Paul Jost Celebrates the 'Simple Life' with a Session on Singers Unlimited

May 14, 2019

For a couple of years, before I heard Paul Jost singing, I heard about Paul Jost — from other singers!

Jost sings a residency every last Wednesday at 55 Bar. He came to WBGO to sing with a couple of the players on his new album, Simple Lifepianist Jim Ridl and bassist Dean Johnson.

Jost’s voice is lyrical but with a breezy rasp. He’s always very emotional, always telling the story of a song. And he tells stories all across the musical spectrum on Simple Life — from “Caravan” to “If I Only Had a Brain” from The Wizard of Oz; from Jerome Kern and Ray Noble standards to Bob Dylan and Beatles songs.   

One highlight is the rapturous folk anthem “Shenendoah.” Another is the song “Everybody’s Talkin” from the movie Midnight Cowboy. Jost sings the latter as a remembrance of Mark Murphy, with whom he played drums and from whom he learned so much about singing. Murphy’s last years were troubled; he was misdiagnosed with dementia. Jost sings as if hanging on to his sanity and his soul.

Here are Jost and his accompanists performing the standard “Young and Foolish.”

Videography: David Tallacksen

Audio mix and video edit: Corey Goldberg