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- Paul Geremia, a local legend recording the blues for over 44 years
Paul Geremia is no stranger to the Rutland region due mainly to
John Cassarino's love of the Blues. John is the Coordinator of
Volunteer Services at the Marble Valley Correctional Center (MVCC)
in Rutland and his brother, Jim, chairs the music department at
Green Mountain College where Geremia has performed twice.
The majority of Geremia's appearances have taken place at the MVCC
thanks to John's efforts. "Paul's performances are for the
residents that earn the privilege to attend and those privileges
are easier to lose than attain," John says. Such performances are
"an attempt to broaden the resident's horizons by exposing them to
acoustic blues," he adds.
Geremia's appearances at GMC are in conjunction with a course
presented by adjunct professor Gary Meitrott on the Blues.
Geremia's most recent stop at GMC was on April 26. Close to 100
appreciative students attended the show.
Geremia expertise includes six-string guitar, piano, harmonica and
his easily recognizable 12 string playing. "I had the 12 string
Stella made from a six string. I've had the neck replaced, the
head, heal, top, back…the only thing original are the sides. It's
great sounding, but very temperamental. 12 strings mostly are," he
Geremia has been presenting the blues to audiences for close to
five decades and has released 11 albums/CDs, including his most
recent "Love My Stuff" (2011). His first two releases "Gamblin
Woman Blues" (1993) and "Self Portrait in Blues" (1995) earned him
W.C. Handy Award nominations - about equal to an Oscar for a blues
musician. Geremia has received numerous accolades from a variety of
music publication, but folk icon Dave Van Ronk's praise is perhaps
the ultimate, he said "Paul is the best white blues player alive."
Geremia continues to justify that statement.
After each of his recent area performances I was privileged to
spend time with Geremia and it was both fun and educational. The
Saturday morning following his GMC performance we met at Johnny's
Bays on Woodstock Ave. for breakfast. Sitting at the counter with
the sound of Sirius XM's channel 5-50's on 5, which owners John and
Luanne Petrone have locked in. He made some comments on the tunes,
then explained that he listens to lots of jazz and incorporates
those styles into his sound.
Geremia has been receiving regular airplay weekend evening on VPR,
give a listen or pick up his latest CD.