When Paul approached Alan O'Bryant from the Nashville Bluegrass Band to produce this project, he wanted a banjo album that tastefully presented some of the old popular folk songs that most people grew up listening to. Paul had a list of some of his favorite musicians and wanted to pursue a strong, tasteful "almost instrumental album" (in which Norman Blake's "When You and I Were Young Maggie" is the vocal song that sets the project apart from being "totally instrumental").
Paul Hopkins, a Kentucky native, grew up in Southwest Virginia in a very musical family. His uncle began teaching him banjo when he was five years old. He learned guitar from his father who played an excellent Travis-style guitar. Paul and his father wrote songs and performed together until Paul finished high school. They recorded several songs together on the Jalyn label, using the stage name of "Wibby Lee and Paul Allen."
After attending Coyne Electronics Institute in Chicago, Illinois, Paul returned to Southwest Virginia and began playing with several area bluegrass bands. It was during this time that he met, picked with and became lifelong friends with Randall Hylton, who was attending Clinch Valley College at that Randall finished college and moved to Nashville, Tennessee. Randall called Paul to come to Nashville to attend the initial meetings, which resulted in the formation of the IBMA. It was a dream come true for Randall and Paul, and thus Paul became a founding member of the IBMA.
Upon his return to Southwest Virginia, one of the bluegrass groups Paul performed with was "The Rolling Firestones." This group led by Glenn and Patty Roberts played many different venues, including festivals, college events and "Messa Grass" and the "Virginia Pardners" were the last two touring groups Paul performed with while based in Southwest Virginia.
Paul and his wife, Nadine, decided to relocate to Shelbyville, Tennessee, where they formed Hopkins-Hall Broadcasting, Inc., and bought radio stations WLIJ and WZNG. Upon moving to Shelbyville, Paul began playing with many local musicians and starting a monthly bluegrass program at the V.F.W., which is broadcast, on WLIJ. Paul worked with and assisted J. Gregory Heinike in starting the "J. Gregory Jamboree," a live, weekly two-hour radio program on WLIJ broadcast from J. Gregory's restaurant in Bell Buckle, TN. One of the many excellent musicians that performed on this radio program was Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike.
Paul's association with J. Gregory and Valerie Smith has led to the release of his latest recording on Bell Buckle Records, "Something Old, Nothing New" (An almost instrumental album), where he is joined by some of the best musicians in the music industry.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Under the Double Eagle
2. Ole Kentucky Flower
3. Wild Wood Flower
4. Grandfather's Clock
5. Buffalo Gals
6. Rosewood Casket
7. Ring Ring the Banjo
8. Ole Spinning Wheel
9. Little Red Wing
10. Beer Barrel Polka
11. Soldiers Joy
12. When You and I Were Young, Maggie
13. When You're Smiling
14. Red River Valley
15. Home Sweet Home