Thomas Paul joined his first band at age 14, and since that time the singer/songwriter/musician has lent his talents to more than three dozen bands and music projects. He’s played everything from trashy garage rock to blues-folk mandolin, and is always looking for the next new thing. His solo material has been described as "acoustic trance pop" and "electric folk noir", while his current directions have him exploring a indie-folk-blues vein, among other things.
Paul joined the now-defunct Clock in 2001 as a vocalist, guitarist, and keyboardist. Music critic Jim Toweill maintains that Paul “ushered in the golden age of Clock. New songs were written and performed and fans grew even more enamored with the band.” The prog-rock group opened for nationally-acclaimed acts such as The Dismemberment Plan, Mike Watt, and Q + Not U, and successfully toured the Northwest.
Clock went on an indefinite hiatus in 2003, but Paul still counts former band members Levi Cecil, Mark Hitz, and Jason Ganz among his best friends. They posthumously released The Grief and the Heat in 2004, and the album earned rave reviews in The Idaho Statesman and The Boise Weekly. Paul continues to work on independent projects with his former band mates, including writing musical scores for Hitz’s independent film company and occasionally appearing in bit parts. In addition, Paul had the lead role in Hitz' feature Lights (2007). The film garnered critical praise and was featured at multiple festivals in 2008. The pair also collaborated on the soundtracks for the shorts Blinded (2002) and Signal to Noise (2001), and have plans to make additional shorts and a feature.
While still a member of Clock, Paul released a compilation of his own recordings as Vivisection Syndicate. The album, Kansas She Said (May 2002), covers a wide variety of genres and includes several experimental tracks. Boise Weekly music reviewer Amy Garrett applauded the effort, “The album ranges from bluegrass ballads to 30-second hard core punk. There is great jazz piano in this album, as well as lounge music fit for any slinky bouffant waif in polyester sipping a martini. Paul calls this an album of B-sides. They are old songs stuck in his head that had to come out, and we’re glad they did.” So were Paul’s fans. The CD quickly sold out, and a reissue is currently in production due to demand.
In June 2002, as Clock was growing apart, Paul started Mystery Date with Rachel Hays and Steve Gere. The indie-pop band enjoyed a short, intense lifespan and garnered extensive praise for musicianship and songwriting. Before an untimely demise in July 2003, the group opened for national bands such as Beauty Pill and Dub Narcotic. They also released the song “I Don’t Mind” on a compilation CD distributed by Equilibrium magazine.
Over the years, Paul’s versatility has landed him stints with Boise notables Jessica Fry (guitar, back vocals), Me + My Ego (guitar, back vocals), Mayer Force One (bass), Piso Mojado (keyboard), Travis Ward & Junkyard Bandstand (mandolin, keyboard), eL Dopamine (bass, keyboard, guitar), Kris Doty (guitar, mandolin, vocals) and is currently a member of Bill Coffey's Big Band (guitar, mandolin, keys, accordion, vocals). He says, “I love to complement great music.”
Thomas Paul enjoys the role of sideman and bandmate, but it was only a matter of time before he added bandleader and solo performer to his resume. He began recording and performing independently in 2005. The 5-song EP "Yours, Etc....." was released in September of 2005 and was included on several end of year 'best of' lists. The disc sold out twice and is currently available via download only.
2006 & 2007 found Thomas performing extensively around the Northwest as well as writing and rehearsing new material. He has had the distinct pleasure of sharing the stage with Todd Snider, Nick Jaina, Jeremiah James, Heroes & Villains, JD Kindle, Red Jacket Mine, James Orr, Kris Doty, Run-On Sentence and numerous other Northwest Indie-Folk Luminaries. In September of '07, he began a regular stint performing Monday nights at the Red Feather Lounge in beautiful downtown Boise. The opportunity to play every week affords him an invaluable chance to constantly hone and refine his craft. These solo gigs, along with regular band and solo performances at Pengilly's Saloon and other Boise music hotspots, have led to a new level of songwriting and performing which is showcased on "House On Fire".
"House On Fire" is a 10-song, 42 minute tour-de-force that combines elements of swing, funk, country, indie-rock, bluegrass, lounge jazz, blues, psychedelia, bedroom folk and Latin music. The album will be released on March 27, 2009 and features the considerable talents of some of Boise's finest musicians. Dave Manion (pedal and lap steel, baritone, and tres guitars), Bob Nagel (upright bass), Blake Durst (drums, percussion), Jonah Shue (violin, fiddle), Max Shue (trumpet), Melissa Wilson (cello) and Sean Aucutt (pandera tambourine) all lent their efforts to the sessions and contributed to the richness of instrumentation that is one of the album's truest strengths. The album was produced by Mark Hitz (see above). Recorded at Audio Lab Studios, Boise, Idaho and engineered by Steve Fulton with Mark Hitz. Mixed by Levi Ethan Cecil and Mark Hitz at Edison's Elephant, Portland, OR. Mastered by Chris Parks at The Tonic Room Studios, Boise, Idaho. Album artwork and poster, T-shirt and sticker imagery and design provided by Rick Walter at Early Bird Illustration (dot com).