Rumbolt a down-home hit

Castlegar house concert demonstrates entertainer's considerable talents

Paul Rumbolt delivers an Oct 20 house concert in Castlegar.

A lot of people love to sing, and the more the better.But there are other people who can be classed as special, gifted… world class.

Paul Rumbolt has the sort of vocal talent that could, and may well still, get him into some increasingly rarified company as time goes on.The Newfoundland-raised Rumbolt is the latest in a series of performers doing house concerts here in Castlegar.

Tim O’Doherty is the local man filling the role of casual promoter… a not-for-profit impresario who’s arranging the occasional show here and there simply for the love of the art.He brought in a duo called The Brights a month or so back and both recent acts were very well received by relatively sparse but enthusiastic audiences.

One way of looking at this sort of show… is like guerilla-show business. There’s not a lot of advance publicity. It’s a low-key affair in a location donated by music lovers. Admission is most often by donation and there’s likely to be some choice nibblies to enjoy during the intermission. If you happen to be there in the same small room with that certain talent… there is really no better musical experience.

Paul Rumbolt has lived in Southern Alberta since 1993 and in that time has fallen in with a stellar circle of players… trading verses with some well-known members of Canada’s country and folk music elite. The circle includes players like Nathan Tinkham, and Cindy Church… folks with a direct lineage to names like Ian Tyson and Amos Garrett.

Rumbolt has vocal power and sweetness which invite favourable comparisons to men like John McDermott. He’s also a very capable and creative guitarist who writes a great variety of thoughtful songs. To top it all off he has a happy, friendly self-confidence that puts people at ease and invites them along for a melodious and rhythmic ride.

Rumbolt has a falsetto that is other-worldly. He’s an ordained United Church Minister who also has a sizable portfolio of sacred music to his credit.Rumbolt met me before the show and spent a few moments discussing his life.

He said he started out as a rock drummer and keyboardist but, a child of the 70s, had always paid attention to the singer-songwriters of the day. Now a prolific writer with several successful CDs produced, he makes regular forays to perform. He’s basically a half-time pastor at a Church in Calgary’s Killarney district. The other half of the time he’ll likely be out doing gigs.

Paul’s first set was all original. It’s not easy to peg the assortment… for example, how do adequately describe a heart-felt ode to his (now- 29-year-old) daughter, or another poignant song written by her? How does the message get across without the song actually being heard? I can say the tone, tuning and tempo were all right on the money.

Rumbolt gave us a treat to start his second set, something that conveys what he’s about in terms of his performing skills.As folks were wrapping up their break-time chat, he said he’d do some of the material that’d had such a big influence on him when he was starting out.He slid into a three-song America medley: “Sandman,” “Horse With No Name,” and “Sister Golden Hair.” That got our attention.

“James Taylor,” someone then chirped. So he moved his capo up a fret a did “Fire and Rain” with the greatest of ease before closing his tribute segment with John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” and “Annies Song.”That set the stage another cross section of his quality creations…capped with another request.He humoured his host O’Doherty with “Sunny’s Dream,” by fellow Newfoundlander Ron Hynes, something thoroughly appreciated by everyone in the family room of that Emerald Crescent home last Thursday night.


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