Paul Nourigat keeps it real in his sincere and poignant new ballad and video Will Not Pretend — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
An elegant ballad fueled by Paul’s reflective and warm vocals tastefully accompanied by piano, electric guitar, and cello, the song unpacks how fleeting friendship can be throughout a lifetime:
“Through the years I’ve been surprised
Life sure does get strange
Lotta solid friendships
Thought not much would change
Some folks moved on for new jobs
Others escaped the rain
Some folks left the world too soon
A few are hiding from their pain.”
“Friendship is a nebulous, ever-changing phenomenon, evolving in ways I’d not anticipated. From friends losing their lives way ahead of their time, to evolving personalities, to making new friends out of nowhere, it’s been a fascinating journey,” Paul says. “It’s best to accept the natural ebbs and flows of friendships, adapting as needed. As I’m closer to my end than my beginning, it’s become pretty clear to me how much I value my friendships, regardless of their paths.”
Nourigat had been a “musical bystander” his whole life. Five years ago, however, he picked up a guitar and five thoughtfully themed albums later he hasn’t looked back. With steely determination and no formal musical training, Paul learned to play ukulele, guitar, sing, write songs and produce.
Today he has a richly diverse catalog of songs that traverse folk, country, rock, and blues. The Portland, Oregon artist’s album Smiles That Pass By, due in early 2024, stands out in his oeuvre for being his most uplifting and empowering. It features 10 original songs brimming with universally resonant personal stories and a-ha moments, reaching across genres and generations.
“I’m at a point in life where I’m compelled to share what’s on my mind,” says Paul, who turns 65 in November. “Having experienced many highs and lows, I’ve come out of the extremes stronger for the experiences, which is the essence of the lyrics for each song on Smiles That Pass By.”
Paul’s broad sweep of the Americana landscape recalls such artists as Slaid Cleaves, Guy Clark, The Lumineers and Jim Lauderdale. Each of his songs occupies its own unique roots-flavored world, and Paul, with his producer and guitarist extraordinaire Adam Selzer, curate just the right mix of musicians for the personality of each track.
At the heart of Paul’s songs is his life. Growing up, his family moved around internationally and nationally as a result of his father’s military career, and he lived in 12 homes by the time he graduated high school. This transient existence forced his sense of independence and mindfulness of the world around him. Just after high school, he survived a brutal and humbling motorcycle accident that claimed a few digits on his shattered hands, after which he discounted playing musical instruments. That is, until his wife of 40 years signed him up for a group ukulele session, which led to guitars, writing over 150 songs, and the rest is history.
“My songs speak to people who want to hear stories,” Paul says. He crafts each album with well-developed overarching themes, and each song features narratives with classic story arcs, including sweet resolutions.