Monday, February 24, 2014

New Music Monday meet Paul Damon Alford, Homegrown in the 831 Series

My mother named me Paul Damon Alford.

I came into this world smaller than most and overlooked by many. As I grew older I realized I was hearing and seeing things that others were not. Now thirty four years on this planet and eyes wide open, I am starting to believe. Starting to believe that  possibilities are endless and endless love can change everything. I Believe that we are here for more than just a paycheck and taxes, and that a kind gesture and a smile are worth more than gold.
These are just words on paper from some guy you don't know. So, please let me give you a little background on myself. Here is a small portion of my life; starting with learning of honor, bravery and the idea of freedom.
  At age 18 I left Fort Worth, Texas for Chicago and the United States Navy. Inspired by a high school World History teacher, I chose to pursuit the Navy Seal program. I was unsuccessful in obtaining the Trident that the team members wore so proudly on their chests. But the lessons learned from these trials will forever guide me. Now onto open seas and the sun on my face and salt in my wounds, I traveled the world as a Sailor of the United States Navy. New tastes new smells new flavors, new everything, and I loved it!  
After returning to the U.S. in late 2000, I started hearing melodies more and more, almost to the point of being annoying sometimes. So I bought my first guitar in hopes to vent these melodies in 2001. Music consumed my life while stationed in Norfolk, VA and I started writing songs 30 days after buying a guitar. This was my everyday release of anger, hate, disappointment and dishonor the military had shown me. The mindset that we ruled everything and were allowed to tear up anything was sickening. I for one could not longer participate in the arrogant ignorance. I was Twenty-One years old when honorably discharged from Navy. I worked side by side with outstanding citizens in service, but many people leading the military have forgotten what honor is it seems.
 On to greener pastures... I had a friend offer a business deal regarding cattle. So in June of 2002 I was now in the Cattle business... and on my way to Henderson, Kentucky. Where I would greet my long time friend and mentor Steve Champion and his family, and be introduced to Casey Damn James, who would forever change the way I think and feel about playing guitar.
   In 2006 Casey and I moved back to Texas to chase the dream of playing music for a living. We met players instantly and started practicing relentlessly. Six days after we arrived in Texas we had our first paying gig as Kentucky Fried Texas. KFT was voted "Most Entertaining" out of 1500 floats in the "Dallas Greenville Parade". I was the frontman and songwriter for our band. We recorded one album; and through our mastering engineer Phil York, the album was submitted to the Grammy Board. Months later, shortly after the bands breakup in late 2007, Kentucky Fried Texas was voted a "Grammy Contender" for our debut album ¨Greatest Hits Vol. 1¨. It was recognized in two categories. ¨Best Rock Album¨ and ¨Best Rock Song, ¨Costa Rica." This was a huge honor for my debut as a singer/songwriter.
   After six years of playing bars and never finding a venue in Texas that would allow me to express my full creative range, I chose to give away all of my possessions and move to Costa Rica in December of 2012. I figured if the world was coming to an end, I would greet the end in paradise. So I wandered into an eyes wide open community in Manuel Antonio and was welcomed with open arms. I finally felt appreciated as a musician and a human being. I started finding an inner peace and understanding in everything, and found love to be a powerful thing. I know now that learning to love the things you use to hate, will change your inner compass. It will change your fate.
Costa Rica had what I needed on many levels, but the most important a universal gift... and the gift's name is Sam.
Sam and I grew up just 5 minutes apart from each other in Ft.Worth Texas but never met until Costa. Since that day we have been sharing light, love, music, and laughter with those around us in our travels and hope to share these things in many more places.        
Sam is an International professional raft guide and all around Badass! She convinced me to come back to the states and experience the 'river folk' community in Colorado and California . I have never met a group of people with such well rounded thoughts and abilities. I feel more connected than ever before and wake yearning to learn and share more. We are minimalist and enjoy life this way. We wake up under the trees and fall asleep under the stars with the ripple of the river passing by. Purchasing fresh eggs from the local farmer for breakfast, a refreshing way to start the day. Best part, the sunshine, and the beautiful songs of birds as our alarm clock.
   Now 6 years after my debut album with over 300 songs and ideas written, I am ready to share the lion within. A lion of light, love and equality for all and everything. The gathering of  lions has commenced, and consciousness is the guide into our selves and the future of our pride. May Peace and Love dance throughout humanity as fire to a prairie. 
Paul Damon and The Pride of Lions   -  Coming Soon!

Brought to you by 831 Street PromotionsMcWilliams MediaSkyHaus Studios

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Fortunate Youth, Hirie, Animo and IrieFuse at The Reef

Saturday Feb 8th was a drizzley, rainy, gray day, and the energy was palpable in the air.  We headed up to Santa Cruz a little after 3 to meet up with all the bands for load in and help our friends Bert and Mo out at The Reef.  

The Reef filled up early that night with all the bands and all our industry friends who came in a little early to eat and drink before the show. The energy was high and the vibe was mellow.  People were smiling and laughing, eagerly anticipating the huge night of music that was about to get underway.  The venue started to get packed, and the energy was building.

First to hit the stage were our friends IrieFuse, who had just played in Monterey the night before.  As always, they pumped the crowd up and got the dance floor moving.  I worked the front door through IrieFuse and Animos sets, but could hear them loud and clear, and man were they good.  The crowd was steady and eager coming through the doors.  The press of people from the front of the stage was getting bigger and bigger and the room was getting packed.

After a brief intermission, work duty was over, I grabbed Aaron from the back gate where he was posted up on security and we headed into the fray to catch Hirie.  What a set that was.  Hirie sings with a joy and passion that is matched only by her contagious smile. The band was tight and full of energy, dancing and clapping to the songs on stage and keeping the energy high. Hirie sings reggae with a fun kick of pop.  Her songs are catchy and full of positive messages.  You can't help but want to sing along as loudly as possible.  The covers she chose to perform that night were some of my favorites, including Tanya Stephens “Its a Pity” and the Expendables “Bowl for Two”.  However Hiries originals are what keep me coming back for more.  This summer her single “Sensi Boy”  made regular appearances in my stereo, and my kids know it by heart.  Presently I've got “Smile” in my head almost daily.  In person, Miss Hirie is one of the sweetest people you could imagine.  Humble, and full of light, this woman is blowing up the music scene, and I see nothing but huge things in her future.

One more break, and it was time for Fortunate were we excited.  We made our way through the crowd and found a sweet little spot front and center against the stage (always my favorite spot).  The band set up and sound checked...the crowd was growing restless...finally, Fortunate Youth was ready, and Dan Kelly’s voice poured out in sweet melody into the mic.  If you haven't heard Fortunate Youth yet, please stop reading now, and scroll briefly to the bottom of this page.  I have included one of my favorites of theirs below.  Press play and listen while we continue so you can understand what I am talking about.  Dan has a particularly beautiful and surprising voice.  In person, he is very gentle and kind, humble and full of gratitude to fans and fellow musicians.  We thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Dan, and all the FY crew that night.  He is tall and thin, and I won't lie, has a Vince Vaughn resemblance going on.  His voice when he talks has a slight rasp to it, but when he starts to sing...oh my...nothing but sweet sweet music.  FY has a guitar, bass, drums, keys and bongos, and are one of the tightest bands I've heard. They kicked out so much energy when they started, the crowd was moving, grooving, singing the lyrics.  Being up close and personal with such a talented band is always so inspiring.  Connecting with the music, and the musicians is to me what music is really all about.  Im grateful that my first live experience with this band was at such an intimate venue as The Reef.  I can't wait to see them again.  FY is making their mark on the music scene.  Keep your ears open for them, because they are about to blow up big!

The Reef crew did an epic job that night putting on this show, and we cant thank them enough for taking such good care of not only us, but everyone who came through those doors.  The Stage Media crew was also in attendance that night, and credit is to them for all of the amazing shots I'm sharing with you.  For more from this show, and many others please following the link to their page….

Irie Fuse

Fortunate Youth


831 Street PromotionsMcWilliams Media Stage Media

Monday, February 17, 2014

New Music Monday - HIRIE

Its Monday, and you know what that means…New Music Monday!!

Early Feb has brought some exceptionally good new music through the 831. Hirie is one of the artists that I have been enjoying since this summer. My kids even love her. Naturally, when I found out that she would be performing in our area not just once, but twice, I was pretty excited to see her perform. We caught Hirie Sat. Feb 8th at Santa Cruz's new up and coming hot spot, The Reef Bar and Restaurant, along with Fortunate Youth, local band Animo and our friends Irie Fuse.

Hirie sings with a passion and joy equaled only by her contagious smile. Her band was tight and full of energy, the crowd was singing along to the songs, and the room was vibrating. Hirie sings Reggae with a heavy but fun pop influence. The covers she chose were some of my favorites, including Tanya Stephens “Its a Pity” and the Expendables “Bowl for Two”. It is Hiries originals however that really catch my ear and stick in my head. My kids can’t get enough of the song “Sensi Boy”, and neither can I. It is a regular on our long drives in the car, and we sing it shamelessly. However one of my favorites lately is her song “Smile”. “If the weight of the world is heavy on your mind, lift up your soul and smile. I love it when you smile, I said I love it when you smile….live how you love, let your journey begin” This song will bring you smiles and that “hirie” feeling for your Monday all day!

What is HIRIE? Hirie is the combination of the words “hawaii” and “Irie”, bringing you that special kind of Island Aloha Vibe. “HIRIE is a lifestyle I want people to love and become accustomed to. The island-way of living is contagious; healing the mind, body and spirit. The same goes for its music. When people hear my songs, I want them to feel disconnected from their troubles. Music that brings you to a positive place: that’s reggae. Music that lifts you to higher space: that’s HIRIE”. -HIRIE

Keep an eye on this one...she’s doing big things!

You can find HIRIE on FB at:
and her website:
#831sp #newmusicmondays #nmm #hirie

Thank you to our New Music Monday sponsors at SkyHaus Studios in beautiful Carmel Valley.