Paul Sanchez
Gig Seeker Pro

Paul Sanchez


Band Americana Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Happy Trails"


He left the success of Cowboy Mouth behind, but Paul Sanchez isn't exactly ready to ride off into the sunset just yet

Friday, December 22, 2006By Keith Spera

Music writer

As the Canal Street ferry churned across the Mississippi on a recent afternoon, Paul Sanchez and jazz singer John Boutte stood at the rail, watching St. Louis Cathedral recede.

Boutte, a committed French Quarter-ite, relished the Algiers-bound perspective. "Sometimes it's good," he said, "to see things from the other side."

Sanchez smiled. "That's what I'm doing. But I'm taking it to the extreme."

In November, Sanchez left Cowboy Mouth, his primary musical outlet for 16 years. He and his wife, Shelly, still have no permanent home, after Hurricane Katrina's breached levees poured 9 feet of water into their Gentilly house. It has since been razed.

And so, at 47, Sanchez finds himself looking at life from the other side.

"We were so indecisive after Katrina," he said. "It got worse and worse. At first we couldn't decide where to live. Then we couldn't decide where to go on vacation. Then we couldn't even decide where to eat.

"Literally, the first decision I made since my house got flooded was to leave Cowboy Mouth."

Even as he barnstormed through 3,000-plus Mouth shows, he nurtured a side career as a singer-songwriter. With an acoustic guitar, he sketched sly, intimate scenes, alternately bittersweet, humorous and tender.

That is now his primary occupation. His new, seventh solo CD, "Between Friends," features guest vocalists -- including Boutte, Susan Cowsill, Theresa Andersson, Darius Rucker of Hootie & the Blowfish, and Kevin Griffin of Better Than Ezra -- interpreting his songs.

Additionally, a new, double DVD, "A Monday Night Between Friends," documents a 43-song acoustic show in Chicago; Sanchez is joined by Boutte and former Mouth bandmates John Thomas "Griff" Griffith and Sonia Tetlow. In January, he plans to release "Washed Away," a compilation drawn from his first six solo CDs.

He'll take the night off when Cowboy Mouth headlines the House of Blues on Wednesday, with Cold alumnus Vance DeGeneres occupying Sanchez's old spot onstage.

But on Monday, Christmas Night, he'll co-headline Carrollton Station with former Deadeye Dick bassist Mark Miller. He's also booked at d.b.a. on Jan. 4.

Beyond that, "we're going to go a little slower, let the roux thicken, and see if we can't have a tastier gravy as a result," Sanchez said. "I'm doing it the New Orleans way. Whether it's singing, eating, drinking, . . . people in New Orleans take their time, because life is to be savored."

Days after quitting Cowboy Mouth, Sanchez and his wife left for a previously scheduled three-week vacation in Belize. They fell in love with the country and rented an apartment in San Pedro, a beach town on the island of Ambergris Caye.

Sanchez plans to spend the next few months strumming in beachside bars, returning to the United States for short tours.

"There's probably no musician I have more respect for than John Boutte. He sings in small rooms, but he sings all over the world and makes his living at it. He sings with a mastery that few singers ever achieve. That's a great life to aspire to. That's a New Orleans musician.

"So there won't be a tour bus or posters any more. I know what I gave up. It was 16 years of my life -- blood, sweat, tears, laughter, joy and pain. (Drummer) Fred (LeBlanc), Griff and I built that band together. It was a great ride, and it's still going to be for them. But I think I gave it up for the right reasons."

LeBlanc was a newly minted Jesuit High School graduate when he and Sanchez first joined forces as the Backbeats. Following that band's demise, LeBlanc rode the rocketship that was Dash Rip Rock while Sanchez worked the New York coffeehouse circuit.

In 1990, LeBlanc recruited Sanchez for a new campaign dubbed Cowboy Mouth. With Griffith and a revolving cast of bassists, they forged a visceral, celebratory, rock 'n' roll experience.

"We weren't the most musical band, and 'nuance' didn't exist in our lexicon," Sanchez said. "But Fred gives a thousand percent. Not a hundred percent -- a thousand percent. To be onstage with him, you have to give 100 percent. You're drawn into that energy. And that's why the audience is there."

They logged 200-plus nights on the road annually, surviving multiple breakups with managers and record labels to build a dedicated national following.

During a manager search in the late 1990s, they hired Jon Birge, a Tulane graduate and former CBS Records exec. Subsequently, Sanchez said, his relationship with LeBlanc, always tempestuous, disintegrated even further.

So Sanchez was disappointed to learn that his bandmates had rehired Birge this summer.

"I'm not saying he's a bad man, or a bad manager," Sanchez said. "But I found some of the things he was doing alienating. I tried to work with him f - Times Picayune

"Read this before you book Paul!"

Just wanted to drop a line. I don't know if Paul got back to you about the power problems we had during his show the other night. The power was knocked out at the venue a little before 9:00 and was off until well after 2:00 AM. We could not have had someone better to work with. I ran and borrowed a generator to keep the register and a few lights on while Paul played on the patio for a very grateful audience. He helped turn what could off been an otherwise disastrous night into a wonderful (albeit sweaty and hardworking) night. Paul was one of the rare treasures to work with in this business. We would welcome him back at any time with open arms.
- Email from club owner

"The Day (CT)"

If one cuts Cowboy Mouth singer/guitarist/songwriter Paul Sanchez, he bleeds folkie. Long before the New Orleans band earned national fame as one the best pure rock bands in the world, Sanchez wandered the northeast as an acoustic-toting troubadour, hoping to follow in such footsteps as Bob Dylan's or Peter Case's.

Instead, with old pal Fred LeBlanc, Sanchez started the Mouth and began ascension of a different colored musical ladder. But that doesn't mean he's abandoned the singer/songwriter side of his personality. Over the years, Sanchez has re- leased three fine indie label solo albums; "Jet Black and Jealous," "Wasted Lives and Bluegrass," and "Loose Parts" --mostly featuring his voice and guitar --and often opens CM concerts with solo acoustic sets.

"Jet Black and Jealous" was the first of Sanchez' records and, in the opinion of many, remains his finest. Unfortunately, it's been out of print for years --until now anyway. Freshly mixed by longtime Mouth cohort Mike Mayeux, "Jet Black and Jealous" is a CD as brilliant in it's narrative and melody as it is in its spare simplicity. Though it features original versions of three songs that have since become Mouth staples ("Louisiana Lowdown and Blue," My Little Blue One" and Light It OnFire"), "Jet Black" is otherwise stuffed with a cornucopian supply of wonderfully descriptive vignettes like the achingly erotic "Confidential Dance," the instrumental country ballad "Carl Calls Kristie," the wittily ironic eulogy for a relationship, "Real Good Time," and the literate title track.

Sanchez is a wizard with words and description, and his depictions of magical or lonely nights, or the quality of morning smells like newspapers and coffee take on an amazing poignant image in the context of his wise narratives.

- by Rick Koster

"Exit to Mystery Street Review"

Paul Sanchez
Exit to Mystery Street

By John Swenson

New Orleans native Paul Sanchez wanted to write and perform his own songs, so he went to New York City, where he became part of the “anti-folk” acoustic music scene in lower Manhattan during the 1980s. It was a short period of his career, but it defined what he wanted to do as a musician. The bulk of his career, though, has been in New Orleans, where he originally worked with the Backbeats, then after his return to the city in 1990 with Cowboy Mouth. Both of those bands included Fred LeBlanc, whose larger-than-life stage presence overpowered the laconic Sanchez. Even though Sanchez wrote several of Cowboy Mouth’s signature songs, including “Hurricane Party,” LeBlanc always overshadowed Sanchez.

Meanwhile, Sanchez was working with one of New Orleans’ most creative and eccentric singer-songwriters, John Boutte, co-writing Boutte’s “At the Foot of Canal Street” and including Boutte in the mix on the last Cowboy Mouth album.

These two new albums represent a turning point in Sanchez’ career, the first of his solo albums that really lives up to his aspirations as a songwriter and a truly collaborative effort with Boutte that finally gives this outstanding vocalist a setting that allows him to display the breadth of his talent.

Dave Pirner produced both records, and the Soul Asylum front man’s pop instincts took over magnificently. The genius of selecting Pirner is immediately apparent on “Door Poppin’,” a song co-written by Sanchez, Boutte and Vance Vaucresson which opens both albums. Sanchez comes off as an easy swinging roots rocker in his version, which provides a relaxed setting for his burnt orange vocal. Boutte, who possesses one of the greatest voices in American music, an instrument on a par with Aaron Neville’s, delivers a powerful performance on his album opener, which gets an uptempo, New Orleans street shuffle backing track.

The Sanchez record moves effortlessly through its paces, from the wonderful Matt Perrine tuba track lines on the title track to the vocal collaboration with Fredy Omar on “Adios San Pedro,” the glorious 1960s-style harmony with Susan Cowsill on “Sedation,” the terrific love song “For the Rest of My Life” and the pure pop songwriting of “Up to Me,” a song Nick Lowe would have been proud to write. “Johnny and his June,” written with his wife Shelly and Mary Lasseigne, shows Sanchez at his anecdotal best in a tribute to Johnny Cash and June Carter. Sanchez has made the record of his life here, an album that shows off his writing skills, singing ability and overall musical versatility. The record balances New Orleans street music, singer/songwriter introspection and rock ’n’ roll eclecticism with the grace of a cocktail waitress balancing a trayful of martinis at happy hour.
- OffBeat Magazine

"USA Today-Picks"

By Edna Gundersen, USA TODAY
Can't get to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival? Create your own. USA TODAY selects two dozen current discs by a diverse cross section of regional favorites playing this year's fest, which wraps up Sunday. (Releases available now unless otherwise noted.)

Paul Sanchez, Exit to Mystery Street.Formerly of the Backbeats and Cowboy Mouth, the singer/guitarist's seventh solo album, produced by Soul Asylum's Dave Pirner, features Ivan Neville, Susan Cowsill and a Spanish duet with Freddy Omar.

- USA Today

"French Quarter Fest Review"

Veteran Rock Critic John Swenson...

That particular set was a high point of the festival and a real tribute to Sanchez as an organizer and collaborator who is magnanimous with the stage time he offers his bandmates. Sanchez assembled an outstanding group for this performance, offering Boutte, Cowsill and trumpeter/vocalist Shamarr Allen equal time while subtly building the set around compositions he wrote on his own or with Boutte. Sanchez handed his guitar to Cowsill for a version of 'Crescent City Snow' that was even more powerful than the one from her own set. She conveyed a complex mixture of emotions in quick, broad strokes, contrasting the sense of alienation summoned up in the image of being 'like a kite without a string' with the elation of remembered moments in New Orleans. 'I'll meet you down at Jackson Square, 12 o'clock, I'll be there,' she sang, and the Steamboat Natchez blew its deep, booming whistle in greeting to the prodigal daughter who got herself back 'to a place where I know who I am.' The band backed Cowsill gracefully, with Allen turning in a beautiful trumpet solo, as she touched on Mardi Gras Indian chants and the 'Saints' call and response. It was a moment of sheer transcendence.
Among many other moments in this memorable set, which was all gesture and color and subtle rhythms, two guitars both playing well crafted parts in service of the song's contour rather than leads, Russ Broussard playing drums and percussion gracefully and gorgeous, gorgeous harmonies throughout. Boutte was in his top form, slyly noting 'I always liked Sam Cooke' before channeling the maestro in his wonderful version of 'Live in the Moment.' Boutte also delivered a brilliant rendition of his first collaboration with Sanchez, 'At the Foot of Canal Street' and really stirred the crowd with his flag waver 'Break Down the Door (The Treme Song).' Allen sang his own anthem, 'Meet Me On Frenchmen Street,' which Sanchez embellished with a chorus of 'won't you come home New Orleans' to the tune of 'Bill Bailey,' and the two of them performed their duet 'If I Only Had a Brain' from the 'Funky Kids' album. One of my favorite moments of the set, though, was 'Sedation,' a great song written by Sanchez with a vocal exchange between himself and Cowsill that recalled the classic 1960s vocal arrangements of groups like the Mamas and the Papas and -- naturally -- the Cowsills.
- BlogSpot


Exit To Mystery Street (2008)--Produced by Dave Pirner
1. Door Poppin'
2. Exit To Mystery Street
3. The Key
4. Adios San Pedro
5. Sedation
6. Johnny and His June
7. Hoob-a-joob
8. Dancing With Fear
9. Up To Me
10. For The Rest Of My Life
11. Manana
12. Ride With The Devil
13. Don't Be Sure

Washed Away (2007)
1. Foot Of Canal Street
2. Sonoma Valley
3. I Can't Stand You Now
4. Jet Black and Jealous
5. All Alone
6. Louisiana
7. Bartender
8. Hurricane Party
9. All Are Welcome In Heaven
10. An Irish Boy From A Good Family
11. Sisters
12. Footsteps I Hear
13. Let's Not Talk About Love
14. Little Boy
15. We Were Invincible
16. Shotgun In My Soul
17. Little Blue One
18. Nasty Evil Clown
19. It's Laughable
20. Half Empty Bed
21. Drunk This Christmas
22. Two Bands Rolling
23. Can't Let Go
24. Fire

Between Friends (2006)
1. Leaving
2. Mexico
3. Someone Again
4. Something Here
5. Wake Up
6. No Bothering You
7. Lonely Wasted And Blue
8. Colorado
9. Fool's Gold
10. Wake-Y-Up-O
11. On The Mail
12. The One Listening
13. Itty Bitty



To look at Paul Sanchez you wouldn't necessarily know he was from New Orleans but when he takes to his guitar and mic on stage there is no doubt the man is New Orleans in his heart. It’s evident. It’s clear. It’s remarkably and unmistakably original New Orleans music he plays, paradoxically familiar and new.

After his first musical endeavor in New Orleans’ own Backbeats, and a stint in New York in the late eighties where he befriended artist Michelle Shocked and refined his art in the flourishing “anti-folk” scene, Paul returned home to New Orleans in the early ‘90s to help form Cowboy Mouth (CM) whose popularity and ambitious touring schedule kept him on the road for most of 16 years. Though he contributed greatly to the band’s catalogue and success, Paul was left unsatisfied artistically. His desire to make music that was closer to his heart and better demonstrated his talent as a singer/songwriter led to a solo career that paralleled his day job, and he recorded seven solo albums while performing his duties in the band. When Katrina ravaged the gulf, Paul was on tour with CM. Attempting to process the extent of the losses; he stayed on tour and wrote perhaps the best post-Katrina tribute to date, “Home”. The song was released on Cowboy Mouth's album Voodoo Shoppe. Paul’s music has also appeared on CMT's Travel America series, Homicide: Life on the Streets, The Accused (starring Jodie Foster), Underneath (by Steven Soderbergh), and the independent film, At Last (starring Martin Donovan and Kelly Lynch), for which Paul was also musical supervisor, and his song "Hurricane Party" is featured during storm season on NPR. Further contributing to his soon to be legendary status is the inclusion of his song, "At the Foot of Canal Street", co-written with New Orleans Jazz great John Boutte, on the critically acclaimed Shout Factory New Orleans musical-history boxed-set, Doctors, Professors, Kings and Queens, a Big Ole Box of New Orleans.

Paul never takes for granted his many opportunities to write and record with some of New Orleans’ most pre-eminent musicians such as John Boutte, David Torkanowsky, Ivan Neville and many, many others. His more recent album, Between Friends, was a project that allowed him to write songs for some of his favorite
singers, including Susan Cowsill, Darius Rucker, Mark Mullins, Theresa Andersson, and once again, long-time collaborator, John Boutte. Paul recently released Washed Away, a compilation of songs from his first six solo albums, songs whose masters were lost in the Katrina levee failure. Soul Asylum’s Dave Pirner is producing his next release of new material, Exit to Mystery Street. Paul is also working with Pirner on John Boutte’s latest album Good Neighbor, the material for which was a joint effort by both Sanchez and Boutte.

Katrina may very well have been the catalyst to take Paul off the rock band’s road, and place him in settings more intimate; performing songs better-suited to his worldview, disposition, and soul. Like so many Gulf Coast residents, Paul’s priorities were put in-check by the devastation of the hurricane, the flood, and the ineptitude of the government. And like so many New Orleans musicians, he came to feel it was his responsibility to articulate his city’s losses. He is now where he belongs, and where he has always been, one of New Orleans’ ambassadors to the world.

When he takes to the stage and begins to sing you undoubtedly feel his pain, his joy, and his love – and, simultaneously, you better understand your own. As you listen on, as he shares his stories and his gift, you also become better acquainted with Paul and his hometown. In fact, if you listen closely and uninhibitedly, you just may begin to understand what it actually means to miss
New Orleans.