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Paul deLay

Paul deLay

Bluesman Paul deLay is a serious triple threat. An insightful lyricist with a penchant for earthy, everyday storytelling, he is also a supremely soulful singer with a sanctified streak…part Otis Redding, part Clarence Fountain, part David Clayton Thomas, yet unmistakably deLay. And if that weren’t enough, the guy also plays harmonica like no one else on the planet. No, he’s not the fastest or trickiest blues harpist around. Leave that to guys like John Popper of Blues Traveller. Instead, deLay plays his chromatic harp like those same vocalists he so admires: full of feeling, finesse and floating lyricism; more like the Toots Thielemans of the blues than your typically raucous Chicago style honker.

On his latest Evidence release, Nice & Strong, deLay sings about relationships and responsibility with the kind of honesty and humor that strikes a universal chord. “I try not to let anything get by me that I can use,” says the Portland native of his songwriting process. “Often I’m having conversations with people and they think I’m talking to ’em, but I’m just fishing for ideas. And occasionally I’ll latch onto something that I think people will identify with.”

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