Aplscruf's Music Blog

The Paperboys with Benjamin Doerr 12.17.2010

Benjamin Doerr

Tom Landa

Joyful Fiddler

The Paperboys featuring:

Tom Landa (Founder): Guitar, Jarana, Vocals, Piano, Bass

Geoffrey Kelly: Flute, Whistles, Bass, Percussion

Sam Esecson: Drums, Percussion

Kalissa Hernandez: Fiddle

Brad Gillard: Banjo, Bass

Nick La Riviere: Trombone, Bass

Kareem Kandi: Saxophone

Greg Lyons: Trumpet

Benjamin Doerr of St. Paul de Vence Opened featuring:

Benjamin Doerr: Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Concertina

Alex Malloy: Bass, Vocals

Mike Sievers: Accordion, Piano, Concertina, Vocals

Tractor Tavern, Ballard


We book-ended 2010 with The Paperboys.  The band joyously rang in the New Year on January 2nd at The Tractor, and we saw them again on Friday, December 17th.  Not a bad way to end the year.

Friday evening started with a tour of Ballard’s side streets, our usual troll for a parking space.  Finally, after circling for 20 minutes or so, one opened just a couple of blocks from The Tractor.

P and I were hungry and wanted to try out the new restaurant called 5 Corner Market Bar & Kitchen, located on Market Street, where Lombardi’s resided for a couple of decades.  It is supposed to have amazing roasted meats as well as lots of beer on tap.  We could see from the street that other people agreed with the positive reviews, as eager diners were queued up at the door.  Impatient and hungry, we settled for our old standby, Hattie’s Hat.  I love the old mahogany bar and dim lighting in Hattie’s.  We snuggled up in a small booth in the bar and shared meatloaf smothered in Guinness gravy with steamed veggies.

We strolled a couple of doors down to The Tractor and were happy to nab our favorite spot, left of the stage, with a little table in front for drinks and camera.  As usual, the place was pretty empty, but people slowly entered in small groups.  We looked across the stage and noticed our favorite older couple (the man is a doppelganger of P’s dad), who have been there the last two times we saw The Paperboys, seated against the right side of the stage.   The crowd grew around us as 9:00 approached.

The opener, Seattle transplant Benjamin Doerr, entered the stage a bit late, to a large crowd of cheerful, noisy patrons.  His recently-formed three-piece band, called St. Paul de Vence, is named after a small French town in which his grandfather lived during World War II.  Benjamin Doerr assembled a concept EP called When Our Boys Have Been Buried,  songs that are musical interpretations of his grandfather’s experiences growing up and joining the military during The War.  Doerr played acoustic guitar, with two bandmates:  Alex Malloy on electric bass and vocals, and Mike Sievers on accordion, piano, concertina and vocals.  The songs are simple and heartfelt, and are a beautiful way of capturing his grandfather’s stories.

St. Paul de Vence

The Set List:



Way Down

She’ll Go

Hummingbird, Heron & Honeybee


War Love

When Our Boys Have Been Buried

The folk songs had that hint of French flavor as the accordion played such a crucial role in most of them. The song “She’ll Go” picked up the pace with fast acoustic strumming and keyboard.   “Hummingbird, Heron & Honeybee” included nice harmonies with the phrase “Fly Over Me” repeated.   Doerr introduced the song “War Love” by explaining that his grandfather had two insignia (pins) on his military uniform, but only one remained because he “…might have given one to a girl,” his grandpa told Benjamin with a wink and a smile.  Doerr said, “If an 85-year-old man tells you that, you’ve gotta write a song about it!”

Between other songs, Doerr spoke of his talks with his grandfather, and mentioned that when his town was freed from German occupation, “…his heart sang out–his heart sang out.”  It was a lovely, meaningful set of music; I only wish the noisy audience were a bit more respectful of his work and listened to the heartfelt stories he told.

During the intermission, I screwed up my courage and worked my way through the thick crowd to talk to P’s doppelganger and his wife.  What a nice couple!  I asked if they were related to the band, but they said they are only friends, but have gotten to know all of them and their girlfriends, etc!  The sweet wife seemed embarrassed when she confessed they follow the band around to different shows, and will be attending one in Tacoma on the 18th and Bellingham on New Year’s Eve.  I told the man we enjoy seeing him here, because he looks so much like my husband’s late father.  He said he feels like he’s the oldest one in the place.  I told him there is nothing wrong with that, and we hoped to be doing the same thing at their age.  The Paperboys were gathering onstage, so I let them go to enjoy the show.

The Paperboys

The Paperboys, a Vancouver-based band, have been lifting people’s spirits with their high energy shows for 16 years.  There is no way to pinpoint their music to one genre.  Their music incorporates such a wide variety of cultures, instruments and tempos.  On their website, The Paperboys try to explain who they are: “Call it Guinness with a tequila chaser while listening to an Americana jukebox.”  Tom Landa, the Mexican-Canadian lead singer, plays acoustic, electric and Mexican 8-string guitars.  On Tom’s right, his flute-playing Scotsman, Geoffrey Kelly, who plays several pipes of varying sizes and sounds.   Behind is the drummer Sam Esecson who keeps alive the various tempos, ranging from Celtic jigs to reggae beats.   On Tom’s left, his adorable, smiling fiddler Kalissa Hernandez who holds her own with upbeat Celtic solos, pop melodies or emotional songs of love.  The banjo/bass player Brad Gillard is versatile, and steps in with accordion or keys as needed.  A trio of brass rounds out the eight-piece band.  The sax, trumpet and trombone get their turn at solos near the end of the set.

Sax Solo

Trombone Solo

The Set List:

Zambonie (instrumental)


Country Life



America (played with capo on third fret)

Goodbye Berlin

Worms (instrumental)



McGoldricks (fiddle solo, then banjo and rest join in for rollicking instrumental)

Toenail Moon

Watchtower (Dylan cover)

Rain on Me

Oh Maria (medley on last two songs include covers of “Pass the Dutchie,” “I Wanna Be Sedated,” “The Gambler,”
“Three Little Birds” and others, kept at same tempo and key)


After a brief wardrobe malfunction during the first song (XYZ, Tom!) we settled in for a night of rollicking, uplifting Celtic/Latin/Caribbean/Folk/Pop/Americana/Canadiana/Rock/Polka/World Roots music!

All of their songs, save one, were up-tempo, upbeat, positive vibes.  My cheeks hurt from smiling all evening.   My favorite song of the evening was “California,” a cheerful pop song with flute and fiddle solos adding that Celtic rhythm.  The audience joined in on the chorus, “Califooorrrnia! Califooorrrnia!  I think I’ll stay here, I think I’ll stay here for a while.”  “Fragile” was the only song that had more of a somber tone, but any seriousness was quickly doused with the next instrumental, “McGoldricks,” which began with the fiddle solo and ended with the whole band joining in.  The whooping audience clapped along and stomped their feet to the music as it became more intense; the volume increased when each instrument joined in.

The encore included the last two songs melded into medley of various pop, country and reggae covers, and the audience was encouraged to sing along.  I loved how easily one song slid into another, keeping the same tempo and key.


Tom Landa’s smiling eyes and beautiful vocals,  and the band’s positive, upbeat songs energized the audience the whole night.  We left at 1 am feeling strangely refreshed and a little hungry.  A Dick’s Special and a milkshake solved our hunger issue.  We made our way home, fulfilled and happy.

Flute Face

December 26, 2010 Posted by | Benjamin Doerr, Concert Season 2010, Music, St. Paul de Vence, The Paperboys, The Tractor Tavern | , , , , | Leave a comment