Paul Asbell will perform in the Argenta Acoustic Music Series at The Joint Theater & Coffeehouse in North Little Rock. From his early years, playing blues on Chicago’s South Side, to his present multi-faceted career based out of northern Vermont, Paul has earned an underground reputation as a true “musician’s musician”. He has played and recorded with Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Otis Rush, Magic Sam, Earl Hooker, Lightnin’ Slim, Paul Butterfield, Sam Lay, Pops Staples, Donny Hathaway, and numerous others while in his home- town of Chicago, Ill. Paul moved to Vermont in the heady “back-to-the-land” days of 1971, where he still lives.
He soon started playing with a head-spinningly diverse array of artists, including Big Mama Thornton, singer-songwriters Paul Siebel, Jim Ringer, Mary McCaslin, and Rosalie Sorrells, jazz greats Jon Hendricks, Bobby McFerrin, Sonny Stitt, and Nick Brignola, and many others. In 1978, seeking an outlet for more personal musical visions, he formed Kilimanjaro, and recorded 2 award-winning albums for Philo Records which led to several appearances at the Kool Jazz Festival at SPAC, the Atlanta Jazz Festival, the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the Roskilde Festival in Copenhagen, and numerous national tours and concert dates. In 1981, he and other members of Kilimajaro joined forces with a legendary saxophonist/blues singer to form Big Joe Burrell and the Unknown Blues Band, which remained a Northeast regional favorite until Big Joe’s passing in 2005. Performance/recording credits in recent years include David Bromberg, Paul Butterfield, Betty Carter, Joshua Redman, James Carter, Kermit Ruffins, Michael Ray, the Sun Ra Arkestra, The Wild Magnolias, John Stowell, guitar wunderkind Julian Lage, and ex-student Trey Anastasio. He has also taught guitar for over 50 years, including workshops at the Healdsburg, Woodstock (NY) and Newport Guitar Festivals, and positions at Dartmouth College, Skidmore College, St. Michaels College, and presently at Middlebury College and the University of Vermont. Since 1994, Paul has been reconnecting with his original folk-based roots in enthusiastically received festival shows and solo concerts at numerous acoustic venues across the country. His 3 solo acoustic CDs, “Steel-String Americana”, “Roots and Branches”, and “From Adamant To Atchafalaya” received rave reviews in Acoustic Guitar, Guitar Player, Sing Out, Downbeat, Blues Revue, and other mags for their highly individualized twists on blues and jazz standards, old-timey country-based themes and original pieces from the “american roots” tradition. The Flynn Theatre called them “A genre-blurring, virtuosic waltz through the deep heritage of American folklore, where styles of Robert Johnson, Doc Watson and Dr. John rub elbows with those of Joe Pass and Bill