Fan of the Month – Paul Audi
Paul Audi is Senior Marketing Manager at LOUD Technologies Inc. He is a professional singer-songwriter and a semi-pro sailor. He also has an incurable poker addiction (though he tries not to let this interfere with his day gig). But today he is here to discuss the music that moves him.
One Louder: The desert island question: if you could take the collected works of five artists, who would the five be?
Paul Audi: Led Zeppelin, Kevin Gilbert, Glen Phillips, Aimee Mann and Peter Frampton.
OL: Tell me more about Glen Phillips. Who is he?
PA: I knew of his original band [Toad the Wet Sprocket] and liked it, but never owned a CD or was a dedicated fan. But his solo stuff just really turned my head.
OL: Why does he make your desert island five?
PA: Glen Phillips is arguably the most pop-perfect songwriter working today. His songs are refined, sophisticated, accessible… just pure songwriting perfection. His music is joyous, effortless, gracious… wonderful. If you listened to one of his songs and said “what could I do to make this a little better?” the answer would be “Nothing. It is perfect.”
OL: How were you introduced to him? When did you get into his music?
PA: My wife; she had some solo CDs I’d never heard. It’s very different from the kind of songwriting I do. My stuff is more word-play/instant photo imagery. And while Glen’s has elements of that, his are ultra-vivid visual story-telling… he paints a picture, or maybe even more like a movie, with melody and lyric. I love the thoughtful/thought-provoking lyrics and utterly emotion-controlling music; he’s just really insightful and smart.
OL: Have you seen him live?
PA: Oh yeah, many times. He’s one of the few artists I still go to see anytime he’s in town. When we lived in L.A., we’d go see him at our favorite small venue, where he played about once every month or two. A truly great club that hosted tons of exceptional (but sometimes lesser-known) writers like Aimee Mann, Kevin Gilbert, Nickel Creek, Jon Brion, Grant Lee Phillips, Michael Penn, the list goes on.
OL: Do you get the same sense of satisfaction from his live shows as you do with his releases? In other words, do his live shows live up to your expectations?
PA: I think of the CDs and the live environment as very different; I don’t expect them to be the same. But I’m totally satisfied by his performances. The shows are usually solo or duet and thus, you really get to see him shine in a difficult performance setting. Both his singing and his guitar playing are exceptional and seemingly effortless, despite being very complex. Sometimes, while lost in the recorded songs, I forget what a fine guitarist and exceptional singer he is. The joy and ease of it all reminds me a little of James Taylor… he’s that way too. Great player, great singer and we forget because the songs are so overwhelming.
OL: Are there any particular albums of Glen’s that stand out from others?
PA: They are all very good, but Abulum and Winter Pays for Summer are my favorites.