Paul Mengel

Guitar, Mandolin and Vocals

 I might have been the only boy who was shipped off to boarding school in 1970 with “Flatt and Scruggs’ Greatest Hits” side-by-side with “Jimi Hendrix’ Greatest Hits” in my 8-track case.  Yes, 8-track - that’s how far back we go together, me and my fellow CityFarmers.  Actually, a couple of us go back even farther (no, not to 78’s), but that’s another story.   I’m not sure why we all got into Bluegrass way back then.  I have always loved all types of music (well, there are a couple of current exceptions), but there’s just something about Bluegrass when it’s done right, and if you are into it, you know: the harmonies, the unique blend of the acoustic instruments, the exhilaration and the melancholy, rolled into one, the fact that it draws from the blues and the high lonesome sound of Appalachia… anyway, I digress…

Growing up in southern Virginia in the early 60’s there weren’t a lot of TV choices and I can remember seeing Flatt and Scruggs, Porter Waggoner and Dolly Parton and others on the Roanoke (big-city!) TV channel, in between “Lassie” and “Ed Sullivan”, so I guess I have been hearing the music for a long time.   Of course, then came the Beatles, Stones, Dead, Tull, etc., and we all eventually bought instruments.  Attended lots of festivals in the 70’s (what were our parents thinking?)  - we were the longhairs that got bemused looks from the old-timers,  wondering why we were so…happy.  Lucky enough to be right there at ringside when Trischka, Grisman, Rice, et al. took our music in a new direction and have been glad to see the masses join in on the fun through The Circle albums, Bonnie and Clyde, Deliverance, etc., and now the likes of O’ Brother and Nickel Creek.  As for me, UVA, bartending, law school, The Peptonz r-n-b band in the 80’s and early 90’s, but kept on pickin’ guitar and mandolin with “the boys” through it all. 

Now I am, technically speaking, a grown-up, and you have to pay the bills, so I practice law when I must, practice music when I can, live for my kids and keep my mind and ears open…you should, too - it’s a good time to be an acoustic music fan. 

Favorite Links:  No Depression bi-monthly magazine – Check it out, there’s lots of cool American music out there,
The Bluegrass Blog