The Heavy Gauge String Band

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For admirers of Paul Chasman’s music, “The Heavy Gauge String Band 1973” CD represents his earliest released recording, six years ahead of his first solo album.  It gives a rare glimpse into an early stage of the artist’s development, just at the moment he would come into his own.

In 1973, the Portland, Oregon music scene was booming.  With a small-town flavor and a healthy dose of post-60’s mentality, Portland supported a vibrant music community that shunned commercialism in favor of eclecticism, eccentricity, and experimentation.  Groups like Melodius Funk, The Sleazy Pieces, The Holy Modal Rounders, Dr. Corn’s Bluegrass Remedy, Moonstone, Puddle City, Sand, Entropy Service, Seafood Mama, and Total Eclipse thrived with their hybrid hodgepodge of blues, bluegrass, jug band, country, rock, and free form jazz.  Music fans packed in to hear them play in clubs like Frankenstein’s, Arbuckle Flat, The Agora Cafe, The White Eagle, The Refectory, The American Museum, and The Stone Balloon, four hours a night, seven nights a week.
The Heavy Gauge String Band
It was in this Northwest frontier atmosphere that, for one year, the Heavy Gauge String Band thrived.  Led by Gordon Keane’s rich baritone singing and strong instrumental work, HGSB was enhanced by Paul Chasman’s sparkling guitar and Tom Miller’s solid bass.  Although steeped in traditions of old time country music, bluegrass, and blues, HGSB created a sound of its own, based on rhythmic precision, intricate instrumental interplay, and an emphasis on guitar.  They built a loyal following that loved their music, knew each personality, and probably knew all their jokes by heart.

After a year, The Heavy Gauge String Band went the way all the groups and clubs of that era would eventually go.  Gordy became a digital optics designer (although he would still surface occasionally as “Gordon Oregon, The Singing Programmer”).  Paul went on to a successful career as a solo guitarist and composer.  Tom was a longtime staple of the Portland music scene, playing with such notables as Dan Hicks and with the Swingline Cubs.

Tom MillerIn the summer of 2006, Tom Miller passed away after a battle with cancer.  Those who were with him during that time talked about the grace with which he faced his illness, and how he kept his sense of humor right up to the end.  After Tom’s death, Gordy was moved to cull through his extensive collection of Heavy Gauge String Band tapes, recorded at gigs and in the studio.  He compiled some of the best and most representative, and the end result is the first Heavy Gauge String Band CD, released thirty-four years after their final gig.  The CD is dedicated to Tom, with all proceeds going to Tom’s daughter, Morgan, toward her college fund.

The Heavy Gauge String Band emerged in an era that no longer exists, in an intimate Northwest town that, like most cities now, has grown to the point of bursting.  The CD takes a snapshot of a group that, for a time, delighted its fans  with humor, virtuosity, inspiration, and integrity.  


When Paul Chasman’s wife looked at the cover picture of “The Heavy Gauge String Band 1973” CD, she asked Paul the question: “Which one is you?”

Now you can help her.  When you order “The Heavy Gauge String Band 1973” CD, write on the order form which one you think is Paul.  The first three contestants to get the right answer will receive, along with their Heavy Gauge String Band CD, a free Paul Chasman CD of their choice. Be sure to include which bonus CD you would like.  Order now and NAME THAT ARTIST!

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Old School, by Paul Chasman and the "Great Gatleys"


Accompanied by Dan and Laurie Gatley on bass and vocals, Paul Chasman returns with 11 new original tunes that will make you laugh, make you cry, and make you think. With his trademark sparkling guitar at the forefront, Paul’s poetic lyrics contrast life and mortality; grief and celebration; and light that penetrates the dark.