Little Bit Of Everything

By Andrew Gilhooley / 411

Individually, the members of Canadian band the Paperboys may be some of the hardest working people in music, with an amazing range of side bands and solo projects.  When they get together as the Paperboys, their chemistry is such that Montreal’s The Hour newspaper said “The mixture of swirling violins, the energy of the banjo, guitar, accordion, drums and more, make it impossible to sit still.”  On Saturday night you can get up and dance yourself when they play at Henfling’s Firehouse Tavern in Ben Lomond.

The Paperboys were formed in Vancouver, Canada, in 1992.  The founder of the band is vocalist and guitarist Tom Landa.  Born in Mexico, he moved to Canada in his teens and at first shied away from any world music leanings.  “When I first moved to Canada I basically wanted to put all my heritage behind me,” he said.  “I I really wanted to belong and be part of what was around me, not the guy who stood out because he dressed differently and had an accent.  So with putting that away, I also put my music away, and I shouldn’t have.”

However, he began listening to Celtic music by a Vancouver band, Spirit of the West, and also rediscovered Latin music in the shape of artists like Los Lobos.  A trip to Spain fused the two in his mind.  “I realized how strong the Celtic music scene is in Spain.  You could be walking around places like Santiago and there’s bagpipers busking in the square.”  He originally formed the Paperboys as a Celtic Pop band, but his own wide-ranging musical tastes, and those of his bandmates, soon won out.  Today’s Paperboys play a mix of bluegrass, soul, Latin, Celtic and other musical styles blending together into what the band simply describes as “Stomp.” 

Over 20 different musicians have played with Landa in the Paperboys over the years.  The current line-up features Cam Salay, Shannon Saunders, Dave Gossage, Steve Mitchell, Kendel Carson and Geoffrey Kelly, some of whom play only at certain shows.  The band has released five CDs, including their most recent title, “Dilapidated Beauty.” They have toured extensively in the US, Canada and Mexico, and have recently added the UK, Scandinavia, Germany and Switzerland to their itinerary.  All of this has been achieved without the support of a major record label, but rather through old-fashioned hard work, talent and the support of their fans.

Landa sees the Paperboys as a band that will continue to grow and evolve in its musical style as time goes by.  "I don't want to put out the same record over and over again,” he said.  “There were all these bands that mixed Celtic with rock, did all sorts of wonderful things with Celtic music, and now I find more and more a trend to go back to traditional stuff. I'd like to find something in the next few years that will be different, which is hard to do. So I find myself discovering what to do with the music all over again, which is a great place to be."

First published in "411", The Salinas Californian, September 30, 2004

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