View Paul Roberts' Homepage
Read Paul Roberts' Bio
Contact Paul Roberts
You must sign into your myHangout account in order to contact Paul Roberts.
Playing Since: 1962
Paul Roberts has made 232 recent additions to Banjo Hangout
4 and 5-string cello banjos, sitar, mandocello and...
Classified Rating: 0
Rate this Member
Visible to: Public
Last Visit 5/23/2013
For me, musical creativity is about staying on the edge of inspiration. I enjoy following my imagination towards whatever sounds appeal to me - trying on different musical perspectives, different states of musical consciousness, different instruments. <br/><br/>
Musical memories from toddler days: playing with my blocks on the floor and listening to my dad plunking forth a potpourri of melodies on his mandolin. A family tradition: singing songs from The Fireside Book of Folk Songs. Early treasure: my collection of children’s records featuring Woody Guthrie and others that I carried around the house and got food on. <br/><br/>
I have an internet-based banjo business called BanjoCrazy.com, retailing Gold Tone instruments and publishing my articles and interviews with noteworthy musicians, plus tabs, videos and kitchen sink. Career-wise, I’ve worn some different hats as performer, composer, writer, music therapist, arts-in-education specialist, and phone-counseling shrink. <br/><br/>
The instruments I play include 4 and 5-string cello banjos, 5-string tubaphone for clawhammer and 3-finger, Irish tenor, sitar, mandocello, guitar for creative finger-style, charango, mandolin, cittern, oud and sarod. <br/><br/>
My wife, Carla, is a gifted multi-instrumentalist who she sings, plays banjos, marimba, all the recorders, dumbek, bodhran, hammered and lap dulcimers, and harp. We’ve been together since 1974 (applause). Through the years, Carla and I have encouraged each other to explore many musical spheres. This has lead to a rather enormous collection of instruments from around the world, with which (fortunately), we’ve been able to make our living performing fine arts concerts and school assemblies. We created Elation Center for the Arts, in Southwest Colorado, to further our dedication to preserving traditional folk music and dance (elationarts.org). <br/><br/>
My banjo story began in 1962, when I was 16, after years of piano and trumpet lessons. I studied bluegrass with an English gal, named Patty Hill, at a place called Russ Miller’s, a music haven in a funky trailer park in El Monte, California where Clarence and Roland White, David Lindley and other amazing musicians liked to hang out. After six months of lessons with Patty, she left and I was hired to be the banjo teacher. Around that time, I also began performing. I loved to spend time at the Cat’s Pajamas, a folk music coffee house in Arcadia, and a hotbed of musical inspiration.<br/><br/>
My college roommate and musical collaborator was Jon Landau, who began as a folk musician and went on to become Bruce Springsteen’s manager. My first full-time job was working as a music therapist with psychiatric patients at McLean Hospital, under the mentorship of sociology professor Morrie Schwartz, who much later became known as the title character of “Tuesday’s With Morrie.” I began studying sitar in 1967, and later went to India to study with Ustad Rais Khan. I wished I had taken my banjo, but knew I was going to have too many instruments to bring back.<br/><br/>
Cello banjos have enchanted me. The day I received my Gold Tone CEB-4 and CEB-5, I played them for hours. When I woke up the next morning, I had a pleasant sensation; it was as though the warm tones and vibrations were still coursing through my body. I feel there are limitless musical directions I can go with cello banjos. So far, on the 5-string I've been enjoying clawhammer, three-finger picking and creative finger-style. On the 4-string, I've been playing everything from Celtic to Renaissance and Middle Eastern tunes. One of the marvelous things about these instruments is that they have a different sound than what I would normally associate with a banjo. They are quite malleable to many kinds of music. Playing them is easy - the nylon strings feel good and yield a distinctive charm to the tone.<br/><br/>
I’m delighted to see the sharing on this website. I hope I can make a meaningful contribution to this remarkable effort to strengthen the roots of our music.