No Thanks, I'm Full

Paul K. and the Weathermen
Gavage, Vol. 1: Queen of Hearts (Farnsley Recordings)

By Tim Roberts

There's a famous line of Shakespeare's that always gets quoted out of context. It is spoken by Orsino, Count of Illyria, in Twelfth Night: "If music be the food of love, play on."

There's where the out-of-contexters (and there have been millions over the last several centuries) leave it. But the following lines really suck the sentiment right out of it. "Give me excess of it, that surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so to die."

So the count wants to (metaphorically, at least) ingest too much of a good thing so that he makes himself so sick of it that he just keels over. In French agriculture, it's called gavage, where ducks and geese are force-engorged on some kind of corn meal paste and become so obese they die. Then their livers are harvested to make foie gras.

Paul Kopasz (a.k.a. Paul K.) and his band the Weathermen don't want to harvest any organs, but he does have a massive collection of songs (50 or so) that he didn't want to blast at us at once. So he's spreading them out in three separate releases. And the first course, Gavage, Vol. 1: Queen of Hearts is on the table and hot.

Like a lot of Paul K's work, the songs in this first volume have a tinge of lyrical understatement wrapped into styles that range from bluesy to singer-songwriter folk, which makes this volume a well-balanced work. It kicks off with despondency ("The Plan") and ends with a batch of hidden tracks that include his rendition of "Everything's All Right" from Jesus Christ Superstar (without the argument between Judas and Jesus, though Paul would probably have found a way to fit it in).

A team of local talent all help out, including Joee Conroy, Roy Carter, Jason Bradley (the co-producer and engineer), Brett Holsclaw, Tim Welch, Marcia Goss and Jerry Cunningham.

Paul Kopasz never really does anything in a small way (a couple dozen releases downloadable for free, a rock opera based on the weird events in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947, a three-CD collection packaged in materials cannibalized from old record sleeves). But with this first volume of Gavage, we're getting the first taste of what will be another incredible work.

An all-you-can hear buffet is available at www.paulkweathermen.com.