Born and raised in Chicago, Paul Zollo started writing songs as a kid, walking in the long shadows of legendary Chicago songwriters such as John Prine and the late great Steve Goodman (who gave Zollo his first songwriting lesson).
Paul performed in Chicago clubs long before he was old enough to drink in them, and then moved east - to Boston and New York - performing solo and with bands - and ultimately west to Los Angeles. He joined the band The Name, and then became lead singer and songwriter for The Ghosters, who released one eponymous album, and played in clubs and theaters around America. Zollo also went on a tour, playing all over Eastern Europe - including concerts in Moscow and Leningrad.
His first solo album was Orange Avenue, (Windyapple Records, 2000) which contained 13 originals and featured the legendary Art Garfunkel dueting on a Zollo original called "Being In This World." The album received rave reviews in America and the UK, where the journalist Steven Jenkins wrote in The Reading Squire, "Orange Avenue is beautifully melodic, lyrical, provocative and compelling; Zollo sings like Cat Stevens, and writes songs that are a blend of Simon, Dylan, Talking Heads and Hoagy Carmichael." In the L.A. Music Journal, Andrew Farris wrote, "Zollo is one of the most serious and gifted songwriters writing today." And beloved Angeleno poet-journalist Rip Rense wrote, "Orange Avenue is a thoughtful cycle of lush melodies awash in acoustic guitars, saxophones, cellos and whimsy. There are tales and essays, musing and anthems, reflections and poignancy. Myrna Loy is on it (no kidding, at the beginning of 'Just Like Myrna Loy') and so are a lot of happy people in a bar in Tijuana (the live track 'Thanksgiving' a little rocker that would do Richard Thompson proud.) Zollo is a guy who wanders around singing his heart out just because he was made that way."
Since writing the songs for Orange Avenue, Zollo has been on a musical odyssey, writing songs about America and its singular history - songs of the west, songs of the south, songs of the past and the future. Besides writing songs alone, he's embarked on many fruitful collaborations, writing many songs with Darryl Purpose, including "Crooked Line" (which became the title song of Purpose's album of the same name), as well as "California," "The Ghost of Crazy Horse," "Baltimore," and "Koreatown." Zollo also has the distinction of collaborating with the late Steve Allen ("Blue Stars"), as well as Severin Browne ("Angelyne,"), James Coberly Smith ("Muddy and Bo") and Bob Malone ("Flying Machine"). Malone also recorded Zollo's song "Halloween," for a special seasonal EP.
Zollo is also a long-time music journalist who has contributed to countless magazines over the years, as well as the Grammy Awards and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Currently the Senior Editor of American Songwriter magazine, he's the author of six books, including the award-winning Songwriters On Songwriting, Hollywood Remembered and Conversations with Tom Petty.
He's presently performing around California with The Zollo Group, which features Billy Salisbury, Kirke Jan, Aaron Wolfson and Chad Watson. And with Salisbury he's hard at work creating his first album for Trough Records, thrilled to be part of a label that is home to many of his favorite songwriters and people.
Paul is also an accomplished photographer, who has had his work exhibited at several galleries in California, and published in many publications, including People and The San Francisco Chronicle.
"Paul is a real contributor to our musical life here in Los Angeles," wrote the legendary Van Dyke Parks. "He's a rock and roll kid grown up," said Art Garfunkel, "and he fully understands our world."
To hear some of Paul's music, including demos for songs which will be included on the upcoming Trough release, visit Paul's MySpace page.
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