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Power pop singer/songwriter Paxton was born and raised in Indiana; orphaned at age 12 after the death of his mother, from whom he inherited his passion for music, a few years later he quit school and hit the road with his guitar in tow, wandering across the country, accepting a series of odd jobs and performing in the occasional club. By the mid-1970s he'd become a professional dancer, appearing with a number of national touring companies; eventually Paxton moved to Nashville to pursue a career in country music, but left town within the year to return to New York City. There he landed a gig at the Bitter End, catching the attention of record exec Nat Weiss; after reactivating the Nemperor label, Weiss signed Paxton to a multi-album deal. Backed by guitarists David Matos and Rick Kolster, bassist Randy Jordan and drummer Rob Cournoyer, Paxton issued his self-titled debut album in 1998.