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Concord, North Carolina, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | SELF

Concord, North Carolina, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2008
Duo Alternative Rock




"PALEFACE in Cincinnati"

"Paleface is a big influence on many artists from today’s enormously popular “Indie Folk” scene. It wouldn’t be a stretch to call him the Bob Dylan of the increasingly popular styles." - City Beat, Cincinnati

"Paleface in NYC"

"Paleface is one of the scene’s best-loved products." - Time Out NY

"One Big Party, by Paleface - Review"

"Melodic songs with a sunny vibe while maintaining an edge." - The New Yorker

"Other Recent Tour Press"

(go to the link to read band press) - Several

"Paleface creates color and love on “One Big Party”"

Finding a band with a genuine sound is a difficult task to accomplish these days. It seems everyone is consumed with breaking out of the mold or worried about whose song is better than whose. Artists often times destroy their original sound to accommodate what the music industry wants their music to be. The love of a genuine song has been lost, and indie-rock band Paleface tries to cultivate that lost love with their newest album release, One Big Party. With their mix of rusty guitar chords, simple drum beats, and upbeat vocals band leader Paleface, along with girlfriend drummer Monica “Mo” Samalot, bring love back into the music....Overall, Paleface’s new album One Big Party is a great album that will have you humming tunes for days on end. Pulling from influences such as Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, and Daniel Johnston, Paleface used his years of experience in the art to put together a charming album with a cozy appeal. Using old bluesy guitars, guttural rock and roll tunes, and cheerful melodies, this high energy duo has embraced the love of a good song. One Big Party is a fun bash that will truly resonate with all listeners. - Badger Herald (University of Wisconsin)

"Paleface Press Release w/ Press Quotes and More"

“You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more appropriately-titled record this year. One Big Party is one big sonic shit-eatin’ grin. Joyous, carefree and catchy as hell, this record is a perfect and cost-effective antidote to whatever ails ya” Read feature by...
My Old Kentucky Blog

“everything about this One Big Party suggests one damn good time” Read review by...BLURT

“Paleface conveys a strong message of the value of hearty, uncomplicated songs by using light hearted melodies which transcend today’s valueless radio hits and synthesized voices. Songs like “She’s So,” demonstrate this message; where the gritty guitar piece can be felt all the way down to the core of your soul and hard vocals make you feel like you are in the room during an eclectic rock jam session. Paleface’s new album One Big Party is a great album that will have you humming tunes for days on end...a fun bash that will truly resonate with all listeners.” Read review by The Badger Herald, University Of Wisconsin

“Paleface...A neo-folk icon” The Flagpole, Athens GA

“overdue for recognition” The Scene, Nashville TN

"Paleface is one of the Antifolk scene’s best-loved products" Time Out NY

“From the moment you plug into One Big Party you want to clap your hands and tap your toes" YES! Weekly

“PALEFACE: Daytrotter’s Best Of The Year - Reader’s Choice”

“PALEFACE: Top 10 Live Performances at South By Southwest Festival” The Denver Post

“From the outset Paleface’s new album, One Big Party, makes no amends for the raucous, boot-stomping experience in store...These songs are catchy and upbeat, retaining Paleface’s lyrical openness and sly sense of irony. ” East Nashville Blog

“Paleface composes folk music in earnest, with a bluesy vocal delivery that portrays a feeling of something genuine and well-intentioned. With roots in the Brooklyn music scene, Paleface has relocated and setup shop in North Carolina where he now releases albums on Ramseur Records (Avett Brothers, Samantha Crain). At times you can hear a bit of Wayne Coyne in his voice, other times you hear traces of guitar melodies reminiscent of Woody Guthrie. No doubt that Paleface feels a bit nostalgic, urging you to grab a bottle of Bud at the town tavern while you listen to him sing you a song.” KDHX 88.1FM St. Louis, MO

"Playing folk music in its simplest form, the pair shined a rare beam of sincerity in a music world bogged down by false glitz and glamour...We should all feel so privileged to be able to get up so close and personal to a musician who can turn the air in the room blue by simply opening his mouth. His words are gorgeous and bloody with heartache, and the effortless way in which he holds a roomful of folks captivated is a beautiful thing." (Orlando FL, Show Review, by Ink19)

"This band will liven up any room it's in, slinging the happiness like a drug", Roanoke Times, VA

"Seriously, he’s the real deal, and you need to check him out", Star News, Wilmington NC

"As long as Paleface keeps a foot in each city and his home where his
heart is, there should be no stopping the flow of poetry and music from
this splendid songsmith." Salisbury Post, NC

"Wow, this guy is amazing...As far as I am concerned there is nothing better then when a band comes into LA and owns the stage. Complete with a sing along and a kinetic and fun energy, PALEFACE devoured their set...In the same breath, he converted a room of skeptics and showed this LA crowd why he is who he is. Complete with a quick background story on how became who he is, PALEFACE stunned a crowd that included a buzz filled with a stomp your feet and clap your hands in a procession of sound that was simply, amazing. Accompanied by Monica Samalot on on drums, this duo held the audience in a musical haze through a spellbound hypntoic aura of touching and rocking songs. Set to the powerful lyrics that fuel PALEFACE's passion and story telling... an incredible night of music that will be hard to replicate any time soon." (Los Angeles Show Review)

"The dynamic duo has been charming audiences coast to coast with their high energy
performances, honest, refreshing lyrics, and their raw yet full folk-core sound." MyScoper

"Paleface’s sweetly ravaged and expressive songs recall writer/singers like Tom Waits, Jeff Tweedy, M Ward and Van Morrison, but his distinctive blend of American music is all his own. " The Tullahoma News, TN

"Kind of like Tom Waits and Kim Deal of the Pixies making quirky acoustic folk together" Charlotte Observer

"Tons of sweat flying energy, damn good songs that stomp and rumble, and a beautiful noise that is spreading to ears far and wide". The Velvet Rut

"half way through the first song I was in love.” (Richmond VA Show Review by

"Paleface brought their unique and undeniably fun show to the stage...This energy was definitely felt and given back by the audience as they danced and sang along with Paleface." (Nashville show review)

"This was easily one of my favorite band performances from the entire day at FloydFest on Saturday” (Floyd Fest show Review by Sean Harvey, CvilleMuse)

"Paleface's performance was solid, easily winning over the crowd" Performer Magazine

"It’s obvious that Paleface has mastered the art of songwriting, bringing to the stage an arsenal of really catchy songs...Paleface delivered a solid, highly entertaining set." Jezebel Music, NYC

"Daniel Johnston was his mentor, Kramer his producer, and Beck… well, as Ramblin' Jack Elliot was to young Bob Dylan, so is Paleface to Beck" Urban Folk, NYC

"If Tom Waits is the West Coast hermit of the bizarre and the offbeat, then perhaps his East Coast counterpart is Paleface..." The Daily Times, TN

"Paleface's smoky, seasoned voice and acoustic, folk/blues style draws comparisons to Tom Waits and Bob Dylan." The Post And Courier, Charleston SC

"Paleface and drummer Mo Samalot place themselves into the upper echelon of the wave of fantastic Americana acts we've seen through NC over the past few years" The Village Idiot, North Carolina - Several

"Paleface Brings The Show On The Road"

The singer-songwriter known only as Paleface has had a career littered with lost shots at fame. But along the way he influenced his old roommate Beck and fell in with New York City's turn-of-the-millennium anti-folk scene. Now that he's finally on a reliable label, this umpteenth album sees Paleface mostly graduating from rickety folk to sturdy Americana, thanks to drummer/singer Monica Samalot and frequent collaborators the Avett Brothers. From the full-band bounce of "You're the Girl" to the bluesy scratch of "The Cheatin' Song," these tunes feel less like outsider art than lost classics scrubbed shiny-clean. It also takes guts to write a new song called "New York, New York," but Paleface has done it and it's the best track on this terrific disc, a deserving breakthrough disc. - Philadelphia Inquirer, by Doug Wallen

"New York sound, Concord found"

On a bright Sunday afternoon, the singer-songwriter Paleface tested some of his new material on an audience gathered in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood.
Looking like any other shaggy-headed hipster with a guitar, Paleface and his partner, drummer Monica “Mo” Samalot, launched into the title song of their latest album, “The Show Is on the Road.”
Released April 28, the new CD is the New York-bred antifolk singer's first high-profile project since his 1990s years living in the East Village and recording for the major labels Polygram and Sire. Today, he and Mo live in Concord and record for the city's hip indie label, Ramseur Records, home of the Avett Brothers.
Paleface's Plaza Midwood performance began quietly enough. But by the time he and Mo had romped through an hourlong set that featured gentle songs, such as her sweet, Spanish-language “Ya Me Voy,” as well as his energetic barn burners like “Kick This Jam,” both were drenched.
Paleface had delivered on the mission statement he'd sounded at the beginning of the performance when he sang the deceptively simple words, “The show – the show is on the road … Let's go – this is the life we know.”
Paleface's road is sort of a negative photo image of singer James Taylor's.
When Taylor wrote “Carolina in My Mind” 40 years ago, he was far away from his Chapel Hill home. He was trying to kick a heroin habit, and reflecting on the warm, healing N.C. sunshine. He was gone, gone – gone South.
Paleface is in the opposite situation today. Living in Concord, Paleface reminisces about the Northeast. Over the gentle, finger-picked acoustic guitar and simple, funereal keyboard line in the ballad “Traveling from North Carolina” – one of the highlights of his new album – he sings, “Cross the Carolina line, headed north through the pines, back to that city that just climbs and climbs and climbs.”
In Paleface's song, he's gone to New York City in his mind.
It's a bittersweet memory. After all, that's where Paleface had spent the past two decades, working, playing – and nearly dying – as part of a loose-knit collective of young troubadours known as antifolkies.
In the late 1980s and early '90s, hundreds – maybe thousands – of fresh-faced singer/songwriters came out of New York's East Village antifolk scene. Some, like Paleface's old roommate, Beck, got famous. Others disappeared into the noise of the city.
Paleface landed promising record deals with two major labels, Polygram and Sire. But during a tour with the Breeders in 1997 – the year after Beck won his first Grammy – Paleface got sick and dropped out of music. He had drunk away his success and contracted alcoholic hepatitis.
“I was gone,” says Paleface, who is now 39. “I collapsed and was in the hospital all the time. It was a horrific experience and really painful. I couldn't go out for years.”
“The Show Is On the Road” is not the first thing Paleface has recorded since his lost years. But it certainly will be his highest-profile release since he crashed and burned following his 1996 album “Get Off.”
“We used to go to all the open mikes together,” Beck once said of Paleface. “He was a great songwriter, a generous friend, and a big influence on my early stuff.”
By the time Paleface returned to the East Village scene in the early 2000s, a new crop of young singers and bands had appeared. A few of them became famous, too – the Strokes, the Moldy Peaches and Regina Spektor. Paleface started to get his groove back. But then 9-11 happened.
Mo knows
It was around that time that Paleface ran into Puerto Rican-born Mo Samalot, a former architect who was laid off shortly after the terror attacks. She had traded her slide rules for drumsticks. Even when she's not playing drums, her smile can warm up a room like the afternoon sun.
Mo put the sparkle back into Paleface's eyes.
“I had already created a dream for myself,” said Mo, lounging with Paleface on a couch at a Plaza Midwood hangout on a recent weekday. “I wanted to play music and I had been playing with some other people in New York. But I was a real Paleface fan and I saw that he was coming back.”
Paleface remembered the first time they made plans together. “I saw Mo on the street one day and she said, ‘Hey, let's jam.'”
Singer-songwriter Lach, who spearheaded the antifolk movement in the mid-'80s, noticed that Paleface had begun writing songs again, and putting out new albums on his own. Lach (pronounced “latch”) had taken Paleface under his wing early on. But when Paleface got signed to his first major label in the early '90s, “he sort of turned his back on the scene,” said Lach. “I was happy when he returned to the fold.”
By the 2000s, though, New York had become awfully expensive for a struggling indie-rock couple. Paleface and Mo needed a change.
The two hit it off with the Avett Brothers when the Concord trio was in New York for a show in 2003. The following year, Paleface and Mo put out an album called “Just About to Burn.” The music was much more low-key than the songs on Paleface's 1996 breakthrough “Get Off.” It was more natural and honest.
“We kept in touch with the Avetts and they really liked the album,” said Paleface.
To frontman Scott Avett, Paleface was an inspiration. “His biggest problem,” said Avett, “is that he writes more songs than anyone you know.”
Paleface and Mo eventually came to Charlotte to perform with the Avetts at the Neighborhood Theatre. They were surprised to see that an antifolk scene had popped up in the Carolinas.
A whole new following
The Avetts' manager, Dolph Ramseur, suggested that Paleface and Mo consider relocating. “I told him he should really get out of the city and move to North Carolina,” said Ramseur, who owns Ramseur Records. “I thought Concord would be a great place for them.”
Lach thought so, too. “It gave them breathing room and a new perspective,” he said. “It kept them in the antifolk vibe without being smothered by it.”
Ramseur knew Paleface would have to develop a work ethic that involved more than just writing tons of songs. The singer may have been fairly well known in the '90s for tunes like “Burn and Rob,” the kind of gritty, punk-inspired folk that had motivated Beck to stop covering old blues standards and write his own songs, like “Loser.” But the “alternative” era was over.
Ramseur told Paleface and Mo that they needed to build a whole new following. To do this, he said, they'd have to hit the road.
“The one thing Dolph said – and one thing I learned by touring earlier on – is that you have to have your own fans,” said Paleface. “You can't get them by just opening up for bigger bands.”
“You have to do it one person at a time,” added Mo. “Whether you're playing for a big crowd or just two people, you have to give it everything you have.” - The Charlotte Observer, by Mark Kemp

"PASTE Magazine: Band Of The Week"

The title track of Paleface's new album, The Show Is On The Road, is one of those songs you'd be glad to hum for the rest of the day—and it puts a grin on the faces of Paleface and bandmate Monica “Mo” Samalot, too. “It makes me happy, 'cause it’s what we’re doing,” says Samalot, who joined forces with the one-time solo anti-folk balladeer a few years ago. “It’s what we wanted to do when we were in New York. We wanted to leave town and hit the road.” And that they did, ditching their band Just About to Burn, decamping to Concord, N.C. and becoming a touring duo in the process.
“It’s a nice little record, and we had fun making it,” Paleface says. Recorded live for the most part, Road unabashedly strips away the more elaborate instrumentation of Paleface's last album, 2008's A Different Story, and marks the beginning of a greater journey for the now-duo: making their sparse, country-tinged acoustic guitar, vocals and drums combo work in recorded and live settings. “It’s not gonna tear down the walls and make a million dollars and whatever. But it’s OK, because we’re working toward something, and the next record will be that much better.” Believe it or not, according to Paleface, that record is already written; he and Mo just need to decide how to go about recording it.

But that's a welcome problem, considering the troubles Paleface had during his anti-folk days in New York City, when a heavy drinking habit nearly felled his career. For the better part of the 90s, not even Danny Fields—the legendary Ramones handler and Paleface's own manager for nearly eight years—could get through to him. After he shaped up, he began to offer younger musicians the same advice he'd rejected from Fields. “The smart ones—some of them would take it. Then, there was the other ones who didn’t take it,” Paleface says. “At the time, I called it 'Danny Fields’ revenge'.”

Making music with up-and-coming artists has helped Paleface, too. Six years ago, New Jersey singer/songwriter Nicole Atkins organized an NYC show that pulled Regina Spektor, Langhorne Slim, Jaymay and the Avett Brothers all in one room—a night that would change Paleface forever. “When I came back, after I had my illness from drinking and I was sick for a long time and I was out of the business and I wasn’t doin’ anything... there was all these people,” he says. “For me, it was great. I just fell back into being a songwriter, and I knew it was great place to be. There was just so much talent there.”

Paleface is now signed to Ramseur Records, the former label home of the Avett Brothers, who appear on Road (and for whom he originally penned the catchy title track). The duo plans to further their bond with other up-and-coming artists on subsequent albums, though they've already reached Paleface's goal of releasing 10 records this decade. “Somebody asked Dylan, like, why does he write songs?” Paleface recalls. “And he said, ‘Well, because I need something to play.' I need something to play.”
- PASTE Magazine

"The Show Is On The Road, by Paleface"

A booze-soaked throughline in the East Village antifolk scene between Beck (fan, ex-roommate) and The Moldy Peaches (devotees) songwriter PALEFACE whose real name is un-Googleable never really stopped. But somewhere before his 14th release The Show Is On The Road, PALEFACE missplaced the "anti". Perhaps deliberately. He happily drops choruses where they're expected ("You Are The Girl"), adds big harmonised codas, ("New York, New York"), and serves other tricks that anti-folk once eschewed. His voice is pleasantly tattered and there is still a taste of street rhymes ("The Cheatin Song"), but mostly the music is utterly stable backed by drummer/girlfriends Monica "Mo" Samalot. For PALEFACE The Show Is On The Road seems exactly right: the product of somebody who has long since found himself. - RELIX Magazine

"Live Music + Album Review: Paleface, One Big Party"

From the outset Paleface’s new album, One Big Party (stream it here), makes no amends for the raucous, boot-stomping experience in store. Building with the first sonic blast of distortion leading into Paleface’s signature vocals and Mo’s toms driving the opener into the first break, by the time the accordion comes into play… damn, I’m ready for the party.

A mix of folky guitar riffs and percussion with a smattering of horns and harmonica, organ, and even a little banjo, the album remains varied and sonically interesting through to the end. It seems to be at its best in the rich harmonies created by two voices that have their own strange sort of fusion, like cigarettes and strawberry soda.

These songs are catchy and upbeat, retaining Paleface’s lyrical openness and sly sense of irony. Sure, there’s no eye-opening, life changing verse here, but that’s not what these songs are about. Most of the songs deal with the theme of acceptance, of coming to terms, a theme often anti-climactic by its very nature but one that Paleface tackles with a nod and a grin. - East Nashville Blog

"Album Review: One Big Party, by Paleface"

"One of the New York anti-folk scenesters from the mid-'90s, Paleface has quickly established his own identity in recent years. This follow-up to his 2009 album, The Show is On the Road, takes a simpler straightforward approach, focusing on songwriting and emotions...." - Creative Loafing

"10 Standout Performances At SXSW"

Paleface: Folksy tales and expert delivery via guitar, drums and mouth harp

- The Denver Post

"Daytrotter's Best Of The Year - Reader's Choice"

PALEFACE Makes Top 20 songs of the year - Reader's Choice - DAYTROTTER

"The Ragged Lives Of Those Caught Between"

"...Paleface and his musical companion Monica "Mo" Samalot tear ferociously through a set of songs that consist of all kinds of examples of a man who is taking a studious look at his makeup and the chemistry that binds him to the world as it is (unchangeable) and that the intriguing ways that he interacts with it all. He does it with a drifter's mentality, with a self-assured passion for trying to get out of this life alive - still with that sneaky grin hanging from his face - and causing more joy than pain while he's here. He sings about rock and roll with the romantic notion of someone who believes it's more than just music, who believes that it is life. He sings about the trickiness of making things work out when they don't want to and he does so with a twist of Nashville, M. Ward and hints of Louis Armstrong..." - DAYTROTTER

"Album Review: One Big Party, by Paleface"

While the tellingly titled One Big Party may be Paleface's most embellished effort yet - relatively speaking -- it finds him sacrificing none of the freewheeling spontaneity that defined his two earlier offerings. Indeed, as far as descriptive album titles are concerned, this one nails it completely, thanks to the loosely hemmed melodies, the sing-along choruses and the wobbly vocals that sound deliberately out of kilter and yet celebratory at the same time. Like labelmates the Avett Brothers, Paleface pushes the parameters, whether whooping it up on the brassy hoedown "U Gotta Move On" or vamping his way through the ramshackle shuffles "Understand the Man" and "Rock N Roll." "She's so rock ‘n' roll," he declares on the freewheeling "She's So," but he might just as well be describing himself.

Indulging their eccentric streak, Paleface and constant collaborator Monica "Mo" Samalot don't attempt to tidy up when things get frayed around the edges. The wayward honkytonk of "SUWTSGD" (short for "See You When The Sun Goes Down") and the lethargic homespun duet "I Wanna Travel" suggest a mellower mindset, but the casual attitude still finds a nice fit with the pair's ragged romps. Consequently, everything about this One Big Party suggests one damn good time. - BLURT

"Paleface Feature"

“You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more appropriately-titled record this year. One Big Party is one big sonic shit-eatin’ grin. Joyous, carefree and catchy as hell, this record is a perfect and cost-effective antidote to whatever ails ya” - My Old Kentucky Blog

"BLURT: The Show Is On The Road - Record Review"

It's title aside, to call The Show Is On the Road a comeback is like saying it snows in the arctic. Terming it an understatement is... well, an understatement in itself. Following last year's self-released A Different Story, this latest album represents the artist known as Paleface's progress so far on the road to recovery. In fact, it's been a long journey back; a decade ago he collapsed and nearly died after being stricken by a triple whammy - an onslaught of alcohol abuse, pneumonia and alcohol hepatitis.
Once one of the prime-movers in New York's fabled Anti-folk scene, Paleface now opts for a rambling, ramshackle approach that's as unhinged as it is unembellished, eschewing more sophisticated arrangements for a low-key, down home sound. The title track starts things off on a surprisingly jaunty note, and as the album saunters on, songs such as "Try to Hold Your Own," "Holy Holy" and "Pondering the Night Sky" maintain the casual lilt and sway. Yet, despite the nonchalant atmosphere and the DIY aesthetic - Paleface and his drummer girlfriend Monica Samalot go into White Stripes mode by making the majority of the music between them - nods to the past are filtered into the frivolity. "New York, New York" bids a wistful farewell to Manhattan, which Paleface abandoned in favor of relocating to North Carolina, while "Raise the Glass" offers a dubious farewell to past excess - "I had a blast... yesterday's gone."
Judging by the amiable vibe, any hint of regret over past misdeeds appears relegated to the backburner. With the show on the road, it bodes a most welcome return. - LEE ZIMMERMAN

"MOJO Magazine: The Show Is On The Road - Record Review"

Triumphant Title for the latest from the New York anti-folkie admired by Beck, and his first album in years that is not for a tiny punk label or a bootleg. It's best songs are a heady jumble of urban and Americana- musically, and lyrically too. And no-folkies will love the ragged happy-clappy tambouriney Holy Holy. - MOJO

"The Eagle, American University - The Show Is On The Road - Record Review"

Some would argue that you can tell where an artist is coming from by the sound of his music, whether it be geographically or psychologically. Paleface's voice alone speaks volumes. His growl, a result of years of alcohol abuse, sets the stage for "The Show is on the Road."

What's more, the album pokes at his new surroundings in North Carolina, where label-mates and friends, the Avett Brothers, convinced him to move. (Seth Avett guest-vocals on several tracks.)

Songs like the title track, "Pondering the Night Sky" and "Raise the Glass" bespeak the openness of Concord, N.C., using catchy, nostalgic hooks and simple instrumentation. Paleface's roots are in the New York anti-folk movement, and these songs are only a few steps away from the proverbial tree, mostly in subject matter. "A Cheatin' Song" takes on country song stereotypes, but Paleface uses his city chops to keep it from sounding cliché.

Paleface doesn't forget Brooklyn on "The Show is on the Road." "New York, New York" pays the city tearful homage in a way only distance can paint it.

The whole album feels like a collaboration between Paleface, the mountains, his past and girlfriend and drummer Monica "Mo" Samalot. Mo takes a turn at vocals on a couple tracks, most notably "If Only I," which she co-wrote. "Pondering the Night Sky," the album's last track combines all of Paleface's influences into one heartrending cliffhanger of a resolution.

- K.P.

"Creative Loafing Feature"

There are big things brewing out of Concord these days. Sure, we all know about The Avett Brothers and the band's success, including the ties to Ramseur Records. The label's latest talent goes by the simple name of Paleface, but while he may be new to the label, his story is nearly two decades long.

Paleface's acoustic music, backed by girlfriend Monica "Mo" Samalot on drums, has an Americana and folk feel to it. His latest release, and Ramseur debut due on April 28, The Show Is On The Road, focuses on the recent journey he's taken from New York to North Carolina and readjusting to life on the road. It's his first label release in more than a decade and that long journey has had plenty of twists and turns.

"We had to leave New York so we could start touring," Samalot says. Paleface adds, "The Avetts actually found the place that we're living in now because they knew the owner and Dolph [Ramseur] was advising us and had an interest in what I was doing."

Paleface, who was once friends and roommates with Beck, was signed to his first major label deal in the early '90s. Of him, Paleface says they no longer have a connection, though Beck has cited Paleface as an early influence. "I think it was a bigger deal back in the day," he says. Samalot thinks the connection may bring about some mutual fan interest in the music of both artists -- Beck fans checking out a Paleface show and vice versa.

By 1996, Paleface was near death from years of alcohol abuse and spent the next four years regaining his voice and strength. He rarely performs anything from those early years, though he occasionally gets requests.

"I was off the road for 10 years and don't feel connected to that music anymore," he says. "I've got so much new stuff. I can't do songs from 15 years anymore. The alcohol kind of puts a cloud over you and you can't see the mistakes you're making and the way it's affecting people. Part of me getting over it was getting sick, laying in bed and suffering."

He and Samalot met around 2000 -- she was a fan -- and they began performing together in the band Just About to Burn in 2003. He released a solo album and some other efforts over the years, including the 2008 album, A Different Story, under the monicker Paleface and Just About to Burn. For the last year and a half, since moving to Concord, the duo has left the band and now simply tours and records together under the name Paleface.

"I look at Paleface as a survivor of the industry -- he's been chewed up and spit out," Ramseur says. "In Concord, you can be yourself -- you don't need to worry about being cool and it's mixed with a blue-collar attitude. It's given Paleface a second life. That environment helped The Avett Brothers, too. Paleface hasn't given up -- he's still working hard and getting better with age."

It's almost as if there have been a number of phases to his career -- the early major label days, the post-alcohol New York days and the new North Carolina-based touring phase.

"This is really a transition record," Paleface says. "The last one we did was done up in Brooklyn with a band. We had a bass, lap steel and electric guitar. We hit the road as a two-piece so this is a completely different thing. I think this record is me trying to figure out how to go between extremes -- only playing in New York 12 times a year and now going on the road for five nights a week. Sometimes I succeeded on this record, sometimes I didn't."

When asked why he decided to go back with a label after doing the indie route for so long, Paleface says a big part of it was Ramseur himself. "Dolph is really comfortable -- it's so much easier than a major label," he says. "It's the DIY ethic -- he's got it. He's different from a lot of the other do-it-yourselfers because he knows what he's doing."

The connection with Ramseur was also formed through his ties to The Avett Brothers. Paleface has joined the Avetts on stage a number of times -- including the last few New Year's Eve performances in Charlotte -- and Seth Avett, Bob Crawford and Joe Kwon all appear on the new disc. Scott Avett was busy with the birth of his child at the time it was recorded.

"We were put on a show together with the Avetts through Nicole Atkins," Paleface says of meeting the band for the first time roughly six years ago. "She put us together for this tiny show and there were only eight or nine people there, but it was Langhorne Slim, Regina Spektor, Jaymay, Levy and a couple waitresses. We all became friends after that."

He's selling an album, Paleface Faves, at shows, which is a compilation of outtakes from the new album, demos and older songs he recorded. As for the future, Paleface is already hard at work on the next album, even though Road hasn't been released yet.

"I've already written a bunch of new songs," he says. "Most of the new album was recorded last year at this time, so I've been working on the next one. Albums take so much longer to release these days. I wish we could release two albums a year. I think it would hold the interest of fans more. We're already playing new songs live, but nothing else would come out until probably next year at this time. As far as musically, I'm just happier these days and the music is going to show that."

Ramseur feels the new album is a nice step forward in the singer's career and won't hold him back in the case of new material. "Even though he has shades of Tom Waits in his voice, his music has his stamp on it," Ramseur says. "I feel that an artist has to let it pour out of them and I don't ever want them to feel constricted like they can't do something. He's got an open slate, and it's no rules." - Jeff Hahne

"Honest Tune"

Paleface, the one-time roommate of Beck, has been at the cusp of “making it” more than once only to have alcohol, and bad luck derail his promising career. An early influence on a young Beck Hansen, his protégé once said, “He was a great songwriter, a generous friend, and a big influence on my early stuff.” He was part of the burgeoning New York City anti-folk scene in the early 1990s and had achieved a minor level of success before overindulgence nearly left him dead.
Rebounding from that dark period, Paleface has reestablished himself as one of the leaders of the neo-folk scene influencing a new generation of songwriters. Following a collection of self-released and small label releases, The Show is on the Road, the songwriter’s first release for Ramseur Records (Avett Brothers, Bombadil, Everybodyfields) and his first album on a major label in over a decade, has finally hit the streets.
Staying true to his minimalist approach, Paleface is augmented by only his drummer, Mo Samalot, and the occasional guest spot by some of the Avett Brothers (most notably on the title track and “Traveling from North Carolina,” on which both Seth Avett and Bob Crawford join on piano and bass respectively). Each song sounds like the best part of any late-night, drunken campfire sing-along. The album is both a reflective look at the past, and a glance toward a brighter future. Paleface lets his years of hard living and bad luck pour through in pure emotion, but he does not sing with the sound of regret, but rather the wizened voice of someone who is at peace with where he is in the world. He delivers each lyric and word with the perspective of someone who has gambled with a different side of life, and after trying many out, has found a better path to take.
Paleface doesn’t forget how to have fun, though, from the rollicking, rolling, road-tripping title track, to longing for his home in Brooklyn in “New York, New York,”, to the ode to his favorite girl, “You Are the Girl” The songwriter crafts an album that finds him looking forward with a smile and enjoying each day as it comes.
The Show is on the Road is contemplative, but with a lust-for-life, windows down, wind-in-your face, summer album swagger. For someone who once said “each record is where you are, you may not like it in ten-years, but you should appreciate it for what it is now,” his new album is exactly where he is, and he sings like he truly appreciates that moment.
The Show is on the Road is out now on Ramseur Records. - Tim Newby


Beyond the Bells (Self-release, 2023)

Go Forth (Self-release, 2020)

One Big Party (Ramseur Records, 2010)

The Show Is On The Road (Ramseur Records, 2009)

A Different Story (Paleface BMI, 2008)

I Just Wanna Play Guitar (Paleface BMI, 2006)

Multibean Bootleg Vol 2 (Paleface BMI, 2005)

Free Your Mellow (Paleface BMI, 2004)

Just About To Burn (Paleface BMI, 2004)

Bottlefed (Paleface BMI, 2003)

Se La Voo (Paleface BMI, 2002)

Couch Tape (Paleface BMI, 2001)

Multibean Bootleg Vol.1 (Paleface BMI, 2000)

Get Off (Sire Records, 1996)

PALEFACE (Polydor Records, 1991)



P A L E F A C E is a prolific American songwriter & recording artist, performing with his partner, Puerto Rican drummer Monica “Mo” Samalot. The high-energy & full-sound duo, is touring in support of their new album "Beyond The Bells", produced by Paleface, mixed by Grammy nominated enginnerJason Richmond (The Avett Brothers, John Legend), and mastered by John Greenham, who's received multiple grammys, most recently with Billie Eilish. (Release date: Feb 2023).

Paleface was schooled by underground music icon Daniel Johnston, and discovered at an NYC open mic by Danny Fields (The Stooges, The Ramones, MC5), who managed him for eight years. Paleface has released albums for Polygram and Sire Records, as well as indie labels Ramseur and Shimmy Disc. He’s been called a “major musical influence” by artists including BECK and The Avett Brothers. (He has collaborated & appeared on three of The Avett’s albums, most notably as the “4th Thief” on their album Four Thieves Gone.)  Additionally, Paleface is an accomplished visual artist, and his bright & bold music-inspired paintings are collected by fans worldwide. Https://

Band Members