The last time I wrote about Possessed By Paul James I was relatively sure no one outside of my little Deep Blues circle had any idea who he was. Flash forward a couple of years and a stint on the last Revival Tour, and people on my alt.country/punk-folk circle have at least heard of him and a few lucky ones have seen him live.
Possessed By Paul James is one Mr. Konrad Wert, currently living in Texas but hailing from my home state of Florida. His past two albums, Possessed By Paul James and Cold and Blind, coupled with his live shows have garnered him a cult following as rabid as any, and one I am proud to call myself a part of. That said, the albums have also fallen into the “love ‘em or hate ‘em” category. It’s an issue I can relate to because for the longest time I loved Cold and Blind but found Possessed By Paul James utterly unlistenable. That was, until I managed to catch him live 2 times at the Deep Blues Festival 3 years ago.
Konrad is best understood if you’ve seen him live, that’s an undeniable fact, but it’s become less of a requirement with each album, and now with Feed The Family I think he’s managed to make an album accessible enough that the live show isn’t a requirement for those with a slightly more confined musical palate. Feed the Family captures everything that makes Possessed By Paul James great without spending too much time in that challenging area that requires knowing him live to be able to truly “get it”
So, what does that get you? For long time fans, the stomps, vocal quakes and yelps are still present. For the potential newly indoctrinated (slash Konard live virgins), said stomps, vocal quakes and yelps are mixed more into the background, with Konrad’s picking and passion out front for display. The results are a surprisingly restrained sound that manages to capture the immediate and passionate nature of Konrad’s music. I think with all that said, it’s clear that this is seriously some Essential Listening. If you’ve heard PBPJ before and didn’t like it, listen again ‘cause this is easily the best album he’s recorded to date, as well as a done deal for a slot on the 9B Top 10 of the 2k10.