Grammy-nominated country blues guitarist Paul Geremia suffered a serious stroke in June 2014 that put his music on hold. After incurring large medical bills with no means to make a living, friends and fellow musicians have been rallying around the recuperating artist.
Something Gotta Be Arranged
By Janet Isserlis
Many people have responded to Paul’s stroke with kindness and alacrity – with posts like this, for example, from Todd Cambio at Fraulini Guitars. Todd also made this beautiful replica of Willie McTell’s Tonk Brothers 12 string for auction in the fall of 2015 in support.
The initial youcaring site has reached the end of its run, and so updates are posted here from time to time. If anyone is able / inclined to send additional support to the paypal account, that link now lives here: paypal.me/gottabearranged. Ongoing caregiving is still needed so that Paul is with people we know and trust throughout the day when I’m at work.
Other friends, up and down the line, have been helpful in many many ways – organizing concerts in the east, on the west coast and overseas, sending all manner of support – and we are deeply grateful. Visits, phone calls, messages – are all important in reminding us we’re not alone. For these we are also deeply thankful.
Update – Fall 2019
Paul has been staying at Steere House in Providence. I see him every day. Donations/support are used for books, clothing, care and feeding of the guitars, occasional meals out, fruit, flowers and long term planning.
As ever, there are good days and difficult ones. The brain continues to be a mysterious machine. It’s not clear in the up and down of healing and brain things what an extended future looks like. For the moment, we mostly make each other laugh, except for when we don’t.
And that’s not a bad thing. not at all. – Janet / Fall 2019
About Paul Geremia
Paul Geremia has recorded ten solo albums, and has appeared on numerous anthologies and compilation discs. His superb recordings have made him a critical favorite and place him firmly among the legends who inspired and influenced him over the past four decades.
For over forty years, Paul Geremia has survived solely by the fruit of his musical labours. Having abandoned all other means of support in 1966, he has been traveling far and wide ever since, performing in every capacity from street singing to club and concert bookings, throughout the U.S.A., Canada and Europe.
In the years since, Geremia has built a reputation as a first rate bluesman, songwriter, a “scholar” of early jazz and blues, and one of the best country blues finger-pickers ever with his tools – six and twelve-string guitars, harmonica, piano and a husky soulful voice – and with an innate sense of the humour as well as the drama of the music, he keeps traditional blues fresh and alive with his performances.
Combining his interpretation of the earlier music of people like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Blind Willie McTell, Scrapper Blackwell and Blind Blake, with his original compositions, he has created a style which is very much his own and which has received accolades in the U.S.A. and Europe, too numerous to mention.
Geremia’s background isn’t typical for a bluesman. He is a third generation Italian-American who, as he laughingly puts it, “was born in the Providence River Delta”. Growing up in a family that moved across the country and back numerous times weaned his appetite for music, history and travel, which served him well later on.
During the sixties, Paul noticed that the music he had enjoyed playing on harmonica (his first instrument) was now referred to as “Folk Music” and was enjoying popularity. During his short time in agriculture college, he was mostly occupied with learning guitar and hitch-hiking to where the music was. He soon left college and hit the road permanently. He found paying gigs in coffee houses and “basket houses” in cities and at college campuses and made occasional forays South and West in search of the music he loved and what gigs he could find.
During these years, Geremia crossed paths with people whose influences were beneficial to his development and understanding of the tradition. He worked as opening act for some of the early blues “legends” thereby gaining an immeasurable depth of knowledge from people like Babe Stovall, Yank Rachel, Son House, Skip James, Howlin’ Wolf, and many others, especially Pink Anderson whose career he helped revitalize.