Possessed by Paul James — a performer the New York Times dubbed a “one man folk wonder” — will bring a whirlwind of musical energy to Cannon Beach during a free concert 5 p.m. Sunday, July 23, in the downtown city park.
The free event — produced by the Tolovana Arts Colony with support from the City of Cannon Beach’s Community Grant — includes an opener Travis Champ. Attendees are encouraged to bring chairs, blankets and picnic baskets. All ages are welcome.
“Sweating intensely, and with every muscle straining, he played religiously intense folk without the religion, in between tales of teaching music to special-education students,” the Times’ Jon Caramanica wrote.
The publication honored the performance at the Pickathon festival as one of 2014’s top 10 concerts of the year.
Combining the names of his father and grandfather, Possessed by Paul James is the moniker of Konrad Wert. And as NPR put it: “Those who have seen him perform … would agree he seems possessed by something.”
Touring from his home base in Boerne, Texas, just outside San Antonio, Wert plucks, strums and bows banjo, guitar and fiddle. His songs traverse country, folk and punk traditions.
While performing by his lonesome, Wert’s music is hardly sparse. It is muscular, gritty and electric, like a tornado whipping across the plains.
Part of the magic of a Possessed by Paul James performance is witnessing Wert spinning up, conjuring such elemental intensity. Indeed, live and in person is where he really shines.
Wert told NPR: “In the recording studio, that’s a great way to present the music. But in a live show, in an interaction, whatever’s gonna come is gonna come. For me, that’s the purest pleasure of playing music: It’s almost a conversation, with a listener and a musician.”
When not performing, Wert doubles as a special education teacher.
Cannon Beach’s downtown city park is located northeast of Second and Spruce streets, behind the tennis courts and Chamber of Commerce.