Paul Espinoza
Singer, songwriter, poet, arranger, producer.
(Songs)     (Stories)     (Lessons)     (Contact Paul)

I have been creating in the arts, either writing stories, songs or poems, since my early childhood. Musically influenced at a very young age
by such artists as Hank Williams & Woody Guthrie, I had a natural tendency towards the folk music of the United States.
(see 40 American Folk Songs)

 The Fylde Folk Festival, England (1986) - Photo by Roger Liptrot

 I was first introduced to many of these songs by my mother, who sang them as she worked. She had made the journey to California from Oklahoma as a teenage girl.

Since my folks could not afford a piano, I opted for accordion
as my first instrument, which I began playing at the age of nine. As an early teen I took up the guitar (after all, The Beatles did not have an accordion player!) and began writing my own songs, a natural extension of my interest in prose and poetry.  Songwriting was to become a main stay of my artistic endeavors.  I later took up the harmonica and mandolin.

   Photo by Irene Young

  I was soon playing at local coffee-houses with my musical compadre, Jim Hinton.  At 16 years old we found these smoke-filled rooms to be havens of folk music and we were heavily influenced by the traveling folk artists that frequented such establishment as The Candy Company, The Heritage, The Bifrost Bridge and The Back Door.  Performing in these coffee-houses, at local folk festivals or in concert, such artists as Arlo Guthrie, Taj Mahal, Donovan, Big Momma Thornton, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee and The Youngbloods had a dramatic impact on me in those early years. Jim and I went on to perform with another friend, Big Jim Petty, as a trio (Everyman). One reel of 1/4 inch tape exits of a live concert in Yuma, Arizona from those days. Perhaps it will one day make its way to CD!

  Of course my biggest (and a longest lasting) influence, not only musically, but in other areas of the arts, was the four lads from Liverpool.  Seeing The Beatles for the first time on the Ed Sullivan Show was enough to make me decide I would take up the guitar and give music a real go.  And once I discovered Dylan, I knew I would be a singer-songwriter and make music my life.  It was a quote from Donovan that made me curious about a group from Scotland called The Incredible String Band.  Even though The Incredible String Band's music was mostly original, it was heavily influenced by Celtic music and that awakened my interest in the genre.  From their influence, I went on to dig deeper into Celtic music and when I met Margie, I turned my attention more fully to the music of Ireland and Scotland.

  A few years stint in a rock band (Pegasus) in the mid-seventies didn't totally cure me of the desire to go electric, but it was enough to satisfy my rock & roll soul and soon I found myself performing again with my acoustic guitar, this time as a soloist. Even though Margie and I had first met in 1971, we didn't start playing together until 1976. After a few years of performing together in The San Francisco Bay Area as a quartet (The Everyman Gypsy Band) with my early musical companion Jim and my sister Theresa, Margie and I became a duo and settled in San Francisco, where we formed Golden Bough in 1980.

Songs: I have been writing songs since I was about 15; as soon as I could play a couple of chords on the guitar.  After learning a few Beatle songs, I immediately tried my hand at songwriting.  I have never regretted picking  up the guitar and dedicating myself to the world of music and  songwriting! Click here for a list of songs and to go to the complete lyrics.

Lessons: Beginning and intermediate lessons on guitar and mandolin or octave-mandolin, and beginning lessons on accordion are now available.  I teach out of my home in Pacifica, CA. Contact me for fees, details and to work out a schedule.

Stories: I still like to write stories and poetry, most of which never see the light of day.  I intend to use this section to feature writings of varying natures, as well including lyrics to songs.  The first offering here is a story from my glory days as a little league ballplayer, which should come as no surprise to those who know me well - baseball is one of my passions!  The second offering is from the summer of 1969, when I went to Maui to work on a pineapple plantation.                                                                                                  - Paul, February, 2003

The Catch (no, not Montana to Clark)
The Papaya Tree (a summer adventure on the island of Maui)

Work (still) in progress: Valdemar, music to accompany the writings of fantasy author, Mercedes Lackey. This album will be all original songs based on characters and events of the kingdom of Valdemar. Release date TBA.

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1997 - 2010
by Golden Bough