Paul Roberts ~ Gold Tone Artist of the Month for December.
Gold Tone closed out 2014 by acknowledging musician Paul Roberts as the musical instrument company’s “Artist of the Month.” Paul’s website BanjoCrazy.com specializes in Gold Tone instruments.
Paul began his musical career in high school in the early ’60s when he was hired to teach 5-string banjo at Russ Miller’s music shop in El Monte, California. Russ Miller made banjos and taught acoustic instruments. On any given day at Russ Miller’s, one could run into Doug Dillard, Roger Bush, Don Parmley, David Lindley, Bob Givens, Mel Durham, Clarence and Roland White and a host of other folk musicians. Besides teaching banjo at Russ Miller’s, Paul gigged with fiddler Pete Weiss.
At Brandeis University, Paul performed with Jon Landau, a talented musician who, a decade later, helped mastermind Bruce Springsteen’s career as Springsteen’s producer and manager,
From 1967-1970 Paul worked as a music therapist at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, a psychiatric institution, where James Taylor composed some of his early hits. At McLean, Paul created a dynamic music therapy program including organizing several rock bands that performed regularly in the hospital and for ‘outside’ gigs.
Paul studied sitar with Shyam Yodh, in Boston, and with sitar virtuoso Rais Khan in Bombay.
In 1974 Paul met his future wife, Carla, with whom he had a 34-year performing career. Besides performing at colleges and other fine arts venues, the duo performed over two thousand concerts for elementary school assemblies. Paul and Carla’s uniqueness was in performing on many instruments from around the world.
Paul Roberts recorded and co-produced “Earth Tones,” Adam Hurt’s landmark gourd banjo album, and has produced hundreds of concerts for many musicians.
Paul began an affiliation with Gold Tone after retiring from concert touring in 2008. When Gold Tone brought back cello banjos from obscurity, Paul became an early adopter, and he is widely recognized as one of the foremost cello banjo players, having written many compositions for the instrument. Many of these are available on his YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/strumstering/featured.
A year ago, Paul designed a custom nylon string tenor banjo for Gold Tone, called the Soundbird. Recently, Gold Tone asked Paul to bring out the company’s new Octajo, a double-strung tenor banjo. Paul is promoting Gold Tone’s new baritone banjo – the Missing Link – which was designed by Béla Fleck who is playing it on his concert tours with Abigail Washburn, and has recorded it for their recent CD. The Missing Link is of particular interest to Paul, as he is a big fan of low-tuned banjos.