Interview with Blues guitarist Paul Cowley. An interview by email in writing.
JazzBluesNews.com: – First, let’s start out with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music. How exactly did your adventure take oﬀ? When did you realize that this was a passion you could make a living out of?
Paul Cowley: – I was born & grew up in Birmingham United Kingdom. All early musical exposure was via the radio – popular music of the day – nothing too specialist but I always liked songs that told a story.
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Music has been important throughout my life but I was in my forties when I started playing seriously, inspired principally by the discovery of country blues.
I’m still figuring out the making of a living!
JBN: – How has your sound evolved over time? What have you been doing to find and develop your own sound?
PC: – It has become more relaxed / confident & articulate!
Constant playing / listening, absorbing influences, adapting them & incorporating them into my own sound.
JBN: – What routine practices or exercises have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical proficiency, in terms of both rhythm and harmony?
PC: – I try to play twice a day at least 4 hours in total. I have to balance it with other commitments. I work on new material, maintaining the repertoire, keeping my hands moving.
JBN: – Have you changed through the years? Any charges or overall evolution? And if so why?
PC: – I’m more organised as I get older. I try to be more & more effective with the use of my time.
There could be talk or advertising about your CD
JBN: – In your opinion, what’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?
PC: – I’m in the soul camp! The more intellectual / overthought music is, generally the less I like it but obviously it has to be stimulating to a degree on an intellectual level.
JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; are you okay with delivering people the emotion they long for?
PC: – I am. I think if you manage that, you have really succeeded as a musician.
JBN: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of standard tunes are half a century old?
PC: – Expose them to it at a young age, in school for example.
JBN: – John Coltrane once said that music was his spirit. How do you perceive the spirit and the meaning of life?
PC: – Life is precious, fleeting & wonderful. We should value every second of it, maximise our individual potential. It’s meaning – that is beyond me!
JBN: – If you could change one single thing in the musical world and that would become reality, what would that be?
PC: – I would like music to be properly valued on many levels. I would like to face less genre discrimination.
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JBN: – Whom do you find yourself listening to these days?
PC: – Tampa Red, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, Corey Harris, Bill Frisell, all sorts really!
JBN: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine: where and why would you really want to go?
PC: – I’d like to go back to the late 1950’s early 60’s to be part of and involved in the Folk / Blues revival.
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Interview by Simon Sarg