The moniker ‘Pablo’ hasn’t been used for a while but, before the band changed its name to Paul & The Tall Trees, it was a name used for a man, and his band. Paul Schalda (to his inner circle ‘Pablo’) was - and is - a Staten Island musical enigma. While most islanders would have fallen prey to radio-friendly metal and other musical fumes that may have seeped into the water from neighboring Jersey, Paul - and his family - started on a long musical journey that began with some local hardcore ensembles, and somehow ended up cruising through the originality of a harmonic landscape built on the foundations of doo wop with smatterings of The Band and Big Star, and any other musical outfit that was steeped in songwriting that had a refined sense of harmonic and melodic structure.
At the end of the day, it’s about the voice and the song. For some, when you hear a unique voice, that’s it, that’s the moment that counts. I imagine we’ll win over a few of those folks when they slip on a set of headphones and take a ride with us through the dreamy, yet driving A-side, ‘Designed’.
Riding atop a steady pulse, lushy acoustic guitars, and some other worldly keyboard sounds, are melody and harmonies, sung by that original voice, accompanied by an equally wonderful feminine counterpart, that luckily has found its way to the recorded medium.
The B-side ‘Oh Well’ serves as evidence that the author of these tunes has a sense of songwriting that is uniquely his own. Stick with us from the simple groove at the top of the tune, through the unexpected chords in the pre-chorus, all the way down the line to the cathartic power and beauty of the anthemic outro.
This release was a long time in the making, sort of lost in the daily shuffle of life, while Paul Schalda (the songsmith) and Chris Edwards (the recordist and drummer) spent most of their days out on the road with Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires. But though it took a few years to find its way to wax, ‘Designed’ is a timeless tune, with a breezy, backing soundtrack to your life kind of vibe, and ‘Oh Well’ is a song that resists categorization, but is sure to catch the ear of anyone who can flip a 45 over and drop the needle in the groove.