Interview with Paula Bradley of Miss Paula & The Twangbusters by: Amy Modesti

Written by on July 26, 2021

Around Town with Amy Modesti”: Meet Paula Bradley and “The Twangbusters” 

Interview by Amy Modesti 

Meet “Miss” Paula Bradley, pianist, vocalist, & band leader of “The Twangbusters” & “Moonshine Holler”. Hailing from West Virginia and residing in Tyringham, MA, “Miss” Paula is The Berkshires/Capital Region’s queen of boogie-woogie, country-twang, & piano infused blues!! 

I first heard “Miss” Paula & “The Twangbusters” perform at The Hangar on The Hudson in Troy, NY two years ago. They were the headlining act of an evening show featuring “The Brule County Bad Boys” and “The Nellies”. From the moment I heard Paula boogie on the piano alongside her band, I was hooked! A week after that show I was at the Albany Elks Lodge. It was First Friday & they were the swing dance band that night. Swing-dancing to them was a blast!! 

Times have certainly changed since I last saw “The Twangbusters”. Hopefully in time I will attend another show of theirs. However, I did catch up with “Miss Paula” at the Schodack Diner for lunch last month. We got to chat about all things “Twangy”, “Girl Howdy”, and what we both consider to be “Retro” music! 

Amy: How did you get to know each of your band members that are in your band?

Paula: That’s a good question. Well, Kevin Maul was the first person that I knew. We had many mutual friends beyond the Capital Region, and our paths would just cross at different musical events, and he was the one that introduced me to Bob Resnick, because he knew Bob who plays drums with “The Twangbusters” and Peter Bearup who plays guitar.

Amy: Yep.

Paula: We’ve had a couple different band, bass players. But Jay Bird Gorleski who’s been, our bass player most recently, I had met him also just through various music events. I used to play in a band called “Girl Howdy”, which was a female-led honkey-Tonk band. And Kevin subbed in that band a couple of times and Jay Bird recorded bass with one of the other women in the band, Betsy Dawn Williams. So, it’s kind of like we were all sort of in the same orbit. But Kevin knew the kind of music that I wanted to play. He and I both kind of, just had a lot in common when it came to stuff that we, songs we liked and things like that so he kind of said ‘you know, I know a really good guitar player that would rock this, and I know a really good drummer’ and he was right! (laughs)

Amy: That’s awesome! 

Paula: So, when we all got together, it just really worked. And yeah, we had a good time.

Amy: That’s awesome. And you had Lance Macintosh fill in a couple times.

Paula: Yes! You know Lance was part of the band. He had some, he’s got a job so this is all of course pre-covid, but he’s got a job and he had some, some geographic restrictions where you couldn’t travel as far for certain things. But yeah, he’s a fantastic bass player. And we had a wonderful time playing with him and hope to play with him again.

Amy: Yeah, absolutely cause the last gig I remember watching you at was at the Albany Elks Club.

Paula: Oh yeah, that swing dance!!

Amy: The swing dance event.

Paula: That was such a fun, yeah. That’s the one thing about Covid… It’s more than one thing. But the outdoor concerts of course are the first things that are coming back. But we also play a lot, a bunch of swing dances. We’ve played Albany’s, Saratoga, Poughkeepsie, West Hartford, CT, and, in the Berkshires there’s swing dance at Dewey Hall. None of those have come back. So, that’s, I don’t know if people are ready for indoor dancing just yet. 

Amy: No. Maybe more outside than inside right now. 

Paula: Well, swing dances are partner dances, generally where you switch partners. Right? And so, people are just, it’s gonna take a little while, I mean, if everybody’s vaccinated of course, it should be fine. But it is going to take a little longer for people to get comfortable.

Amy: Oh absolutely. And just to be around people again.

Paula: Yeah.

Amy: And be in close contact instead of just the elbow bumping or fist bumping.

Paula: Exactly. Anyway, the band originally started, not in the Capital Region. I played with people in Eastern Massachusetts, because my, just for your information, there was this band, “Girl Howdy” and it was three women, me and two other women and then a bass and drums. And we were very, very active in Massachusetts and New England in general. And our steel player had a side project (it was a female, a Rhodes steel player), and she was playing at a bar in Worcester with a bass player and the drummer who used to play in “Girl Howdy”, and then another guy on electric guitar. And she moved to Austin, Texas where she still lives. And so, I said to the guys that were playing in Worcester, I said ‘You know. I know Rhodes is leaving, I kind of like, if you guys are gonna still do this gig and it was like, say, once a month or, I’ll do it with you.’ And do different material and so, that became “The Twangbusters”. And, and then over time, the drummer ended up moving back to Austin and everything just sort of changed from, but the original band was really a Massachusetts band. And then, we just kind of stopped playing and, and I realized, cause from Worcester, from my house to Worcester is far.

Amy: Yeah, it’s like, over two hours plus?

Paula: It’s under two hours. But when you when the gig ends at like, two in the morning, it’s tough. And so, I said, ‘I got to get, I gotta find a band that’s closer to me.’ And then I was in touch with Kevin, and he put me in touch with… we formed, we just formed a different “Twangbusters”.

Amy: That’s cool! How did you even meet Kevin?

Paula: He subbed in “Girl Howdy”. 

Amy: Okay.

Paula: We had some gigs that were, we needed some steel, and we knew Kevin, was an ace, which he is (laughs).

Amy: Kevin’s one of the best around.

Paula: He really is. But anyway, that’s how we got started and you know we really liked, we really like, me personally, and, and the band in general, kind of our thing was, we call it, and this is not an original, this is not original terminology, that honky-tonk swing. And it’s, it’s kind of like back in the 50’s, on the jukebox there was rhythm and blues, and there was honky-tonk and a lot of it. People didn’t call it one thing or the other it was just dance music.

Amy: Yeah

Paula: And so, we don’t consider ourselves a country band, per se, because we certainly don’t play modern country. But we like, mainly cause we play for swing dancers too, we just like stuff that’s got a danceable beat. And there’s just a lot of crossovers between rhythm and blues and honky-tonk, or country-swing so that’s kind of where we, hang our hats is right there.

Amy: That’s what I liked about your music. It wasn’t just to any genre, but it was more blues-based/originals/country.

Paula: Correct. And a lot of people I’m playing, especially with the folks that I’ve played with in Massachusetts, because that guitar player is a very bluesy guitar player, people were like, ‘Oh, you’re a blues band!’ And I’m like, we’re not really a blues band cause we didn’t have a steel guitar and that iteration was just the electric guitar. And of course, out here, “The Twangbusters” that have been playing for the last five years or so, is steel guitar and electric guitar. So, we’re trying to find, and we’re just trying to find those songs that are danceable. 

Amy: Exactly!

Paula: And one of the swing dances that we play in West Hartford that didn’t happen, is very big. And of course, they’re used to having like horn sections and stuff. And they, they took a real chance on us cause we were very different than the other “swing bands.” But they loved it! Like they realized how danceable it was and it was a completely different tone. A lot of people are like, ‘steel guitar! What?! That’s like country!’ And yes, but it can be more than that you know. So that’s kind of what we’re about.

Amy: That’s cool. Do you mainly, how did you become involved in piano? Was that always your go-to instrument as a kid too?

Paula: It was. And I grew up taking piano lessons and playing classical piano. And when I joined “Girl Howdy”, when “Girl Howdy” first started, the band I mentioned earlier, I played rhythm guitar. And it wasn’t until we had a rehearsal at my house, and I have a piano. I was noodling around, the other women were like, ‘Well you should be playing piano.’ And I was, ‘Oh I don’t play that kind of style’ and it’s like, ‘It sounds like you do’. And I knew it, I mean I knew the style cause I sing it and I play guitar and I know the songs and I knew how to play the piano. So, it was just putting the two together. And so, when I look for repertoire for the band, because I do play the piano, I’m always interested in bands that have piano in them. And back in the day, in the 40’s and the 50’s, a lot of bands did have piano. So, it’s that sort of juncture of boogie-woogie, and swing, and honky-tonk.

Amy: Yeah 

Paula: And yeah. So, I’ve enjoyed playing the piano. It’s very funny when my mom heard me play. She came to some concert years ago and she just looked at me and she goes, ’finally, those piano lessons are paying off.’ (laughs)

Amy: It’s like, thanks Mom.

Paula: Yeah. Exactly. Okay Mom. (laughs)

Amy: That’s funny. (laughs)

Paula: But yeah, I enjoy it a lot. I enjoy working on solos and also backing up Kevin or Peter when they play, and just, just piano has such a broad range of sound as you know cause you play it.

Amy: Oh yeah. Absolutely! And it’s nice to be able to have that broader range to be able to play from instead of sticking with a little tiny keyboard. It gives the songs a much fuller sound.

Paula: Yeah, which is why I always play an 88 key. I typically use a digital keyboard cause I can’t haul a piano around. And I always use an 88 key sound because that’s what I like. And it, it never, I wouldn’t even think about doing it any differently, but somebody saw a picture on Facebook, and I guess my right hand and my left hand were far apart. Cause I was low boogie-woogieing on the left and I was on the high keys on the right. And they said, ‘Are you playing 88 keys? Your hands are so far apart! Yes, I am!’ (laughs). Thank You for noticing! (laughs)

Amy: All these little details. It’s like they don’t get it, but we get it. (laughs) 

Paula: Exactly, exactly! So that’s fine and yeah, we have a good time. 

Amy: That’s awesome and you also play guitar and banjo too. Now how did you get involved with these instruments besides piano?

Paula: Well guitar… When I was a teenager, just like 13 or 14, I mean I really wanted a guitar and I got one and I just noodled around but I was always, even as a youngster, even though I was studying classical piano, I was listening to a lot of traditional music, and there’s a long story behind it, it had to do with the radio show, and just what I heard and so that’s when I also said, ‘Oh I’m gonna need a banjo!’ I didn’t get one (laughs), but I wanted one. And it wasn’t until I graduated from college that I got a banjo, and I took some lessons from a friend and again, played some of it on guitar. So, I won’t say it came easily, but it’s just something I really liked. I don’t play the banjo in “The Twangbusters” no. I play Appalachian music when I play the banjo, but you never know. 

Amy: You like to mix it up!

Paula: Yeah. When you haul an 88 keyboard and an amp though, you’re not really that interested in bringing other stuff. (laughs)

Amy: No! No! It’s way too many to carry out the door. (laughs)

Paula: Yeah. But I do, I do enjoy it and the music “The Twangbusters” plays are roots music. It’s American roots music, and ah, the stuff I play on the banjo is American roots music, so it’s all related. 

Amy: It’s all Americana one way or another. 

Paula: That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right.

Amy: And I think back to what Kevin and Bob and Pete, and they all play in “The Coveralls”.

Paula: Yes.

Amy: So that brings on Americana when you mix it up with a little bit of the classic country and classic rock mixed in, in between so you get to see how music is all related to one another. 

Paula: Yeah, yeah. And I find that interesting and I’m gonna tell you this for, if it isn’t for the interview, I mean, you can put it in there but if it’s not that interesting. (laughs)

Amy: It doesn’t matter.

Paula: There’s a great podcast called “Cocaine and Rhinestone”. Have you heard of it?

Amy: No.

Paula: And it’s about country music.

Amy: Huh!

Paula: It’s in its second season and Kevin’s the one that turned me on to it. The guy, it’s narrated by a guy named Tyler Mahan Coe, who’s David Allan Coe’s son, who grew up sort of hearing all these stories, and you might say Country music. I’m talking, 40’s, into the 50’s, and just interesting stories about, there’s a whole one about Bobby Gentry who sang “Ode to Bobby Joe”. There’s one about, “White Lightening”, the George Jones song.

Amy: Wow!

Paula: And there’s one about a particular producer, just like these certain topics that have to do with country music. But they all, I just find that kind of history, very interesting.

Amy: Yeah.

Paula: You know.

Amy: That’s awesome. And its stuff even now when you tie it back into the “Local Legends” and hearing more about how everybody started out in music and what type of success and stories that you’ve had leading up into your careers and it’s all interesting to learn.

Paula: Well, now of course, Kevin, his main deal for many years is that he played dobro with Robin and Linda Williams who are an Americana. They were Americana before the word Americana was a word. I mean, they were on “Prairie Companion”, and they were a duet, a husband-and-wife duet that played banjo, guitar, country, folk, or traditional music, whatever you want to call it, and so Kevin and I have a lot of overlap, in that, in our paths, because of the, because of sort of having a foot in both worlds. And yeah. And so, we know a lot of, we know a lot of stuff, so Kevin goes to Florida. He and his wife go to Florida in the winter, and I go to Florida.

Amy: Oh nice!

Paula: We’re on different coasts. But we’ve been able to get together, to play together and do a few gigs while we’re down there. And I mean, a couple duet gigs or a couple, sort of “Twangbusterish” kinds of things with some local musicians that I know and so that’s been fun.

Amy: How is the music atmosphere down in Florida compared to here?

Paula: Well, I… speaking candidly, I would say that the audiences up here are, more… plugged into, especially cause you got, like Graham Tichy, and John (Tichy), and The Hangar, and you got all this roots music that’s in the Capital Region that the audiences up here know the music like they come fully sort of knowing what they’re gonna get. And looking forward to it and in Florida, they see steel guitar and they just assume we’re a straight up-country band. And until they hear it, they don’t even know what we’re about. So, it’s just different. There’s not as much focus on, sort of retro roots, as there is in our area. And I think that’s, what makes, that’s one of the things I like about the music scene in the Capital Region, is that it’s very vibrant and there’s a lot of different genres represented. And there’s an audience for those genres.

Amy: Exactly!

Paula: And there’s venues for those genres and that’s not to be taken for granted. (laughs) 

Amy: No. And I agree. You’re down in Florida. I’ve never been there before yet but it’s more of a tourist state and there’s a lot of stuff for everybody but it’s just about finding that right niche whereas up here you got more of a variety to choose from.

Paula: Correct. Correct. And you know a lot of people. It’s fun to do the gigs in Florida and have people react positively, which they do, but… you got to search for the venues that will take a chance on having something that’s not standard tourist music, is not Jimmy Buffet, and not contemporary music, cause a lot of places, they want you to play what’s on the radio right now.

Amy: Yeah.

Paula: I don’t even know what’s on the radio right now. (laughs)

Amy: It’s a hit or miss for me to sometimes tune into popular radio to listen to it, or you’re listening to music on YouTube or Spotify or other accounts, or through Band Camp.

Paula: I do listen to Spotify and me, in fact, I was driving the other day and I was just telling somebody this that Spotify will suggest things. I don’t listen that often because honestly when I’m at home, I’m listening to music that I’m gonna learn or that I wanna learn and that I wanna… I listen to a lot of Western Swing, and you can find that on Spotify and it’s just, that’s, I have my own library (and I do). But when I’m in the car, I listen to Spotify and so it made a playlist for me, and it was all “Big Sandy”. And you know “Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys”? They’re good. And I listen to “Big Sandy”, but this was like more of his repertoire than what I was familiar with, and I was going in the car for a couple of hours, so I really got to listen to a lot!! And it’s cool! I thought it was cool that you know that it, it’s like ‘Oh we know what you like!’ (laughs)

Amy: That’s awesome! That’s cool. Now are you originally from the Berkshires? 

Paula: Oh no.

Amy: No?

Paula: No, I’m originally from West Virgina. 

Amy: Wow!

Paula: And my family moved from West Virgina. We lived in Ohio briefly, but then we moved to South New Jersey and so I really grew up here in Philadelphia and in New Jersey, but I was born in West Virgina. My parents are born in West Virgina, my grandparents were born in West Virgina. Everybody’s from West Virgina. (laughs) 

Amy: Wow! How in the world did you ever come up here?

Paula: In 1998, I was living in Ohio. I lived in Cinci, in the Cincinnati region for 17 years after I graduated from college, and I had a job. And my last employer offered me a transfer to a small facility in the Berkshires, so my husband and I moved to the Berkshires in ’98, and yeah. And so, I’ve been in the Berkshires now for over twenty years, right? Twenty-four years.

Amy: Wow!

Paula: In ’98 right, I had to do the math, 23 years. (laughs)

Amy: That’s okay. That’s okay.

Paula: 23 years. And you know I just love having the ability to play in the Capital Region, certainly when I was in “Girl Howdy”, we were based in Massachusetts, we played gigs out in Boston, down in Rhode Island, in New Hampshire, so it’s great to be in New England and have these different places you can go and “The Twangbusters” even have gone out to Rochester and to Buffalo.

Amy: That’s cool.

Paula: And played out there. In fact, our CD was recorded at Sportsman’s Tavern in Buffalo so, there’s just a lot of appreciation again for roots music, and we’re in the Northeast in general, and we’re very lucky, I mean, that’s why, but that’s why. You know that guy that’s playing with Mark Gamsjager now? And he’s the drummer for Los Straitjackets? 

Amy: Oh Chris Sprague!

Paula: Yeah, he moved out here because he’s like, there seems like there’s a pretty good scene! Right?

Amy: Yeah, exactly!

Paula: You know!

Amy: It’s insane that Chris would come out here from California just to be out in the country and play with people that he’s happy playing with instead of in California where all these big shot people are. 

Paula: I know! Like “Big Sand”, “Big Sandy’s” in California and they gotta… they have a scene out there for sure, I mean I’ve seen on Instagram, and you may see it too, yeah, I don’t know a lot about it but I’ve also been, you may be interested in this, or maybe not for the article. But I mentioned that I played in this band, “Girl Howdy”, and our steel player who moved to Austin, is a good friend of mine, and she plays, played with Wayne Hancock, who’s been at The Hangar, and I’ve seen him there with her. But she had been, has been nominated for this Ameripolitican award, which is something that Dale Watson and Celene kind of run, so the last three years, (of course not this past year), I’ve been to Memphis and then Austin, they were in Austin and then they moved it to Memphis to go to the Ameripolitican awards and Mark Gamsjager won and I was there when he won, when “The Lustre Kings” won for Rockabilly band, right?

Amy: That’s awesome!

Paula: So, it’s fun to go to things and sort of see the different pockets of people from all over the country that are playing those roots styles.

Amy: That’s awesome. Have you been inspired by other rockabilly performers locally and nationally for music?

Paula: Oh definitely! Well, I mentioned “Big Sandy”. They, “Big Sandy” had a piano player for a while, who’s formed like the best, Carl Sunny Laylon is his name, and he’s a big inspiration to me, just as a piano player. His knowledge and his abilities off the charts. And so, the whole “Big Sandy” sound is very inspiring, Wayne Hancock’s very inspiring, Johnny Rabb is inspiring. I got to play one gig I sat, I got, I filled in for a gig with Johnny Rabb a couple years ago and it was such a thrill to play and be on stage with Graham and him and the whole band.

Amy: And Pete and everybody.

Paula: Yeah, yeah.

Amy: Pete Vumbaco, yeah. That’s such a fun gig with all those guys.

Paula: Yeah.

Amy: Cause they mix it up a lot with the oldies and the Classic Country and Johnny can play anything!

Paula: Yeah, he can. And so, yeah! I mean, it’s again, it’s just great that everybody kind of, supports each other, and cheers each other on and yeah. I like that a lot.

Amy: That’s what’s special about it. It’s not competition. Everybody’s there to really support one another.

Paula: Right. Right. And I don’t know who I listened to, there’s a band out of Sweeden that I’ve seen at the Ameripolitican awards called “The Countryside of Harmonica Sam” and they are a very, very vintage country band with suits and I, I love them (laughs). I love everything they do. I just think they’re phenomenal. 

Amy: Right, it’s a fancier version of Dwight Yoakam with all his outfits and get up and sound.

Paula: And in fact, “Big Sandy”, who I’ve mentioned a couple times, they’re opening for Dwight Yoakam.

Amy: Ah lucky!

Paula: And they have some gig in August and there, they get to open for him, so they’re pretty pumped up about it.

Amy: That’s awesome.

Paula: So yeah.

Amy: Yeah, Dwight Yoakam is an awesome performer.

Paula: He’s amazing. I’ve never seen him, ah, live. I’ve just seen him on a recording or on TV.

Amy: Recording and TV, and I saw him once at the Palace a couple years back.

Paula: Oh really?!

Amy: He was good live. The only thing that stunk was that they raised his volume up too high for their set but either than that, he played all his classic hits and did his own thing dancing and getting the crowd worked up.

Paula: Oh wow, wow. Yeah, I don’t like when music is too loud. I will say, I know it makes me sound like an oldster, which of course I am not let the record show, but I don’t want to be, I don’t want to be assaulted. You know, I wanna nice, clean, listenable mix. And if I must put earplugs in to attend a concert, it’s too loud! (laughs) 

Amy: Exactly, exactly! You’re only killing our ears much more.

Paula: And I’ve been in live venues, not so much in the Capital Region, but in Florida, where they just, it’s too loud.

Amy: Yeah. It’s not like you’re at a club. Are there any other venues that you would like to perform at in the future?

Paula: Oh gosh! There’s probably, no venue I wouldn’t want to perform at after this, there’s no other way to say it. I mean, I would like, there’s been a couple of outdoor concert series that have approached us, pre-COVID, that we didn’t get to play, and I hope, going forward, as those things come back, that we do get to play them. You know I won’t mention any specific towns, but we love doing outdoor concerts.

Amy: That’s cool.

Paula: And we love playing the Racetrack. Unfortunately, we’re only slated to play once at the track this year. We had some other offers, but the dates just didn’t work. 

Amy: Ah, that’s a bummer.

Paula: It’s always hard when you got five people and there’s multiple projects and you all live in different places, and you try and make y’all work as best as you can but takes a lot of planning. 

Amy: Oh absolutely. That’s what I was gonna ask you too because everybody has their own freelance jobs or multiple projects so how do you put the work balance in with everybody’s schedules to fit the gigs in?

Paula: Well, we’re lucky that most of us are retired or we don’t have day jobs cause that would definitely make it even more difficult but we just try and work around everybody’s schedule and like I was saying we got lucky this summer that our gigs fell into this sort of one-window of time. And even we’re playing…

Amy: That’s what I was gonna ask you. Do you have any other side projects that you do besides when you and Kevin play in Florida?

Paula: Well yes, I mean, my main side, for years, I had a duet with my husband, you know my husband passed away?

Amy: Right.

Paula: And it was both of us and it was called “Moonshine Holler”. And so that’s the Appalachian side of what I do. And I’ve been, having “Moonshine Holler’ continue after he has passed away cause I have found a couple of fiddlers that live near me and I do some gigs with them.

Amy: Oh good!

Paula: So yeah.

Amy: That’s nice that you’re still able to keep his music alive with you.

Paula: I’m trying. (laughs)

Amy: Yeah.

Paula: I’m trying. It’s tough.

Amy: Yeah.

Paula: But it’s been working out so far.

Amy: That’s good.

Paula: Yeah.

Amy: That’s a good thing that it’s working out and it’s tough to be able to have that big of a loss. 

Paula: Yeah, yeah. But yes, and I was very fortunate that we made as much music as we did together. It was a lot easier to book when you’re married to somebody and you’re getting into like, ‘Guess where you’re going tomorrow?’ (laughs)

Amy: You’re coming with me!

Paula: Yeah exactly! ‘You’re gonna be doing this, this, and this’ and now it’s not like that. It’s like I gotta check somebody’s schedule. So, what else can I tell you?

Amy: Ah! Like what? I was gonna say cause you also like Modern, you also like some Modern music like when we were talking about “Maroon 5”.

Paula: Well, I just know who they are. I don’t really, I do have to say I don’t listen to them.

Amy: Okay.

Paula: I don’t care. I’d be hard pressed to name anybody modern that I’ve, that I listen to.

Amy: Right. Yeah.

Paula: I mean, to me, the 80’s are Modern. So, you know. (laughs)

Amy: Understandable.

Paula: And I remember somebody once said to me, and this is in all seriousness, they said, ‘Oh Paula you’re so retro!’ And I was like, ‘Retro?! I’m not retro!’ And because to me, I’m just listening to good music. You know I don’t think of it as retro. I mean I know I kind of said that because I do listen to stuff from the 40’s and 50’s but it’s just like, ‘That’s not retro.’ But to people that listen to current music, it’s retro! (laughs)

Amy: Yep, that makes sense because you’re going back a whole different period.

Paula: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I like dance music, so I also listen to a lot of rhythm and blues, a lot of, when I say rhythm and blues, I’m talking soul music. 

Amy: Yeah.

Paula: Yeah. And because, I just, that’s what I relate to

Amy: Yeah, that’s awesome. And they all go into one, even you were saying with Retro you do think of the 80’s and 90’s being Pop music so that’s more Retro to my generation of music. (laughs)

Paula: Exactly! And I think of it because I’ve listened to it when I was in college. To me it’s contemporary. And then I realize, ‘Oh right, nobody really listens to this anymore. Or this is the equivalent of sort of our parents listening to oldies’. 80’s music is now oldies music. You know it’s hard for me to think of “Talking Heads” is being oldies.

Amy: Yeah. Exactly

Paula: It’s gonna be interesting when my generation enters the nursing home age. If there’s people coming out to play for us and they’re like, ‘Okay, I’m gonna play this Ramones song for you now. Now I’m gonna play this “Talking Heads” song and everybody’s gonna be singing along, you know, 20, 24 hours a day I’m gonna be Sedated like, like they do any of this?’ It’s just like, I can’t even think about it. (laughs)

Amy: That’s a scary sight.

Paula: Yes (laughs) it will happen to you too though.

Amy: Oh boy. (laughs)

Paula: “Maroon 5” will be oldies at some point. I’m just telling ya. They’re on their way.

Amy: That’s true. Now that you got all these new bands and stuff coming in. You get to appreciate the older music and how everything is written back then. It was about innocence and love and happier thoughts.

Paula: Yeah, how about that? Well, you know, I think we’re all easing back into things after Covid.

Amy: Yeah.

Paula: We’re easing back into going to hear music and we’re easing back into connecting.

Amy: Yeah.

Paula: So, I kinda felt like, ‘You know I haven’t seen anybody in a year!’ Right? I mean, I’ve seen Kevin, the band had one, well we had played last summer. We had a couple of gigs last summer that went forward.

Amy: Oh good!

Paula: Just a couple outdoor gigs. And the setup was such that, we were obviously, nobody had been vaccinated, but we were outside, and we were far apart, and I do most of the singing so it’s not like we were all like crowding around. And so, we felt very fortunate that we did get to play a little bit last summer. 

Amy: Yeah.

Paula: You know.

Amy: And it’s great to be able to see more local towns opening with the concert series and bring in some type of normalcy back into our lives.

Paula: Yes, yes. So, we are really looking forward to that. We’re really looking forward to getting out and playing, and seeing people, and yeah! Moving it forward!

Amy: Exactly!

Paula: You are right it’s nice to get to visit in these post-Covid times.

Amy: Exactly! Now is anything happening in the Berkshires for live music?

Paula: Yes! I mean not for “The Twangbusters”, but Tanglewood is happening. They have an abbreviated shorter season this year, they had a popular music series which they’ve ended, and which I had tickets to see this is, (you know, again, not part of the interview), but I had tickets to see, they were supposed to happen last year then it was postponed till this year, and then some, and I didn’t buy tickets last year cause I had a conflict and then everything got cancelled. The conflict, the concert, everything it didn’t matter right?

Amy: Exactly!

Paula: And then they pushed it to this year and it’s “The Mavericks” and “Los Lobos”.

Amy: Oh!

Paula: So, when it looked like you could go online and buy tickets for the show in February, I went online, and I bought tickets thinking that this probably’ s gonna happen but guess what?! It’s pushed to next year!

Amy: Oh!

Paula: But Tanglewood is opening for the Classical stuff but their popular music series of which that was one of their concerts, no.

Amy: Wow!

Paula: And then there is a small concert series, which I’m playing on the 25th of June with “Moonshine Holler” at a place called Dewey Hall, which is where “The Twangbusters” would normally do swing dances when they’re inside but they’re having outdoor concerts so that’s happening, and some restaurants are having music outside.

Amy: Good, where about’ s is Dewey Hall? Is that in Pittsfield?

Paula: It’s in Sheffield.

Amy: Okay.

Paula: No, it’s south of Great Barrington towards the CT boarder.

Amy: Okay.

Paula: It’s a very lovely space; outdoor space and indoor space. The swing dances there have been a lot of fun. It’s just that they’re not happening.

Amy: Awe.

Paula: So yeah.

Amy: That’s a bummer. Cause I was wondering what was going to go on with the Berkshires and Mass MoCA is going to have some events again.

Paula: Yeah, do you go over there at all?

Amy: No, not in a while. I was there a couple years ago to check out Annie Lennox’s exhibit.

Paula: How was it?

Amy: That was cool.

Paula: Was it good?

Amy: That was really good cause she had a huge display of her albums that were hanging up in one part of her display. And the other one she had these large mounds of dirt with all these memorabilia from her childhood into adulthood. And it circled around with her musical career. She had a giant grand piano that was on top of this dirt mound that you could see. It was just surreal to be able to see all these music mementos that were embedded in these mounds of dirt that represented certain parts of her life and her career. Is there anything else to include in the interview that you could think of?

Paula: No, I would just talk about, that we like, that we generally play upbeat, happy music?

Amy: Yeah.

Paula: And I mean, it’s about people having fun cause we’re having fun. I mean occasionally, we throw a ballad in there but for the most part, it’s upbeat dancing. I think that’s what we like to do, and we like to wail on our instruments. (laughs)

Amy: Exactly. It’s a fun way to explain it. Just let loose and have fun.

Paula: Well as you can imagine, not having played for a year we can’t wait to play.

Amy: Exactly! 

Paula: We can’t wait to play.

Amy: Exactly. Everyone’s itching just to get out now a day so it’s just good just to be able to play and get your work out there as much as you can.

Paula: Yes, yes, yes.

Where can you see Paula Bradley & “The Twangbusters” next?

7/27/2021: Stony Creek, NY Music in the Park Concert Series, 7:00 p.m.

7/29/2021: Fair Haven, VT Outdoor Concert Series, 7:00 p.m.

7/31/2021: Albany, NY House Concert, 4:00 p.m.

8/1/2021: Dover, VT Summer Concerts in The Park, 2:00 p.m.

8/2/2021: Local Legends Show @ Eden Café, Loudonville, NY, 4:30 p.m.

8/5/2021: “The Twangbuster2” @ Johnstown Mid-Summer Concert Series, 7:00 p.m.

8/10/2021: Music on Main Street! Canojaharie, NY, 7:00 p.m. 

  • Paula Bradley & “The Twangbusters” features Paula Bradley (piano/vocals), Kevin Maul (steel guitar/vocals), Peter Bearup (guitar/vocals), Bob Resnick (drums), and Jay Bird Gorleski (upright bass). 






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