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Hoosier-raised singer/songwriter Randy Paul returns to Indiana May 25

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With an acoustic guitar strapped around his neck and shoulder, Randy Paul has kept himself busy. The Indiana native, who moved to Florida (and then to Charlotte) 14 years ago still wears his Hoosier musical roots proudly, and hits a hometown stage at Birdy's, on a bill with Indianapolis' Henry French on May 25. Americana fans can hear through a songlist that blends his bourbon and smoke voice with a mix of covers and originals. On a stage, he has a knack for making lyrics pop out of the mix. A John Hiatt quality to his stuff, he's a guy who hoists a couple speakers, drops a monitor, set up a mic stand and just plays, twisting his cover songs enough to make them his own. Paul's next project will be an EP of his own music, which he is working on for release at the end of 2013.

NUVO: Talk about your time in Indianapolis, and how you got into music.
RANDY PAUL: I grew up in Greenfield, just east of Indianapolis. I was given my first guitar from my grandma when I was about eight years old. I played around with it for a little while but never really took it seriously until a few years later. I got in trouble for stealing a bike and was ultimately grounded for an entire summer. I spent that time in my room, playing on a three string guitar. I later convinced my mother to have the guitar re-strung and tuned which opened my eyes to what a guitar could sound like. I learned to play by ear by listening to John Mellencamp, AC/DC, Metallica, and 80's rock.

NUVO: How did you figure out music was what you were meant to do?
RP: The first time I played on stage at a student recital I knew that this was something I would be doing for the rest of my life. The rush from the energy and undivided attention from the crowd made it addictive.

NUVO: Were there other Hoosier musicians who you used as influences?
RP: I, of course, return to Mellencamp. The Why Store, Henry Lee Summer, plus just about every guitarist that came through The Slippery Noodle Inn.

NUVO: When did you leave Indiana?
RP: I moved to Tampa in 1999 with my brother, Rick, and friend, Shorty. I met and joined a band called Olive Carpet, and we played locally for about a year and gained label interest at a time when the new music boom in Orlando was taking off with bands like Matchbox 20, Creed, and Seven MaryThree3.In 2001 we recorded our debut album Do You Know Who I Am in Nashville.

NUVO: What was your first big break?
RP: Olive Carpet headlined the National Conference of NACA (National Association of Campus Activities) Showcase in front of more than 5,000 at the convention center in Indianapolis. We toured, based on that performance, for two years and played 280 showsthroughout the United States.

NUVO: Why did you decide to relocate again, this time to Charlotte?
RP: Given that I was able to tour all over the country with Olive Carpet, I took note of cities I liked and where I might one day like to live; Charlotte fit the bill. It's not too small, not too large, weather is favorable year round and it's not too far from home.

NUVO: Speaking of home, coming back to, in Indy this month at Birdy's Is that extra cool for you?
RP: I'm very excited to play for friends, family and fan. It has been a long time since I have played in Indianapolis, and I'm looking forward to debuting my new single "Indiana Home." What better place to do it than in Indy?

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