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Paul McDonald

Paul McDonald

Reuben Bidez

Fri · January 27, 2017

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$10.00 - $12.00

Off Sale

This event is 18 and over

Paul McDonald
Paul McDonald
“I’M TURNING ALL THESE LOWS INTO GLITTER, SILVER, AND GOLD/AND IT’S SO MUCH BETTER…”


Paul McDonald sings those words with soaring emotionality on “So Much Better,” a track from his upcoming debut, Modern Hearts. And those are the words of a man who has truly lived his lyrics.


Three years ago, after a heavily publicized divorce and the break-up of his former band, Paul left his life in LA in search of familiarity and solace. The Alabama-born artist found himself in East Nashville, feeling like a stranger in a region he once called home. That all changed when he picked up his guitar and began the process of what would become Modern Hearts.


“I had to take my life back and figure out who I was again,” he shares. “It took me a few years and a few hundred songs to get to that point.”


Paul story’s is the triumphant Modern Hearts, an album bursting with anthemic hooks, majestically textured alt-rock, tinges of Southern soul, literate introspection, and profound redemption. Previously, Paul’s broadly resonant musicality garnered him international acclaim and coverage from the likes of Rolling Stone, Billboard, MTV, etc., and enabled him to share the stage with a diverse array of classic and current icons. Select performance highlights include sharing the stage with artists such as Stevie Wonder, Zac Brown, Father John Misty, Steven Tyler, Emmylou Harris, and appearing at festivals such as Bonnaroo, SXSW, and Hangout Festival and performing on nationally televised shows like “Good Morning America” and “The Tonight Show.”


It could be said that Modern Hearts is a breakup record documenting spiritual and artistic uplift. The 14-track body of work represents a full-spectrum of emotions, from soulful and sorrowful tracks, to invigorating new-life anthems, to meditative mid-tempo numbers.


“Writing helped me a lot during that time. I would wake up every morning feeling lost, but once I started writing, I'd tell myself, ‘I'm right where I'm supposed to be and It’s all going to be all good.’” Paul says with a good-natured laugh. He continues: “And as I gained my confidence back as a human being and as an artist, I started writing more upbeat and hopeful songs.”


“Once You Were Mine” oozes Memphis soul. Replete with stately horns, silken vocals, confessional lyrics, and a simmering groove, it recalls prime Al Green. The boldly vulnerable title track unpacks the painful complexity of breakups in the digital age. The invigorating “Hold On” hits that post-breakup sweet spot where anger overtakes heartache. Modern Hearts also boasts a cadre of got-my-mojo-back tracks, one standout is the ambient and slow burner “Call On Me” which lunges forth with an ominous, dub-funk groove, and a vocal delivery that oozes virility. The track’s chorus kicks off with a time-standing-still moment before it rockets skyward with an irresistible soul pop hook.


Modern Hearts was produced by Jordan Lehning (Caitlin Rose, Rodney Crowell, Andrew Combs), and features an all star cast of studio musicians whose resumes include Cage The Elephant, James Bay, Shawn Mendes, Maren Morris, Nikki Lane, Kacey Musgraves, and Buddy Miller, among others. The album was tracked with ace musicians playing in real time with sympathetic band interplay at the vibey Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, NC (Band Of Horses, Avett Brothers). Additional recording took place at Sound Emporium Studios (Jason Isbell, Alabama Shakes) in Nashville, TN.


Today, Paul is no longer a stranger in Nashville, nor is he a stranger to himself. Upon completing the album, he debuted his new material live for the first time in town, and, despite not having a record commercially available at the time, he sold out the club in his adopted hometown of Music City. Looking back on the powerful journey represented by Modern Hearts, Paul says: “Making this record saved my life. I regained my confidence and my sense of self through the process. But what has made the journey worthwhile is having other people reach out to tell me that listening to these songs has helped them through a similar situation. For an artist, there’s no better feeling than sharing emotions and helping people find strength and clarity through your music. That’s the real prize.”


Modern Hearts is set for a late summer/early fall of 2017 release.
Reuben Bidez
Reuben Bidez
When Reuben Bidez sings, he opens his heart and projects a vulnerability that draws you into his intimate portraits of lovers facing the pleasures and woes of romance. "I want to write songs that explore real emotions," he says. "Songs that awaken people from their slumber of distraction and make them feel something." On Turning to Wine, his first EP, he's as good as his word. He delivers a collection of inviting melodies and insightful lyrics that illuminate the mysteries of the soul, with a vision informed by sorrow, uncertainty and the warmth of unconditional love. The songs are a record of the transitions he's been going through since he moved to Nashville from Atlanta. "The record is a snapshot of the changes I've been experiencing in my marriage and my music, for the last two and a half years. They're more honest and open than anything I've written before."

Bidez worked with Grammy winning producer Mitch Dane (Jars of Clay, Humming House, The Kicks, Ryan Horne, Rob Blackledge) to capture the dynamics of a live performance, with arrangements that move from warm, ambient overtones to the brittle chiming of electric guitars. Bidez plays acoustic12-string on the title track to support his hushed vocal, slipping into a doleful falsetto to underline his message of fidelity. When the band joins him for the closing bridge, consecrated organ and mournful harmonies underscore the painful realization that even the most dedicated love may have its limits. On "Intruder," the dark tones of a spectral cello adds resonance to the hesitant phrasing Bidez uses to break familiar words into unexpected shapes and give them new meaning. Icy sustained notes from a slide guitar and keening vocal harmonies intensify the sentiments of "Can We Survive." It's a question most lovers ask themselves and Bidez answers with a resounding "yes," supported by a soaring string section and his jubilant vocals. The pealing 12-string guitar returns to highlight "Holding On," the record's quiet final track, another testament to unlimited devotion in the face of life's uncertainties. "This album takes the listener on a journey through the ups and downs of a relationship," Bidez says. "We deal with hope, fear, betrayal and disappointment every day. I find it challenging to address those emotions in a four minute song."

Reuben Bidez grew up in Fayetteville, GA, a small town near Atlanta. He's been singing and performing for as long as he can remember. "In grammar school, I was always the class clown," he says. "I'd do anything for a laugh, but I didn't really hit my stride until I joined the chorus."

Bidez taught himself to play guitar after landing a job in a small mom and pop music store. "They gave me a job, despite the fact that I didn't know how to play guitar. I learned on the job and discovered I had a natural musical ability. I started playing for my church youth group's Wednesday night services. Not everyone would show up each week, so I taught myself bass and drums, to fill in for whoever was missing."

During his years at Georgia Tech, Bidez started a rock band. They toured the Southeast and put out two EPs and an album before disbanding. Bidez had been writing upbeat pop tunes during his church years, but the songs he wrote for the band had a more personal, introspective tone. After graduation, he stayed in Atlanta, performing at open mics; the songs he put up on ReverbNation won him thousands of followers, but he was struggling to find his place in the Atlanta music scene. After some soul searching, he felt his best career move was to relocate to Nashville. "It was a leap of faith, but I had to do it. The fact that thousands of others are here trying their hardest, makes me want to try harder."

The move to Nashville gave his career the expected boost. He put out Colors in My Eyes, a self-produced acoustic EP, released a single called "Learning to Love You," and landed a video of "Can We Survive" on the American Songwriter website. The magazine praised the music's "rich, soulful sound." Bidez will be touring to support Turning to Wine, both solo and with a five-piece band. "The band shows are more raucous than the record," he says. "Live, we can reinvent the songs, stretch out a bit and give them a different feel."
Venue Information:
The High Watt
One Cannery Row
Nashville, TN, 37203
http://thehighwatt.com/