Despite the undeniably high quality of his songs -- which have been covered by the likes of Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Ian Matthews, and Waylon Jennings -- Paul Siebel is far from being a household name. Within folk circles and among songwriters, however, his two albums, 1969's Woodsmoke and Oranges and 1971's Jack-Knife Gypsy, are legendary.
Siebel was born in 1937 in Buffalo, NY. Inspired by Hank Williams and Hank Snow, he taught himself to play guitar while in his teens. By the early '60s, after serving in the military, he began playing folk clubs, eventually moving to Greenwich Village, where he found support in the coffeehouse circuit. In 1969, a collections of demos he made with David Bromberg caught the attention of Elektra Records owner Jac Holzman, who offered a him a modest recording deal. (Reportedly he was only given enough money to finance four three-hour recording sessions.) The resulting album, Woodsmoke and Oranges, was met with critical praise from the media, including Rolling Stone magazine. Despite the attention, the album and its equally praised follow-up, Jack-Knife Gypsy, sold disappointingly little. Aside from a live album released in 1981, Live at McCabes, Siebel retired from music. ~ Chris Woodstra