Gary grew up in the slums of Brownsville, Brooklyn, NY, poor, but surrounded by music, theater & poetry. Piano studies at age 5 taught him a love for melody. Summers on his grandparent's farm taught him to love bucolic settings & bluegrass, but it was around Boy Scout council fires that he grew to love storytelling.
Known for his acoustic work, Gary played rock guitar in his teens while studying acting at NYC's High School of Performing Arts. It was drama by day & music by night at the Peppermint Lounge, the Purple Onion, the Cheetah & other NY hot spots. After high school, he continued on two tracks, acting Off-Off Broadway while playing the Greenwich Village folk scene, appearing at The Bitter End, The Village Gaslight, Folk City & elsewhere. On the side, he studied photography with veteran photographer Osbert Charles.
But to make ends meet, Gary Paul played fender bass on club dates, learning the American songbook, & becoming familiar with authentic Latin music. He studied with famed Latin bassist, Victor Venegas, while also studying ragtime guitar and banjo with Jack Baker. As a bassist, he played with Bill Jeffcott & the Swamprockers, The New York Frets (bluegrass), Satie (a Brazilo-Cuban fusion band), The North American Udu Band (world music), Shotgun Wedding (country) and Joined @ The Head (classic rock), all while working by day with the developmentally disabled, completing a B.A. in Psychology, a Masters in Public Administration and a Masters degree in Computer Science.
In 2002 he began playing original songs at small clubs & open mikes. By 2003, he was playing coffeehouses & Folk Festivals throughout the Northeast, appearing on cable TV and internet radio shows. Then came the 2006 Xtreme Folk Scene Song Contest win & a triumphant appearance at XFest.? His debut CD, “Sid’s Gaseteria,” was released in 2007 on the Big Moose Music label (available through cdbaby.com). Most recently he studied lap slide with Pat Wictor.
Now a resident of Santa Fe, New Mexico Gary Paul performs throughout the Southwest, returning at intervals to his Northeast/Mid-Atlantic stomping grounds. He is a member of the Southwest Regional Folk Alliance (SWRFA) and Folk Alliance Region West (chapters of Folk Alliance International) & a founding member of the SWRFA New Mexico subcommittee. Most recently, he appeared as a featured showcase artist at SWRFA-Colorado. He is currently in preproduction for his Sophomore CD to be released on the Big Moose Music label.
Gary Paul Hermus - Guitar and vocals
Joined occasionally by friends on guitar, bass & percussion
- Debut release: "Sid's Gaseteria." on Big Moose Music
- "Artists From Our Freshman Year:
Winona Folk Acoustic Music Concerts"
- featuring Gary Paul Hermus Performing,
"Eagle Rock, September 12"
The Winds of Oklahoma
Santa Fe trail (Kit Carson's Last Ride
The Man in the Black Chapeau
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On his latest album release titled, SID's GASTERIA, Gary Paul Hermus has waved the smelling salts ...On his latest album release titled, SID's GASTERIA, Gary Paul Hermus has waved the
smelling salts underneath his acoustic guitar's nose and opened up a clear path to the
heart of folk music. The Brooklyn-born musician has spent the past five decades honing
his gift of music and it is evident when you hear his songs.
"Johnnie B" is a pretty cool tune where Gary reminisces about the yesteryears when this
classic service station, Sid's Gasteria, was in business and the place was more than just
a gas station. You can hear Gary's sincerity and the fact that he truly misses the "good
ole days" that make up the body of the song's overall message. The music and vocals
are pretty good and I almost felt a personal connection to Sid's Gasteria. Great song!
In addition to Johnnie B, SID's GASTERIA offers up more great folk tunes, including: Jose
Tejas, Miles From Canaan, El Dorado. Each song has a unique identity and showcases
Gary's musical prowess.
Gary Paul Hermus is a talented musician with a good EP that I'd recommend checking out
if you're looking for good folk music.
MUSICAL GOAL: "I want to Bring colorful characters and solid stories to audiences,
within well-crafted lyrics, and beautiful music. I'm primarily a storyteller at heart. When
people are engaged in the story of the song, it's like telling a good yarn around a camp
fire. I love it when people want to read the lyrics as much as when they want to listen to
the music." - Gary Paul Hermus
Review by: Senseitional
Gary Paul Hermus - Sid'sGaseteria
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Gary Paul Hermus is a storyteller, the truest definition of a folk singer. Whether it's telling the ...Gary Paul Hermus is a storyteller, the truest definition of a folk singer. Whether it's telling the tale of a sentinel at Fort Nonsense during the Revolutionary War ("The Hills of Morristown"), the very touching reminiscence about Sid's Gaseteria upon it's closing, and Johnny B. who not just worked there, but seemed to be the coolest chap in town ("Johnny B."), or the downright fun of his brother dragging him out for a night of drinking and the bar fight that ensues ("Take Me Out and Get Me Loaded"), each song is a short story of it's own. "Sid's Gaseteria" is one of those rare albums that has that timeless quality, like it could have come out a long time ago, or today, and sound current either way.
The Singing Storyteller; An Island folk artist is working on keeping the genre alive in New York City
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By: Barbara Russo Gary Paul Hermus, a singer/songwriter from Staten Island, is trying to save the f...By: Barbara Russo
Gary Paul Hermus, a singer/songwriter from Staten Island, is trying to save the folk music scene in the New York City area. By playing in coffeehouses, bars and with nonprofit organizations in churches, Hermus is a local artist working on keeping folk alive.
The contemporary folk musician who currently resides in Morristown, NJ, describes his music as anything but "poppy." According to Hermus, part of the reason various musical genres are dying, including country/folk stylings, is that there are too many talented musicians crossing over into the pop scene.
"People like John Mayer and Dave Matthews are an inspiration for a lot of young contemporary folksingers, yet they really crossed over into more of the pop charts," Hermus explained.
By singing folk music in New York City, Hermus is already a rare breed, but on top of that, his style is rather unique.
"I think of myself as a singing storyteller, which is a little less common these days. A lot of what one hears in the genre is involved in self exploration," Hermus explained. "I do some of that, but tend to develop more of my songs about other characters; even when I'm singing in first person, it's often from another's perspective, like writing a short story or a play. And in many of the songs that are about occurrences in my life, it's often more like recounting a story about a particularly eventful experience in your life to a friend."
Hermus, who will be playing at the Muddy Cup on January 28, admits that the country/folk scene is barely hanging on in the New York City area."There are still clubs around, but it's a far cry from what it was. At one time, Stapleton was a real hotbed of all kinds of exciting music. Even New Dorp had places where you could listen to what was then called fusion jazz," Hermus explained.
He also feels that only about a decade or so ago, people were much more willing to listen to a variety of music, rather than just sticking to that one style that identified a specific geographic area.
"People's ears were a lot more open to music from all kinds of sources at that point. They may have had a favorite genre, but seemed to appreciate hearing different musical perspectives. People seem to be a lot more locked into a genre supporting it in opposition to other music styles as if they were rooting for the home football team or something," Hermus elaborated.
Despite this bad news, Hermus believes that there's still hope for the folk music scene on Staten Island, In fact, he believes the outer boroughs have better oppportunities for folk artists than Manhattan does. "Coffeehouses and a lot of not-for-profit operations that happen in churches and colleges provide some hope for folk artists," Hermus explained.
He added, "While the clubs in Manhattan have to worry about filling seats, so that if you're not hot and don't have a large following of friends and such to fill the place, you aren't getting to play anything more than an open mike, the places in the outer boroughs still offer lesser known people a place to display their work."
And Hermus should know what's going on in venues all over the city. For several decades now, he's been playing in a variety of places throughout the city, as well as Staten Island and New Jersey, including the C-Note Lounge, the Indigo Coffeehouse and Rutgers Univeristy's Red Lion Lounge.
In addition to his extensive musical resume, there are many projects in the works for Hermus, including a new CD and many live appearances.
"I've begun production on my first CD and I'm very excited about it. When it's done, I hope to have it available on the Island at places like the Perking Latte and Mandolin Brothers, as well as on line," Hermus said.
If your interest has been piqued so far, head out to see Gary Paul Hermus at the Muddy Cup at 388 Van Duzer St. on Friday, Jan.28. He'll be performing live from 8 p.m.-11 p.m.
For more information about Gary Paul Hermus, his upcoming appearances or to sample the music, log on to his Web site at www.garypaulhermus.com.
No plugs, amps for singer Hermus
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By Robert Hicks, Special to the Daily Record Singer-songwriter Gary Paul Hermus of Morris Townshi...By Robert Hicks, Special to the Daily Record
Singer-songwriter Gary Paul Hermus of Morris Township has followed many paths in his lengthy music career, but he now feels acoustic folk music is the best way to express his musical identity.
Jack of all trades is an apt description for Hermus, who journeyed through bluegrass, Latin jazz and country music before finding his voice as a songwriter and performer of traditional and contemporary folk music. The Brooklyn native, who holds down a day job as a computer systems coordinator in Staten Island, left music while pursuing two master's degrees, one in public administration, the other in computer science, for nearly two decades. Two years ago, he found his way back to songwriting.
Dec. 4 he's performing solo on acoustic guitar at Rockingham Coffee Lounge in Boonton in anticipation of his forthcoming, debut full-length CD, "Sid's Gaseteria."
Hermus, 54, and his wife moved to Morris Township to escape rising property taxes in Maplewood more than a year ago. He enjoys the intimacy and down-home feeling of small clubs and coffee houses in the region where he can tell the personal stories behind his songs.
Gary Paul Hermus has written and performed in many musical styles, but now believes he can express himself best with acoustic folk music.
"We're tax refugees," he said. "At the time, we thought it was a terrible thing, but we found a lovely house in Morris Township. It's the law of Buddhism. There's no good thing or bad thing, or least you can't tell until it's happening. We've lived out here for a year and a half and it turned out to be the nicest thing that could have happened to us."
He has written more than 30 new songs and has spent the past two years honing them through live performances throughout the Northeast. Good crowd reception has encouraged him to record an album of songs at his home studio. He plans to employ guest guitarist Tony D'Ambrosia from Middletown, N.Y., for the project.
Hermus plays in a fingerpicking style and sings in a sweet-toned voice in melodious, personal songs that reflect his upbringing in Brooklyn, summers spent at square dances at his grandparent's house in Vega, N.Y., and his current experiences in New Jersey.
"I really look at the personal aspect of the tale of the human condition," he said.
Hermus likens his songwriting to portraying a character in a play or a movie. In that sense, he feels his songs are cinematic, poetic and dramatic in their storytelling.
One new song examines the life of a computer programmer whose job has been outsourced to India. The song's narrator looks at his own unemployment from the perspective of his father who had to find work during the Rust Bowl years.
Another song relates his efforts to help his younger brother out of a difficult dilemma. The story humorously focuses on the burden of being an older sibling and always having to be responsible for other's actions.
His song, "Sid's Gaseteria," taps into his teen experiences in Canarsie where he knew friends who worked on "muscle" cars and became local heroes.
"That's really what I like to look at. The human side of it," he said of his songwriting. "That's far more interesting and fulfilling than proselytizing or preaching. It's something that the audience knows in its hearts. They've lived this stuff."
Sets are exclusively original material and can be tailored for lengths from 15 minutes to an hour. While typically performing 2 40-minute sets, can do three 45- minute sets