornelia Street Cafe, in New York, and as a regular contributor to The Fast Folk Musical Magazine, in which ten of his songs were included. In the late 1970s, Paul had the opportunity to produce three posthumous albums by one of his heroes, Phil Ochs.
His first album, Life on This Planet, released in 1982, featured the songs “Call Me the Whale” and “Henry the Accountant,” later covered by such folk music greats as Sally Rogers, Ed McCurdy, David Massengill, and Debby McClatchy, as well as artists in England, Ireland, and Denmark. His song “I Had an Old Coat” from King of Hearts (1985) has been sung by Nickelodeon stars Sharon, Lois and Bram (The Elephant Show), as well as Claudia Schmidt, Lui Collins, Priscilla Herdman, Jay Ungar and many others.
Paul’s interest in traditional music is reflected in his four years as a member of the group The Derby Ram, resident band of the Eagle Tavern in New York City. With band founder Dan Milner, Paul co-authored the popular A Bonnie Bunch of Roses—Songs of England, Ireland and Scotland, published by Music Sales in 1983 (still in print).
In his solo career, Paul’s warm style and gentle humor have charmed audiences at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, the Gotta Get Gon and Denmark’s prestigious Tønder Festival, as well as such venues as Passim, The Eighth Step, Mother’s Wine Emporium and Golden Link .
Paul has recently released his third album, After the Fire, inspired by his sense of loss after the events of September 11, 2001 and his heartfelt hope that lessons of rebirth and renewal can be retrieved from tragedy, both in the external world in which we are inevitably linked and in the private moments of our most intimate relationships.
In the last three years Paul has been honored by the inclusion of his songs in two monumental historical collections produced by Smithsonian Folkways. One of his first songs, “Vietnam,” appears in the Grammy-nominated Best of Broadside, produced in 2000. A second song, “King of Hearts,” is featured in Fast Folk—a Community of Singers & Songwriters, released in 2002.
Paul Kaplan has a rare gift for writing and singing songs in the old troubadour tradition. His new CD After the Fire is reminiscent of the works of Gordon Lightfoot and Stan Rogers, with beautiful melodies and strong narratives seamlessly crafted into one classic ballad after another. This is the work of a master.
- David Massengill
Wayne Newton, eat your heart out.
- Car Talk
I was absolutely BLOWN AWAY by “Carrion Crow” – outstanding match of powerful, tradition-based tune to powerful, poetic lyrics that apply so directly to the tragic state of the world, much of it caused by our own national administration! Again, thank you, and congratulations.
- Ed Brown (U’nI Coffeehouse, Springfield, Mass.)
One of the best lyricists America has.
- Chatham Magazine
You have all the goods in your songwriting. I’m hearing your songs on the lips of many as I travel, so you are making your mark.
- Tom Paxton
A master at both comic writing and serious composing.... From the moment he started to sing he had the audience eating right out of the palm of his hand.
- Aquarian Weekly
I am a big fan of Paul Kaplan. I love his singing... I love his songs.
- Pete Seeger
PAUL KAPLAN BIO--TIMELINE
1948 Born in Philadelphia, Penna.
1967 Song "I've Been Told" appears in Broadside
magazine, in Best of Broadside, Vol. ll, and on "Broadside #4 record" (Folkways).
1968 Moves to New York from Chicago.
1971-1988 Performs at colleges and coffeehouses, mostly in the Northeast, including Folk City, Eighth Step, Mother's Wine Emporium, LITMA, Golden Link, Minstrel Show, Folkway, Saturday Night in Marblehead, John Henry's Hammer, Passim, etc.
1974 Song "Vietnam" appears in Broadside and on "Broadside #7" record (Folkways).
1976-1980 Produces three posthumous Phil Ochs albums (Folkways).
1978 Co-author, with Dan Milner, of A Bonnie Bunch of Roses-songs of England, Ireland and Scotland (Music Sales, still in print).
1978-82 Member of folk-group-in-residence The Derby Ram at The Eagle Tavern.
1980-88 Regular attendee at the Songwriters' Exchange at the Cornelia St. Cafe.
1982 Song "King of Hearts" included in first issue of the Fast Folk Musical Magazine, the first of ten Paul Kaplan songs to be featured between 1982 and 1988.
1982 Album "Life on This Planet" released, including songs "Call Me the Whale" and "Henry the Accountant," later covered by Sally Rogers, Ed McCurdy, David Massengill, Debby McClatchy and many others.
1983-1988 Member of Hudson River Sloopsingers, with Pete Seeger, appearing annually at The Clearwater Revival.
1985 Album "King of Hearts" released, including song "I Had an Old Coat," later recorded or sung by Sally Rogers, Claudia Schmidt, Jay Ungar, Lui Collins, Priscilla Herdman, Carla Sciaky, Cilla Fisher and Artie Tresize and Sharon, Lois and Bram.
1988 Performs at Tønder Festival, Denmark.
1988 Moves to Amherst, Mass. to raise a family. Becomes a music teacher.
1994 Performs at Philadelphia Folk Festival.
2000 Song "Vietnam" appears in Best of Broadside (Smithsonian Folkways).
2002 Song "King of Hearts" appears in Fast Folk-a Community of Singers & Songwriters (Smithsonian Folkways).
2003 Album "After the Fire" released.