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Meet the Buskers: Gregory Paul

Meet the Buskers: Gregory Paul

Posted September 30, 2015

Gregory Paul, a regular busker at the Market, has never had a music lesson.

"It was just something I remember loving growing up," he says of music. "I started playing guitar at 15 and I've always had an idiosyncratic approach because I'm not trained. Paul says he doesn't read music, but rather learns by ear.

"I found I could sing in key and just went with my own way of doing stuff. I'm very feral which is probably why I ended up busking. there aren't very many rules when you're in that context," he says.

Paul moved to Seattle six years ago and heard about busking at Pike Place Market. "When I was living back east I was also into music but hadn't done any busking before. It wasn't something I planned, it just sort of materialized." Previously, Paul was a songwriter for 20 years and played rock music.

He started busking soon after he moved, and says "it was kind of scary. And it still is, but there was something exciting about it as well. It was kind of refreshing to do something
musically that was pretty different than what I was used to. I stuck with it because I didn't have any other source of income but I was able to make better and better money doing it and it became my job."

Paul plays solo and as part of a trio of musicians, always focusing on old timey music, he says. If you've ever seen the movie O Brother Where Art Thou, you've got a sense of Paul's music, which dates to the late 1800s to early 1930s and originates in Appalachia. He also plays southern and northern roots music.

"It's the music that influenced bluegrass," Paul says. "A lot of people assume that what we do is bluegrass but it's not, it's the precursor. It's a lot of traditional songs and music in the public domain that we put our own twist on. It's not the same song that was played 100 years ago, it's evolved."

To learn more about Gregory Paul and listen to his music, visit his Facebook page and website.