Paul Weber is a Canadian singer, songwriter, and guitarist who has performed across Canada in various incarnations. Paul is currently working on a solo project writing, performing and recording songs about Ottawa, where he has lived most of his adult life. The songs, performed on the acoustic guitar, combine a range of styles, from folk, to jazz, to Latin, to African with many other influences in between.
Paul learned to play guitar at 13 and started his career as a musician playing guitar with a polka band, performing at many Ukrainian community centres and Legion Halls, cutting his musical teeth on Lawrence Welk, Frank Sinatra and Perry Como. Through most of high school Paul pursued music with a vengeance, occasionally attending classes. At 18 he sang in front of an audience for the first time at the Embarcadero YMCA in San Francisco, while searching for his hippy roots (still looking). Early in his musical journey Paul spent some time in Senegal, West Africa where he developed a life-long passion for African music. A later stint in Brazil rounded out his world music influences leading him to form Cheza (1992 – 2012), and later, with Loic Martin, forming the Main Street Market Band (2014- 2018).
Paul has been influenced by a wide range of artists including: Stompin’ Tom, Johnny Clegg, Neil Young, the Ramones, Harmonium, Milton Nasciemento, K’naan, and Bruce Cockburn. As the leader of various bands, he has performed on, produced and released several recordings, including Cheza (1995), Shaker (1999), and On Your Radio (2015).
Paul has opened for Jane Sibery, shared a stage with Johnny Clegg drummer Derek Debeer and CBC’s Stuart McLean. With his band Cheza he performed at venues such as the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Winnipeg Folk Festival, the Dawson City Music Festival and Toronto’s Harbour Front. Cheza also closed the Ottawa Folk Festival three times. He once did a show in Brazil where he was the warm up act for a drag queen show, a feat he has yet to repeat!
In his current incarnation Paul is writing songs about Ottawa that range from gripping stories about local history (Three Years on the Rideau Canal), to modern day tales of bikers and bouncers (Gerry Barber), street people (Christmas on Murray Street), construction workers, and surviving a local winter (The Ottawa Samba).
The decision to write about Ottawa came about from his love of local history and folklore, his love for storytelling and a strong belief that we need to tell our own stories, not just import them from abroad. Story telling, humour and passion are what his live performances are about. In fact, sometime he just won't shut the heck up (he's got a song about that too!).
Paul is now focused on writing songs and building a local audience. If you’d like to catch one of his shows send him an email and he'll add you to his update list. Expect a recording in 2019.
If you're interested in attending a show and want to be notified, either "like" me on Facebook or send me an email and I'll send you an invite—simple as that.
- January 26, Opening act for From Away house concert
- $15 in advance, or $18 at the door.
Ticket sales here.
- February 23, House concert (details to come)
- May 28, Live on Elgin (details to come)
More shows to come!
- December 8, Christmas House concert with Slo Tom
- October 20 - Moose McGuire's, Tune's Afternoon
- October 20 - Pressed
- September 27 — United Way Fundraiser
- September 22 — Benefit performance - Heartwood House, ALSO Adult and Family Literacy
- September 22 — Main Street Farmers Market
- August 6 — Colonel By Day, Bytowne Museum
- May 22 — House Concert
“Living in Lanark County..drive by the Burnt Lands every day. I was so moved by this great song of Paul Weber's (The Great Fire of 1870) . It is right up there with Lightfoot's Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, or Stan Rogers' Mary Ellen Carter..bravo ! Truly a great work.”
- Jim Mountain, CKCU Listener
Local History Gets Musical with Paul Weber's Ottawa Song Project - Ottawa Life - Andre Gagne, January 16, 2018
"With that stronger want to tell stories through his lyrics in mind, he’s embarked on what he’s called The Ottawa Song Project. While many musicians may want to chase their dreams in other pastures, Weber has been content digging in his roots where he was first planted. Ottawa, he has discovered, has many tales to tell. "
Songs in the Key of "O": Musician Paul Weber finds in Muse in Local History - Ottawa Citizen - Bruce Deachman, June 29, 2018
“I wrote this song about Gerry Barber, this bouncer at the Chaudière Club in the ’70s and ’80s, and the reaction was overwhelming. The stories I heard from people and the emails I was getting — from people in the Northwest Territories, even — and people sharing the video everywhere. And I started noticing that it was being shared by people with the last name of Barber, and it turned out they were all Barber family members — descendants or siblings of Gerry Barber, and I’ve had several conversations with his son, his daughter, other cousins, grandkids. That meant a lot to me, to get that kind of reaction. It was really touching."
The Heron Road Bridge Song - This is a song about the Heron Road Bridge collapse of 1966. It is based on the accounts of those who survived what was the largest workplace accident in Ottawa’s history.
The Streets of Montreal - This song is a travelogue tribute to Leonard Cohen, following him through the streets of Montreal; his haunts, his songs, his history. The music was written by Silvio Modolo, lyrics by myself.
Christmas on Murray Street - This song is about those who slip through the cracks of life and end up down on Murray Street, in Ottawa's Market. This video is dedicated to the people who work at the Shepherd's of Good Hope homeless shelter. The video was recorded live at the Saint Brigid's Centre For The Arts in Ottawa and filmed by Chad Kirvan (www.kirvanphotography.com)
Ode to Gerry Barber - This video is an ode to the famous bouncer Gerry Barber, who ruled the door at the Chaudiere Club (the "Chaud"), in Aylmer, Quebec, for many years. The video was recorded live at the Saint Brigid's Centre For The Arts in Ottawa and filmed by Chad Kirvan (www.kirvanphotography.com)
For more videos, check out my YouTube Channel.