The CD launch for Good Road Home from the duo Stanton Paradis was a bona fide sell-out, Simon Paradis reported proudly.
They couldn't have squeezed one more person into the Coopers Green Hall in Halfmoon Bay on Jan. 11. The crowd was attentive to the original music, but all sang along on a cover tune of "Moon River". It was a great time.
"We have arrived," Joe Stanton summed up the musical story of this guitar-picking, roots, folk, and tuneful duo of musicians.
For Stanton it's his sixth CD - many of the previous ones were recorded with the Precious Littles, a band that included Paradis. In fact, the two are good friends and have been for years.
"It's like we're reading each other's minds," Stanton said.
It shows in the music, makes it tighter and great for live performances such as their regular Thursday evening gig at The Old Boot in Sechelt.
Good Road Home, recorded in the Paradis's dining room in Halfmoon Bay over four days by local David J. Taylor, offers 12 tunes, mostly original. The cover songs, such as spoken word artist Dan Bern's "God Said No", are truly interesting reminders that lyrics are powerful.
The original work on this CD reveals a dark side. The title track was written with Paradis's wife, Kara Stanley, and the theme is drawn from journal entries she made as she waited while the musician was in ICU after a life threatening accident in 2008.
"This CD feels like a resolution," Stanley said.
The lyrics go: "I'm looking for the good road home, but the night is long, it's a thousand miles long."
Paradis was a finishing carpenter who loved his job until an accident rendered him almost paralyzed. At first he could not move his left arm at all, but gradually, with physiotherapy, movement returned to his fingers, enough for him to learn to play the guitar all over again. It helped that Stanton came to the house while Paradis was recovering and rehearsed with him. Also, Paradis took a post-accident course at the Berklee School of Music to refresh his skills. He now moves with the aid of a wheelchair, which does not prevent him from playing many gigs, and he adds that some parts of him are still waking up.
"You're a work in progress," Stanton says to Paradis.
Paradis does not whine about it. "Everyone's got their own boulder to roll uphill," he pointed out, but his ache is reflected in the tune, "Pain in the Night".
Lyrics include the line: "A pill for this, a pill for that/My body's under attack." The listener can believe he came by the experience honestly.
The duo's live performances are in demand, and the two give kudos to restaurant and pub owners who offer live music, including the Old Boot and the Garden Bay Pub. "It's important - it helps us develop a repertoire," said Stanton.
The two are performing solo again in Roberts Creek's newest studio, the Creek Gallery, for a Tom Waits special titled Tom Waits for No Man next Saturday, Feb. 1 at 8 p.m.
Stanton Paradis will be perform in a special show on Feb. 21 with Barney Bentall and Shari Ulrich, among others, at the Raven's Cry Theatre in Sechelt.
CDs are available at Fresh From The Coast in Sechelt and online at www.stantonparadis.com.
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