Konrad Wert is a man of many voices. As a Special Education teacher, he is articulate and intentional. As an advocate for justice in education he is passionate. But as an artist and musician, better known by his stage name, Possessed By Paul James, his voice is expressive, holding rest and action in tandem. After gaining recognition from NPR, The New York Times, CMT, and MTV for his celebrated live performances and 2013 Billboard-charting breakout release, There Will Be Nights When I’m Lonely, the Golden Apple-winning educator took some time to reflect and reorient and underwent two vocal surgeries. “The nature of being a school teacher, a public speaker, and a musician, you know, any ear nose & throat specialist will tell you that’s like a hat trick for getting a vocal surgery. So there was some time where I needed to really learn how to sing fluidly and in a healthy way while preserving the opportunity to continue as a teacher and articulate, speak, without duress.” After a few years away from music, Wert is returning with a new album, As We Go Wandering, (due January 31, 2020), bringing a rejuvenated voice to Possessed By Paul James. Where There Will Be Nights was crying out on behalf of the dilemmas faced by families, students, and teachers nationwide, As We Go Wandering brings a sense of peace. But as the title suggests, in Possessed By Paul James’ estimation, perhaps counterintuitively, peace, rest, and movement dance hand in hand.
Possessed By Paul James is.” “As We Go Wandering is about the question of where we go from here. How do we move forward,” says Konrad Wert. This tension is expressed at the very center of the tracklist, with “Be At Rest.” “All across the nation teachers see the same needs, fill the same roles, and ask the same hard and troubling questions: Students who are hurting, families fighting for the rights of their children, passionate teachers who constantly bear burdens that can become crushing,” says Wert. “Most troubling and devastating are the increasing numbers of human beings that are falling to violence within our schools. ‘Be At Rest’ provides an open image and feeling to all those hurting: ‘Raise up your voices, lay down down your sword and shield, be at rest. Come together on the foundations of peace and justice so we may heal, so we may help, so we may learn in order to do better for our children.’” So what about the name, Possessed By Paul James? “It’s partly just because of the way we play, maybe it’s due to anxiousness or anxiety, I don’t know, but just close the eyeballs and get it out,” says Wert. “But also, Paul was my grandfather, James is my dad’s middle name - so it’s a reference to something bigger than me, that there is something greater than ourselves, something that we’re in together. It’s important for us to acknowledge and be honest about that - the good, the bad, and the ugly. We are more than just ourselves.”
“Frank Critelli’s a Connecticut music scene icon: co-host of WPLR’s Sunday night “Local Bands Show,” host of myriad music showcases over the years in local coffeehouses and clubs and a diehard fan of the scene.
He’s also one of the most prolific members of it, mostly as a solo artist but as leader of bands as far flung as Brutally Frank and The FCB, and collaborations with the late Norman Cross, The Bargain, and others.
Critell’s often shorthanded as a sensitive folk singer, but he can be darker and weirder than that, something “The Muse EP” proves handily. There are dashes of psychedelia and Beatlesesque whimsy, with welcome COVID-era plaints of patience, understanding and peace.”