Today marks HAAM Day, a benefit where local businesses donate 5% of the day’s proceeds to the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. Since 2005, HAAM has helped 4,000 local musicians access healthcare. Of course, this calls for celebration, and there’s a huge list of local artists plying their trade all around town today and tonight.
One of the finest examples of this Austin DIY spirit is Konrad Wert, better known as Possessed By Paul James. Wert started singing around town over a decade ago, taking his odd moniker by combining his grandfather’s name (Paul) with his father’s middle name (James). Roots run deep for him–he got his musical education through church–and he tips his hat to a much older tradition. Wert is a one-man-band, often bashing away at his guitar or sawing away on his fiddle while keeping time on an amplified piece of plywood. He’s one of the best performers in town, able to raise the hair on the back of your neck with personal tales of love and loss, all sung with the urgency of a backwoods preacher. On top of that, he’s a stand-up guy: when not raising a ruckus around town, he’s teaching in Boerne (Teacher of the Year, 2013) or touring the country in the summer with his family.
Last year, Wert brought his timeless songs into our Studio 1A, and today’s song of the day comes from this live performance. “There Will Be Nights When I’m Lonely”–the title track to his most recent album–is led by Wert’s incredible fiddle playing and rousing singing. You can’t teach this kind of skill–he’s learned it from knockout shows, night after night.
Watch him in the video and download the song below.
Catch Possessed By Paul James tonight at 7 p.m. at the Palm Door on Sixth as part of HAAM Day.