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 hometown 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 and recording 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. (Visit the Discography page for info on the many recordings from these early days…)
In 1978, seeking an outlet for more personal musical visions, he formed Kilimanjaro , and recorded 2 award-winning albums for Philo Records. Soon after, the band performed at the Kool Jazz Festival at SPAC, the Atlanta Jazz Festival, the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, and numerous national tours and concert dates.
Kilimanjaro served as backup band on lengthy national tours with Esther Satterfield, and Paul Butterfield, with whom they played the Montreal Jazz Festival, and the Roskilde Festival in Copenhagen.
In 1981, Paul and other members of Kilimanjaro joined forces with a legendary saxophonist and blues singer to form Big Joe Burrell and the Unknown Blues Band. Together, they performed at many festivals, including the Kool Jazz Festival, toured Russia, Holland, and Canada, and served as backup band for Marva Wright, Kenny Neal, W.C. Clark, and others. The UBB remained a Northeast regional favorite for over 20 years, until Big Joe’s passing in 2005.
Personal performance credits in recent years include David Bromberg, Betty Carter, Joshua Redman, James Carter, Kermit Ruffins, Michael Ray, the Sun Ra Arkestra, The Wild Magnolias, John Stowell, guitar wunderkind Julian Lage, Dave Grippo and former students Trey Anastasio and Nick Cassarino.
Paul has taught guitar for over 45 years. Private instruction remains a favored format, but he has also taught for several decades on a university level, including positions at Dartmouth College, St. Michaels College, and presently at Middlebury College and the University Of Vermont . More info on private instruction, workshops, and TAB transcriptions at reduced prices can be found on the Instruction page.
Since 1994, Paul has been reconnecting with his original folk-based roots in enthusiastically received festival shows and solo concerts. Recent appearances include Merlefest, Guitar Festivals in Healdsburg (CA), Newport (RI), Memphis (TN), Woodstock (NY), and numerous other acoustic venues across the country. His 3 solo acoustic CD’s, “Steel String Americana“, “Roots and Branches“, and “From Adamant To Atchafalaya” received numerous rave reviews 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 Theater 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 Frisell.” Others have said “It is quite the best CD of acoustic guitar that I have heard in years!”
A while back, Paul received Seven Days magazine’s “Best Musician of 2004” Daysie Award (the runner-up was a young up-and-comer named Trey Anastasio…) That same year saw the release of Patti Casey’s “Just an Old Sweet Song”, a “live-in-the-studio” record of old standards, explored in the intimate setting of just vocals and guitar. Other duo partners since then have included Brooks Williams, Mike Dowling, Chuck D’Aloia and Elisabeth Von Trapp.
Paul has been a frequent contributor to several web-based guitar forums over the years. He was the first “Artist of the Month” on 13thFret.com, and produced a series of downloadable video lessons for Acoustic Player Magazine. Recently, he created instructional videos for Peghead Nation, Dream Guitars, Guitar Player and Acoustic Guitar magazine, who said “Asbell’s musical personality comes out most fully when playing his own brand of American roots music… in live performance, Asbell reveals a deep appreciation of the history behind each tune, while giving them a fresh, updated touch.” More video footage of concerts and festival appearances can be found on YouTube .
Two sold-out Kilimanjaro shows at the Discover Jazz Festival in June, ’06 fueled a resurgence of interest in the group, the writing of 9 new compositions, and the beginning of a two-year recording project at Kilimanjaro keyboardist Chas Eller’s studio. The result, “Homecoming“, was picked by Jazziz magazine for their “Best of 2009” CD, along with tracks by Chick Corea, John McLaughlin, Branford Marsalis, and other heavyweights. “Homecoming” is available for audition or purchase at KilimanjaroJazz.com .
What They’re Sayin’ About “Steel String Americana” . . .
“Paul Asbell’s ‘Steel String Americana’ is a wonderful album! What I keep coming back to is how musical it is…. I’ve actually been a fan of Paul’s guitar playing for quite a few years- I think he’s one of the best-kept secrets in American music today!”
David Bromberg , acoustic guitar legend
“…Steel String Americana is… a sumptuously recorded showcase for the myriad wondrous tones of the solo acoustic guitar- played by one who knows how to extract them all… Definitely one of my favorite guitar CD’s of 2002.”
Vintage Guitar magazine, “Check this Action”, Dec. ’02, written by Dan Forte
“…veteran guitarist Paul Asbell fingerpicks his way through a stylistically diverse collection of tunes plucked from the great American musical canon and arranged and played with finesse, imagination, and humor. Asbell’s beautiful instrumental versions of the 1960s pop hit “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” and the venerable jazz standard “Stardust” seem right at home in a set that also includes … a funky fingerstyle rendition of Jerry Reed’s “Amos Moses” that just might make you reassess the original.”
Acoustic Guitar magazine, in the April ’03 “Hit List” section
“Your CD has been on my player constantly since it arrived. The CD is wonderful! It is quite the best CD of acoustic guitar that I have heard in years! A great example of what can be done on a steel-string guitar if one only has the vision – and the energy.”
John Pearse , noted folk performer and instrument, string and accessories designer
“‘Steel String Americana’ is simply stunning. Period. It is superior- in terms of both tone and performance. I want to tell all my guitar comrades about your CD!”
Brooks Williams, singer/songwriter/guitarist extraordinaire
“Solo acoustic guitarists tend to specialize in one genre, but Paul Asbell delights in exploring a spectrum of styles. With steady hands and a relaxed sense of swing, he tackles bouncy ragtime fingerpicking, crisp flatpicking, and lush, jazzy chording with equal aplomb…. Asbell – who began his career backing Otis Rush and Magic Sam in Chicago blues clubs – knows how to sneak passing chords and moving bass lines into his arrangements without obscuring the melody or cluttering the groove. Fretting a bevy of vintage Martins and boutique flat-tops, (he) reveals his mastery of dynamics, phrasing, and timbres on this impressive debut.”
Guitar Player magazine, in the November ’02 “Reviews” section
“Asbell’s amazing guitar work elevates (the pieces) to a higher level. “Stardust”… is pure gossamer, while his wistful, aching treatment of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” simply stuns…. A fine effort.”
“Minor 7th” acoustic guitar reviews, Nov/Dec, ’02
“Finally got to sit down, back home and give your cd some play…..can’t take it off…. One of the most exciting new things I’ve heard in years!. It’s so cool to hear a new slant on the music I love. So few have ever really added to the genre….”Boy Howdey”!!. I think you should turn some heads with this one!”
Roy Book Binder, acoustic blues great
“Asbell… plays acoustic guitar at a high level… without piling on the ruminative charm that sustains so many other purveyors of folk blues. His singing is pleasantly expressive, cornpone bound up with conviction.”
DownBeat magazine, in the July ’03 “Reviews” section, p.74
“One of my Top Five CD’s of 2002”
Dan Forte, CosmikDebris online music ‘zine, January ’03 Issue #91
“Your cd blew me away. Your music is strong, heartfelt and absolutely soulful. I played it all the way through and enjoyed every single second of it. You remind me of Chet Atkins, Pat Donohue, David Grier and Jorma Kaukonen all rolled into one. I’ve decided to start an Artist Of The Month feature on the site, and I’d like to kick it off with you! Great stuff – please keep it coming!!!!!!!” Paul Asbell – 13th Fret Artist of the Month for August 2002.
Dave Skowron, proprietor/web manager of Flatpickin.com acoustic guitar discussion forum
“Steel Strings Americana has become one of my best listening tools on the road. It sits in my briefcase right next to Blind Blake, Boy Fuller, Rev Gary and all the rest. Not only are the guitar chops good but also the vocals and instrumentation are top shelf. A must own CD for any collector of American music.”
Doug Jones, aka “Little Brother“, Acoustic Player Magazine Forum, 9/29/04
“I do love your playing – in all the many styles that you have mastered . . . you blew me away with the Big Bill Broonzy and Blind Blake stuff you played AFTER you played every other style of music with real heart. You are the real thing… You are AWESOME!”
Dan Erlewine, respected guitar repair/construction guru to the stars
“Going back to the ’70’s, …Paul Asbell (has been) an inventive and always-interesting electric guitarist….. On this solo debut, Asbell emerges as a major league acoustic player who offers a seamless 20th century Americana blend of folk, blues, early jazz and pop music.”
Sing Out! Magazine, in the Spring ’03 CD review section
“…mesmerizing… Best Vermont CD of 2002.”
Burlington Free Press, Dec. 19, ’02
What They’re Sayin’ About “Roots and Branches” . . .
“Few pickers work from as broad a stylistic palette as Paul Asbell. His latest album includes stunning interpretations….(and) a keen ear for timbral shading. …his remarkable picking takes center stage. Exquisite 6-string sounds.”
Guitar Player magazine, June, ’05 issue, “Rants and Raves”
“Asbell’s virtuoso solo performance pays homage to his amperaged Chicago roots while presenting his daunting skills…. Though no where near as well known as Leo Kottke, Duck Baker, Roy Bookbinder or the late John Fahey, Asbell’s consummate mastery of blues, folk, early jazz and olde-timey music warrants his name being mentioned in the same breath as his esteemed predecessors.”
Dave Rubin, PlayBluesGuitar.com CD Review
“Asbell lays down intricate, pianistic patterns…yet keeps a serious blues feel going. (His) dexterity… and imagination… are evident throughout…. Bolstered by high, clear vocals, the music is evocative and brilliant.”
Blues Revue, Oct/Nov 2005, review by Tom Hyslop
“(Roots & Branches) doesn’t let up…. Paul Asbell is a guitar master, and has come up with a diverse album that usually only reaches such a consistency via a ‘various artists’ compilation.”
Blues Matters magazine, 9/05 issue
“Paul’s been at the top of the guitar players heap so solidly for so long that extraordinary is expected, which can create its own little challenges. But Paul has a knack for living up to and exceeding even the highest of those expectations. This new recording…. is yet another testament to his mastery of the rich possibilities using six-string guitar.”
Mark Sustic, long-time “roots music” festival and concert promoter
“I think you really out did yourself on this one. I love both your CD’s and they seem like bookends but this new one just floored me. I didn’t think it could get better and it just did!”
Doug Jones, aka Little Brother AcousticPlayerMagazine.com
What They’re Sayin’ About “From Adamant to Atchafalaya” . . .
“Vermont has many fine musicians, but in the realm of steel string guitar playing, the prize goes to Burlington guitarist and Middlebury College music teacher Paul Asbell…. For guitar aficionados this CD is a pleasure ride into great guitar land…. We’re really lucky to have such a fine, intelligent musician in our midst.”
RutlandHerald/TimesArgus, review by Art Edelstein, Nov 7, 2013
“From Adamant to Atchafalaya is final proof — in case there was any doubt — that Asbell is a guitarist to be reckoned with….Lush and precise playing is (Asbell’s) specialty, and he has filled the disc with a signature style and richness… The 13 tracks on this disc showcase the breadth and depth of Asbell’s knowledge of the music and his technical mastery over his instrument.”
7 Days, review by Robert Resnik, Nov 13, 2013
“Today Asbell has become a musician’s musician…. His style is fluid and crisscrosses much of the American guitar picking legacy. He is a true master.”
Nippertown, review by Don Wilcock, Apr 16, 2016
From Reviews of Kilimanjaro . . .
“Mark well the name of Paul Asbell, lead guitarist and inspiration behind Kilimanjaro, an accomplished assemblage of unknowns. …Asbell, who wrote the nine tunes… sparkles throughout with clarity and precision worthy of George Benson- though without Benson’s artifice. The upshot is a balanced blend of instrumental jazz, pop, and R&B. … An auspicious debut.”
“Boston Phoenix” magazine, December, 1981, in a 3-out-of-4-star album review
“Kilimanjaro radiates with individual talent. Their ability to incorporate and balance their skills, in live performances and in the studio, has won over audiences around the country. …Led by composer/guitarist Paul Asbell, Kilimanjaro has begun to establish itself as a band with a clean, unique sound that is, simply put, good jazz. …(Although) much of his style comes from his blues techniques, Asbell has great versatility, able to go from delicate picking to the unique sounds he elicits from his Roland guitar synthesizer.”
“Jazziz” magazine, Jan/Feb 1984
“Kilimanjaro, one of the brightest new jazz groups of 1981, returns with their second highly energetic LP. As with much of the better contemporary jazz, Kilimanjaro’s musical imagery successfully suggests mental/emotional environments that allow the listener to wander and explore his own images, landscapes, and dreams. Their versatility is admirable… each of the four band member has ample opportunity to demonstrate his virtuosity within the tightly structured, well-integrated melodies…. All in all, ‘Kilimanjaro II’ is a finely crafted and produced item that should have broad appeal.”
“Boston Globe”, Feb 10, 1983
“The second Kilimanjaro album reflects a growth that is sure to place this band at the forefront of progressive jazz entities to be reckoned with in the ’80’s. Each song has a lot of thought and sweat put into arrangements and playing. Paul Asbell, Chas Eller, Bill Kinzie and Tony Markellis combine effortlessly to create virtuosic solo and ensemble playing that makes you sit up and take notice.”
“Black Radio” magazine, March 4, 1983
“Each of the nine tracks is instrumental, highlighting the light and nimble-fingered guitar work of Paul Asbell. …the musicianship is first-rate and everything is pleasing to the ear.”
“Billboard Magazine’s Top Album Picks”, February 21, 1981
“This talented quartet combines jazz and rock influences, but never in a heavy-handed way. Instead, they fly through upbeat instrumental compositions with a freedom that suggests the best of Chick Corea.”
“Record World Album Picks” February, 1981
What They’re Sayin’ About Paul . . .
“Asbell’s musical personality comes out most fully when playing his own brand of American roots music… in live performance, Asbell reveals a deep appreciation of the history behind each tune, while giving them a fresh, updated touch.”
Acoustic Guitar magazine article, April 2010
“Asbell is as authentic as it gets and a true master of the jazz/blues/Americana genres. He gave the audience just enough history about the music to pique interest and inform without ever coming off as stodgy or stiff. His presence onstage and off is altogether very pleasant, his demeanor guileless and his music very, very soulful.
Paul’s show was the first Sunday concert that has been ‘sold out’ that I have ever hosted in the ten years I have been presenting my House Concert Series. If you have the chance to book Paul Asbell for your series…whether it be a House Concert or a traditional venue, I HIGHLY recommend that you do. He is a great player, composer and teacher as well as an unassuming, delightful guest.”
Robin Ralston, Coolwater Concerts, 1/25/14
“Paul is a consummate entertainer with a large following of guitarists who know the best from all the rest…”
Eric Schoenberg, world-renowned vintage guitar authority, legendary guitarist, and owner of Schoenberg Guitars
“Paul played to a packed house, to an audience ranging in age from seven to seventy-eight, and he managed to keep that diverse audience rapt for a show that lasted over two and one-half hours. ….The variety was incredible, and the quality of the playing even more so…. Each person came for their own reason, and each walked away at the end of the evening feeling like they had experienced magic.”
Arlene Boumel, Coral Springs, FL concert presenter, in a 3/29/05 RMMGA post
“Paul is an incredible player as well as a great instructor….his versatility and knowledge of the guitar and music idioms is amazing. …The sheer volume of useful information in the hand-outs will keep me busy for years. There was not a wasted moment and it was very enjoyable.”
Healdsburg workshop participant, AcousticPlayerMagazine.com Forum. 08/26/05
“Best Musician of 2004” Daysie Award (the runner-up was Trey Anastasio…)
Seven Days, VT’s weekly arts periodical
“Can a guy with a couple of guitars, on his own, keep a jaded, media-inundated 21st century audience on their toes for two hours? The answer is a resounding YES!! ….. If you have a chance to see Paul play, please do…. his Steel-String Americana and Roots and Branches CD’s are a “must listen”. Oh, and you’ll tap your foot. The guy’s got chops. I guarantee.”
Tom Young, moderator, in a concert review on AcousticPlayerMagazine.com/forum Forum. 03/21/05
Here’s a listing of shows, for the next month or two. All of the performances listed are “open to the public”. (Private events are therefore not listed in detail here… nor are dates which are presently unconfirmed).
Nevertheless, as everyone knows, in showbiz, “Things change”. Try to call ahead, to ensure that an event that you may be going out of your way for is actually occuring as scheduled.
|Friday, Apr 28th 2017||Paul Asbell solo acoustic- “Steel String Americana”||Burlington, VT||Flynn Theater|
|Time: 7:00pm. Admission: $28.50. Age restrictions: All Ages. Box office: 802 86-FLYNN. Address: 153 Main St. Venue phone: (802) 652-4500. Moth Radio Hour comes to Burlington’s Flynn Theater! Buy Tickets More information|
|Sunday, Apr 30th 2017||Elisabeth Von Trapp & Paul Asbell||Sandwich, IL||Sandwich Opera House|
|Time: 3:00pm. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 140 E. Railroad St. Buy Tickets|
|Thursday, May 4th 2017||Elisabeth Von Trapp & Paul Asbell||Lancaster, NH||Lancaster Town Hall|
|Time: 7:00pm. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: Main St. Venue phone: 603-788-3391.|
|Friday, May 19th 2017||Paul Asbell solo acoustic- “Steel String Americana”||St Johnsbury, VT||Main St Arts @ St Andrews Church|
|Time: 7:30pm. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 1265 Main St. Venue phone: (802) 748-2121.|
|Saturday, May 20th 2017||Paul Asbell Jazz Quartet, w/ Clyde Stats, Gabe Jarrett, & Chris Peterman||Middlebury, VT||51 Main|
|Time: 7:30pm. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 51 Main St. Venue phone: (802) 388-8209.|
|Thursday, May 25th 2017||Paul Asbell solo acoustic- “Steel String Americana”||Hanover, NH||Skinny Pancake/Hanover|
|Time: 8:00pm. Admission: $12. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 3 Lebanon St. Venue phone: (603) 277-9115. Buy Tickets|
|Friday, May 26th 2017||Paul Asbell Jazz Trio, w/ Clyde Stats & Gabe Jarrett||Burlington, VT||Marriott Hotel|
|Time: 8:30pm. Address: 25 Cherry St. Venue phone: (802) 864-4700.|
|Friday, Jun 2nd 2017||Grippo Funk Band||Burlington, VT||Nectar’s|
|Time: 10:00pm. Address: 188 Main St. Venue phone: 802-658-4771. Opening night of Discover Jazz Fest, y’all!|
|Sunday, Jun 4th 2017||Paul Asbell Jazz Duo, w/ Clyde Stats||Burlington, VT||Daily Planet|
|Time: 8:00pm. Address: 15 Center St. Venue phone: (802) 862-9647.|
|Monday, Jun 5th 2017||Paul Asbell Jazz Quartet, w/ Clyde Stats, Gabe Jarrett, & Chris Peterman||Burlington, VT||Foam Brewers|
|Time: 7:30pm. Address: 112 Lake St. Venue phone: (802) 399-2511.|
|Tuesday, Jun 6th 2017||Paul Asbell Jazz Quintet||Burlington, VT||Leunig’s Bistro|
|Time: 4:00pm. Address: 115 Church St. Venue phone: (802)-863-3759.|
|Wednesday, Jun 7th 2017||Paul Asbell Jazz Quartet||Burlington, VT||American Flatbread|
|Time: 7:30pm. Address: 115 St Paul St. Venue phone: (802) 861-2999.|
|Friday, Jun 9th 2017||Paul Asbell Jazz Quintet||Burlington, VT||Leunig’s Bistro|
|Time: 2:00pm. Address: 115 Church St. Venue phone: (802)-863-3759.|
|Saturday, Jun 10th 2017||Paul Asbell Jazz Trio, w/ Clyde Stats & Gabe Jarrett||Burlington, VT||VT Pub & Brewery|
|Time: 1:00pm. Address: 144 College St..|
Here’s where you’ll find my 3 solo CDs. Purchase ’em using PayPal, and get volume discounts… 3 CDs for just $30!
All items are postpaid to the US. Contact me for overseas shipping rates.
Click on the covers of any of the 3 CDs, then scroll down, to hear snippets of the tunes, read the extensive liner notes, etc…
Prefer to purchase thru CD Baby? Click HERE!
Here’s a partial list of other folks’ recordings I’ve played on over the years. I know there are a bunch I’ve missed, especially in the “Chicago” period.
It’s often astonishing to people what can happen to a recorded tune on its journey from initial recording session to finished product- as any of the players on a Steely Dan session can tell you! Some sessions I did in Chicago w/ “Pops” Staples, Earl Hooker, Sam Lay, Wild Child Butler, Curtis Mayfield, and others that aren’t listed here have undoubtedly “seen the light of day” somewhere and at some point… if someone knows of one that isn’t listed here, I’d LOVE to know about it!
“The Early Years”- Chicago Recordings (1967-1971)
“Fathers And Sons” – Muddy Waters, w/ Otis Spann, Paul Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield, Duck Dunn, Buddy Miles, and others. (Originally Chess double album LPS-127) Purchase on Amazon
“If You Miss ‘Im, I Got ‘Im” – John Lee Hooker, w/ Earl Hooker, Big Moose Walker, and others. (Originally ABC-Bluesway 6038, 1969) Purchase on Amazon
“Simply The Best” – Earl Hooker, w/ Muddy Waters, Sonny Terry, Willie Dixon, A.C. Reed, and others. (1999- MCA) Purchase on Amazon
“Lightnin‘” – Lightnin’ Hopkins, w/ Earl Hooker, Moose John Walker, Jeff Carp, and others. (Arhoolie) Purchase on Amazon
“Kilimanjaro” recordings (1980-present)
“Homecoming” – w/ Chas Eller, Tony Markellis, Lucas Adler, Lenny Castro, Jen Hartswick, Will Galison, Dave Grippo, Michael Zsoldos, and others (#KJ101). Purchase Homecoming CD!
“Big Joe Burrell and the Unknown Blues Band” recordings (1980-1990)
Selected Recordings w/ other Folk & Pop artists (1975-present)
Here is an assortment of media materials suitable for print and online usage. If your promotion or production requirements call for something different from what you find here, please let me know.
Biography and Other Documents
Pictures and Graphics
Paul Asbell photo (4.5″ x 4.0″, 300dpi, B&W, 243KB)
Paul Asbell photo (4.5″ x 4.0″, 72dpi, B&W, 81KB)
(Photo courtesy of Rose Lucas)
Paul Asbell photo (3.75″ x 3.6″, 300dpi, B&W, 386KB)
Paul Asbell photo (7.0″ x 6.75″, 72dpi, B&W, 134KB)
(Photo courtesy of Rose Lucas)
Paul Asbell photo (4.0″ x 5.0″, 300dpi, Color, 503KB)
Paul Asbell photo (4.0″ x 5.0″, 72dpi, Color, 63KB)
(Photo courtesy of Brian Kolner)
Paul Asbell MerleFest 2006 photo (3.4″ x 2.5″, 300dpi, Color, 256KB)
Paul Asbell MerleFest 2006 photo (14.0″ x 10.3″, 72dpi, Color, 170KB)
(Photo courtesy of Al Pacer)
Paul Asbell MerleFest 2006 photo (2.2″ x 2.5″, 300dpi, Color, 247KB)
Paul Asbell MerleFest 2006 photo (9.3″ x 10.3″, 72dpi, Color, 161KB)
(Photo courtesy of Al Pacer)
Paul Asbell MerleFest 2006 photo (5.9″ x 6.9″, 300dpi, Color, 707KB)
Paul Asbell MerleFest 2006 photo (6.9″ x 8.0″, 72dpi, Color, 241KB)
(Photo courtesy of Al Pacer)
Paul Asbell MerleFest 2006 photo (7.4″ x 5.5″, 300dpi, Color, 959KB)
Paul Asbell MerleFest 2006 photo (7.0″ x 5.2″, 72dpi, Color, 167KB)
(Photo courtesy of Al Pacer)
Paul Asbell MerleFest 2006 photo (6.6″ x 7.1″, 300dpi, Color, 993KB)
Paul Asbell MerleFest 2006 photo (6.0″ x 6.4″, 72dpi, Color, 181KB)
(Photo courtesy of Al Pacer)
Paul Asbell Mozaic Room 2006 photo (4.0″ x 5.8″, 300dpi, Color, 1.2MB)
Paul Asbell MerleFest 2006 photo (4.0″ x 5.8″, 72dpi, Color, 169KB)
(Photo courtesy of Paul Shaughnessy)
Paul Asbell Studio Three 2011 photo (8.2″ x 6.6″, 300dpi, Color, 2.2MB)
Paul Asbell Studio Three 2011 photo (8.2″ x 6.6″, 72dpi, Color, 228KB)
(Photo courtesy of Tim Barden)
Paul Asbell Studio Three 2011 photo (5.0″ x 4.5″, 300dpi, Color, 1.2MB)
Paul Asbell Studio Three 2011 photo (5.0″ x 4.5″, 72dpi, Color, 110KB)
(Photo courtesy of Tim Barden)
Paul Asbell Discover Jazz Festival 2012 photo (5.0″ x 4.5″, 300dpi, Color, 1.3MB)
Paul Asbell Discover Jazz Festival 2012 photo (5.0″ x 4.5″, 72dpi, Color, 112KB)
(Photo courtesy of Laura Carbone)
Paul Asbell w/ Kilimanjaro @ Java Jazz Festival, Jakarta, 2011 (Color, 4.5MB)
Paul Asbell w/ Kilimanjaro @ Java Jazz Festival, Jakarta, 2011 (Color, 128KB)
(Photo courtesy of Bob Coscolluela)
Paul Asbell w/ Unknown Blues Band @ Club Metronome, 2015 (Color, 8.2MB)
Paul Asbell w/ Unknown Blues Band @ Club Metronome, 2015 (Color, 180KB)
(Photo courtesy of Laura Carbone)
I’ve taught guitar professionally since 1968. I’ve often wondered why I’ve not “burned out” on it a long time ago, as many professional players have. I think it’s related to the fact that I myself am self-taught. Having cobbled together the necessary guitar skill-sets in a somewhat capricious manner, driven mostly by my own obsessions with certain styles, sounds, and cultures, I realized early on that there are an INFINITE number of valid ways to learn to play music.
What I try to do is establish what abilities the person in front of me already has, (point “A”) and also what abilities they would like to acquire through our lesson process (point “B”). I see my job as being “how do I take them on a journey from point A to point B as effectively and interestingly as possible”- but given the ENORMOUS diversity of possible points A and B, there’s an INFINITE number of these personal journeys. Obviously there are common problems, stumbling points, and technical hurdles that virtually ALL would-be guitarists share, but each person’s specific journey is unique. I strive to keep this thought present at all times in my teaching, and the more feedback I get from a student about what works best for them in their learning, the more I can develop an approach that is uniquely personal.
Past teaching stints include Dartmouth College between 1986-1990 as well as master-classes at Skidmore College, Johnson State College, Marlboro College and several other schools. Presently, I am teaching at University of Vermont (since ’06) and Middlebury College (1996 to the present).
In recent years, I’ve taught workshops on Fingerstyle Blues, Swing Jazz, and other related topics at the ASIA Symposium in Nashville, TN, Healdsburg (CA) Guitar Festivals, Newport Guitar Festivals, Memphis Acoustic Guitar Festival, Woodstock (NY) Invitational Guitar Show, and several others. I’ve also taught at the Swannanoa Gathering Guitar Week in Asheville, NC, and the Port Townsend (WA) Acoustic Blues Workshop. Fellow teachers at these wonderful sleep-deprivation experiments included Pat Donohue, David Wilcox, Kathy Mattea, Steve James, Al Petteway, Tony McManus, Stephen Bennett, Mary Flower, and others.
In addition, I presently see between 10-15 private students/ week, covering every conceivable age group, stylistic orientation, and playing level. Past students have included recognized professionals in jazz, rock, folk, etc, including Phish songwriter/guitarist/icon Trey Anastasio, Nth Power heavyweight Nick Cassarino, Tauk guitarist Matt Jalbert, Bearquarium guitarist Colin Lenox, and singer-songwriter Anais Mitchell .
I recently shot some clips for Guitar Player Magazine’s online feature, one of which can be found here… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=026-vEAVM_8 I Also recorded some clips for a new online venture, Peghead Nation, which debuted in April, ’14.
Paul Asbell CD Arrangements… Now Available in TAB Form!
In response to many pickers’ requests, TAB transcriptions of arrangements from “Steel String Americana”, “Roots & Branches”, and “Steel String Americana” are now available. Each transcription is note-for-note accurate to the version on the CD (some are 6-8 pages long as a result!), contain thorough rhythmic notation and fretboard diagrams for all the rather odd chord shapes used, and are available in PDF form, or printed on high-quality stationery stock. There are steep volume discounts, as well… go here for pricing.
Payment options include personal check to the address below, or checkout on this site with PayPal. Please include your email address and/or phone number with your order, and indicate whether you’d prefer to receive the TABs in “hard copy” or PDF form.
All items are postpaid to the US. Contact me for overseas shipping rates.
56 Pomeroy St.
Burlington, VT 05401
Here’s a list of TAB transcriptions of the arrangements from my CDs that are presently available.
From the “Steel String Americana“ CD…
“Such A Night”
“You Can’t Get That Stuff No More”
“Down In The Valley To Pray/Jesus, Make Up My Dyin’ Bed”
“My Blue Hellhound”
“I Loves You Porgy”
“You’ve Been A Good Ole’ Wagon”
“Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”
From the “Roots and Branches” CD…
From the “From Adamant To Atchafalaya” CD…
Long Distance Instruction
The technology which allows you to read this page keeps progressing at a dizzying pace! The previously unimaginable feat of having a free “face-to-face” conversation with someone 3000 miles away is now commonplace. Thanks to audio/video equipped computers and services like AIM and Skype, I’ve been giving lessons to students from 50 miles away to halfway across the globe… almost as easily as teaching a lesson in my home! PDF technology allows me to e-mail a sheet of TAB, exercises, or a theory assignment to a student in seconds, and MP3s allow me to quickly record and send examples of what the music should sound like.
Over the last 2 decades, I’ve prepared a lot of TAB transcriptions and other professional quality instructional worksheets for various projects… including video lessons for AcousticPlayerMagazine.com, blues and jazz guitar workshops, UVM Jazz Studies Dept course teaching, and of course my normal private teaching load.
Some of these materials are exercises, worksheets, arrangements of simpler, familiar tunes, etc that are designed to bring the fingerstylist from “ground zero” to a point within “striking range” of tunes like I perform on my CDs. Additionally, there are a large number of worksheets which have been prepared specifically for the TAB/chord diagram-savvy guitarist who wishes to enter the realm of jazz/swing/archtop guitar styles. Finally, I have sheets covering important topics in jazz theory, chord-melody arrangements of jazz standards, exercises for improving one’s scale and arpeggio skills, and single-line soloing strategies over modal progressions and complex chord progressions… these latter geared towards the serious jazz guitar student.
These materials, in conjunction with video-chat or long-distance phone options, have created effective and satisfying lesson options for many folks who live too far away to do normal “face-to-face” lessons. Interested? Drop me an e-mail post, and we’ll discuss it further.
For booking, to get on my E-mail list, or for any other information, feel free to get in touch!