One-man-band Konrad Wert goes by the stage name Possessed by Paul James, and if you ever happen to see him in concert, you’ll understand why.
“They’ll see a funny looking fella shakin’, smilin’, hootin’ and pickin’ either a fiddle, banjo or guitar,” he tells CMT Edge. “Granted, it may first look a bit strange, but then hopefully the sincerity and melody of the music pulls through.”
The Austin resident is nothing if not sincere. His homespun songs cover a wide range of American roots music and generally propel him into a trance-like state. Sometimes the music pours out of him in a delicate vocal warble. Other times he saws at his fiddle and snarls like a pit bull.
Somewhere in between there lies “Songs We Used to Sing,” an optimistic country tune framing the big picture of family life.
“‘Songs We Used to Sing’ pulls at a theme of celebration,” he explains. “Yes, relationships exist within the song. Yes, there’s regret in life. Yes, there are cornerstones in music that bring us back, keeping us from quitting on life. Most importantly, though, I feel this song celebrates both the highs and lows. That’s the key. We must always remember that music creates a chorus, an anthem with which we can share both our joys and the tragedy.”
His video brings that chorus to life as a young couple, scouting an old farmhouse, discover the artifacts of families who lived there before. In the end, those long-lost memories are revived, and the new couple is invited to add its “anthem” to the story.
“My style of writing envelopes story and emotion,” Wert says. “However, neither needs to be a personal journey in order for a song to come. That is almost the point — to say that our stories are never our own but rather a collection of life’s experiences shared with others.”
Check out Possessed by Paul James’ “Songs We Used to Sing” from his latest album There Will Be Nights When I’m Lonely.