By Jennifer Kotila
HOWARD LAKE, MN After a devastating break-up from a long-term relationship, Minnesota musician Paul Christian did some soul-searching and decided to take a leap of faith in 2006 to focus on a career writing and performing his original music.
He has since released two CDs, “Never Been Lonely” and “Summertime,” and will be performing Sunday, June 23 from 3 to 5:30 p.m. near the fire barn in Howard Lake during the Good Neighbor Days festivities.
“I’ve been mostly influenced by the folks that came out of Sun Studios, where Elvis, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and other greats came from,” Christian said.
For his first album, Christian was trying to outdo Chris Isaak and Roy Orbison by writing the saddest, prettiest album he could relying on his abusive, rough upbringing to inspire songs that “are basically for the underdogs,” he said.
He noted the “amazingly beautiful” songs such as “Running Scared” by Orbison and “Let Me Down Easy” by Isaak, where the lyrics have the listener thinking things will work out one way, but then go in a completely different direction with one line.
Since the release of his first album, Christian has been compared to Orbison and Isaak more than 400 times.
“I guess you can’t always get away from your influences completely,” he noted.
Christian wanted his second album to be happy, and louder and faster than the first. “It was my attempt at doing something more original than the other writers and musicians I was surrounded by,” he said.
His moment of real inspiration came when he called his sister in Minnesota while sitting poolside near the Mexican border in sunny, 85-degree weather.
“My sister told me it was 25-below without the windchill,” Christian said, noting he had the majority of the ideas for the songs on his new album within a week.
“I got a little neurotic with it because I was feeling so amazingly awesome having never experienced perfect weather in the middle of winter,” he added.
Today, Christian splits his time between Denver, Nashville, and Minneapolis, and will soon be on tour in New Zealand and Australia.
“I love Nashville. It’s sort of like Minneapolis, but its a music town, full and I mean full of music adventures around every corner. Perfect for full-time musicians,” Christian said.
Some of the perks of being a full-time musician are the interesting things seen on tour and meeting interesting people, Christian noted.
“The first time I was on the Mexican border, this guy thought it would be a good idea to pick a fight with a bar full of young Marines,” Christian said. “I wrote about it a bit in ‘See What Tomorrow Brings’ on the ‘Summertime’ record.”
There is a lot of drug use amongst people on the road, Christian noted.
He added that he quit everything a long time ago, and recently wrote a song relating to it called “I Don’t Have Any Problems, So I Make My Own.”
“It’s mainly the people you meet that makes touring so worthwhile,” Christian said.