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The Upbeat: Paul Miles

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Friday, August 21, 2009

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Name: Paul Miles

Bio: Miles was raised in the western Ohio town of Paulding, where he sang in the church choir and played in a rock band as a teenager. He attended Bowling Green State University on a football scholarship and played in the World Football League during the mid-70s. His travels have taken him to California (where he studied music at Golden West Community College); Baltimore; Toronto; Memphis, Tenn.; and Louisiana before he settled in Detroit in 2000.

Sound: Folk and blues with an R&B flavor.

Influences: Robert Johnson, Taj Mahal, Motown, Stax-Volt, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, LaVerne Baker.

Day job: Music is Miles full-time gig. In-between shows Im always promoting for the next show, says Miles, who performs mostly solo, everywhere from clubs and festivals to weddings and house concerts. Hes also an active street performer around the Detroit area.

Going solo: Miles began taking the troubadour route after his father gave him an acoustic guitar when Miles was a teenager. He told me to take it outside cause I was making too much noise, Miles recalls with a laugh. One of my friends showed me a couple of chords and I took it to college with me and started to play guitar between two-a-days (football drills), and in the off-season Id do to coffee shops and play there.

Blues his way: I think the connection factor in what I do is very raw, Miles explains. Its six strings. Its a box, and what Im able to do is interpret a personality into it. Ive worked really hard to develop my style. I let other people describe it; they say its blues or very soulful, rocking, whatever it might be. Im really just taking my 21st century look at the evolution of the blues and what I would do with it.

Hear him: Miles latest recording is the civic-boosting all-star single Motown Still Our Town, which he recorded last November. Miles also can be seen and heard in a commercial for Zumba Mexican Grille, in Royal Oak. Hes finishing a new album, "Blue Collar Man," that he plans to launch with a release party on Sept. 20 at Memphis Smoke in Royal Oak.

See him: Miles performs as part of Hot Summer Nights on Saturday (Aug. 22) at Focus: Hope, 1355 Oakman Blvd., Detroit. The free concert runs from 2-8 p.m. and also will feature performances by Ortheia Barnes, Lola Morales, the Carolyn Striho Band, Wojamm & Shiron Denise and others. Call (313) 598-0408 or visit www.generalpopulation.org. Miles also will perform Sunday (Aug. 23) as part of A Crowded House, a benefit for local artists Will Copeland and Afeni Ngozi Hill, which runs 4-7 p.m. at Go Comedy!, 264 E. Nine Mile Road, Ferndale. Suggested donation is $5. Call (248) 327-0575 or visit www.seriousartists.com/blair.html.

Surf him: www.pauljmilesmusic.com.

Web Site: www.pauljmilesmusic.com

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