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Former JBLM soldier starts music career

Former JBLM soldier Padre Paul Handelman has launched a musical career that honors hard-working individuals. Courtesy photo

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Paul Handelman tells stories about everyday people with his mixture of country, bluegrass and honky-tonk music. He describes himself as "unbridled," which became the title track of his debut EP that he released in late 2017.

The release showcases Handelman's unique one-man-band style along with the sounds of his banjo picking and fiddling friends from Tacoma, Forest Beutel and Julie Campbell.

"In a sense, I feel lucky because I've got a story to tell," the native of Missouri wrote in an email. "I love this country, not only for the freedoms it provides, but because each and every time I've traveled around her I encounter people and places that have stories worth telling."

He's been around the country and the world.

After serving five years in the Army as an officer in the 82nd Airborne Division and the 75th Ranger Regiment, 2nd Battalion, Handelman began his career in music.

When he left the Army in 2017, he moved home to Missouri and into a slip of a village called Weston, which sits right next to the Kansas-Missouri state line. Like most folks in that area, he works hard, and Handelman's hard work means working the land and the cattle on it for the KC Cattle Company.

When the hard work is over, Handelman turns to the harder work of writing music, which is a tribute to his fellow Americans. Along the way, he became an ordained minister and is sometimes referred to as Padre Paul.

"I find people looking for the rawest, and the truest music, are the ones I want to surround myself with," continued Handelman.

He readily acknowledges that artists such as Tyler Childers, The Steeldrivers, Forest Beutel, Ryan Bingham, Sturgill Simpson, Whitey Morgan, Cody Jinks, Charlie Parr and others have shaped his sound.

As to being known as Padre Paul Handelman, he relates that he presided at the wedding of his closest friend. After the wedding he and some of his friends began to play some bluegrass music. In the middle of their set, one of the guests yelled out, "It's Padre Paul and his bluegrass band!"

The name stuck, and it has become part of Handelman's music and appeal.

"From then on out it just stuck," he said when reminded of the wedding story.

Handelman has recently kicked off his 2018 tour by playing a charity benefit concert in Las Vegas, Nevada. Upcoming stops include Austin, Texas; Nashville, Tennessee; and Tacoma.

To learn more about the man and the music, visit, iTunes or Spotify.

A portion of the compact disc sales goes to support multiple veteran organizations.

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