Fort Smith solo instrumentalist set to release first album
by Meagan Wohlberg
Geronimo Paulette is a multi-talented instrumentalist based in Fort Smith. His first album is slated to be released later this fall.
Surging power chords, dark basslines and the trademark guitar solos of classic metal have one thing in common on Geronimo Paulette’s first album, set to be released this fall: they were all done by him.
The instrumental debut, devoid of lyrics but full of voice, plays more like a soundtrack to a movie filled with lengthy car chases and epic battle scenes than a traditional, start-to-finish album, but Paulette, 30, says he’d rather let his guitar sing the song.
“If I feel it needs something, I just add a little solo here and there,” he said.
“I’ve had people listen to my music who aren’t into metal, but because there’s no lyrics, they’ll listen to it. I know with heavy metal there’s someone growling in the background and it turns a lot of people off.
“I’m a big fan of guys who do music without vocals – that’s my inspiration. Everyone’s kinda already sung about the same thing over and over, too,” he added with a laugh.
Recorded in Phoenix, Arizona, the only addition to the young Aboriginal musician’s first EP is its studio drummer, Tommy Gibbons, who contributed to the mix after Paulette was invited there by a producer to record.
After hearing some of Paulette’s tracks posted online, musician Dan Gold pulled the Fort Smith local down south for a month to record with Aaron Carey, an engineer who has worked with the likes of Megadeth, Stevie Nicks and Sheryl Crow.
“I’m trying to make music so that once it’s done you can crank it up on anything really…When it’s done it will be a pro level for sound quality,” he said.
Paulette said he’s now just putting the finishing touches on some of the tracks, and that the album should be out by November at the latest.
Growing up around Fort Smith with five brothers, Paulette said there wasn’t a lot of extra money to get a guitar at a young age, but it didn’t stop him from making tunes.
“When I wanted to play guitar when I was little, we didn’t have a lot of money growing up because there were six of us, so my parents bought me a harmonica,” he said with a laugh.
He finally picked up the guitar in his early teens and began playing, inspired by bands like Black Sabbath, Guns N Roses and Metallica.
Now he’s listening to Joe Satriani, an American instrumental rock guitarist, multi-instrumentalist and multiple Grammy Award nominee, guitarist John 5 and movie soundtracks.
Writing songs, he said, isn’t forced but comes out of the moment – either the setting or the experience, like the song “Ghost Town.”
“I wrote it in my dad’s woodshed. I came back from Vancouver during the winter holidays and it was just dead out,” he said.
Though none of his completed tracks are out, some of Paulette’s music has been picked up by the territorial government for use in informational health videos.
He’s also developing his own home studio, both to do his own recording and help other musicians out who might not have the money to go to a studio down south.
Paulette said he’d love to eventually perform live, but that depends on finding the right guys to play the different instruments.
“Later on, if I can get a band, I’d probably write music as a band instead of a solo thing,” he said.
“But if I don’t start a band and I do another album, I’m going to do my own drums, too. I’ll be doing every little bit.”