Paul Janeway, of St. Paul and the Broken Bones, is a young man who began wailing straight out of the womb, and most folks would agree that he hasn’t stopped since. He began singing in church, stretching those vocal cords with an eye toward becoming a man of the cloth. As it turns out, however, the cloth didn’t appreciate young Paul’s affinity for dirty jokes, Prince, and Tom Waits, and he was inclined to search elsewhere for co-conspirators. He began plying his trade with whomever would have him, and happily, folks were mostly impressed by his efforts. With a wholly re-imagined take on the sounds he’d grown up singing and seeking, Paul recruited a rag-tag band of loveable weirdoes, visionaries, and hacks to help him harness the power he now knew he possessed. Under the nom du guerre St. Paul and the Broken Bones, the motley crew roams the countryside looking to get cabooses shakin’, faces meltin’, and brothers and sisters everywhere testifyin’.
We got the opportunity to catch up with Paul before he and the band head to the Earl in East Atlanta on Saturday, August 3. Check out what he had to say about the best gig he’s ever seen, the band’s most memorable show and the venue he’d most like to play!
What’s the first gig you ever attended?
I didn’t grow up going to shows but every once in a while a gospel quartet would come to the church I attended. The name of the groups that came in I can’t remember but I do remember that they would put on a hell of a show.
What is the best gig that you ever played/performed?
I was asked one time to sing on a show with some of the old Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section guys. I don’t typically get nervous but that night I was pretty nervous. It was a pretty amazing moment for me when I was singing “When a Man Loves a Woman” and Spooner Oldham is playing keys to my right.
What is the best gig you have ever seen?
It has to be Prince. I traveled out to California to see him perform at Coachella Music Festival. I waited all day in the heat just to be front row for Prince. When he started playing it was like a religious experience. I am not ashamed to admit it I totally cried during “Purple Rain” that night.
Gig you would most like to play?
I think the dream for me is playing at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. My granny always talked about the Grand Ole Opry and how if you played the Ryman back in the day you were at the top of music. I don’t know what I would do if I got to play on that stage.
What would be the lineup for your dream gig?
Most of the musicians and performers I admire are not on this earth anymore so I will stick with folks who are alive. Booker T and Steve Cropper would have to be involved somehow. D’Angelo, Tom Waits and Prince playing in that order would be my dream lineup.
Don’t miss St. Paul and the Broken Bones playing at the Earl on Saturday, August 3!