Gary Paul Hermus
New Jersey, United States
Contemporary Folk / Singer/Songwriter
Dubbed “The Singing Storyteller" by Staten Island Source’s Barbara Russo, Gary Paul Hermus brings a poet's ear for words, a cinematic eye for detail & an actor’s insight into character to his songs. He melds what the Folk Project called, "intricate finger style guitar work & intelligently crafted lyrics" with a “ . . . down-to-earth personality & relaxed attitude.” He doesn’t see himself as “blown sideways” by life; he’d call it “laterally enhanced.” His rich colorful life & eclectic musical journey winds through his songs. Winner of the 2006 Xtreme Folk Scene's Song Contest for, "The Man In the Black Chapeau," he also holds a B.A, in Psychology & Masters degrees in Public Administration & Computer Science.
Born 1950 in the slums of Brownsville, Brooklyn, NY, the eldest of three sons, Gary's home was poor yet rich; with little money, but filled with music, theater & poetry. He began studying piano at age five, learning to read music while learning to read words. Though he later left piano behind, it left him with a love for melody. Spending his childhood Summers on his grandparent's farm in rural upstate New York, he learned to love bucolic settings & bluegrass music. But it was around the council fire as a Boy Scout that his love of storytelling emerged.
At thirteen, Gary was playing guitar in local "Battles of the Bands" when a love of acting led to New York City's High School of Performing Arts, where he studied drama by day, playing by night at the Peppermint Lounge, the Purple Onion, the Cheetah & other night spots. He continued acting studies at HB Studios, acting Off-Off Broadway while playing international folk tunes throughout New York City in the late 1960's & early 1970's at The Bitter End, The Village Gaslight, Folk City & elsewhere.
To make ends meet, Gary also played bass guitar on club dates, becoming versed in the standards. There he met pianist Al Israel, who introduced him to the subtleties of Latin music, leading to studies with famed Latin bassist, Victor Venegas. Gary did a short stint with "Bill Jeffcott & the Swamprockers," then joined the bluegrass band, "The New York Frets." But his long love affair with Brazilian jazz began playing bass with Brazilo-Cuban fusion band "Satie." Satie moved into World Music in the 1980's as "The North American Udu Band," but separated shortly thereafter. Gary then joined the country band, "Shotgun Wedding" followed by a stint with the Classic Rock group, "Joined @ the Head."
When J@TH broke up in 1999, Gary returned to writing, emerging in 2002 at small clubs & open mikes. In 2003, he played coffeehouses throughout Northern New Jersey & New York, expanding to new venues like the Folk Project's Fall Festival & appearing on Ralph Litwin's cable TV show, "Horses Sing None of it" in 2004. 2005 saw Gary adding appearances on blowupradio.com’s “Folk You!” and their Hurricane Katrina benefit to his expanding list. He followed up on winning the Xtreme Folk Scene Song Contest with a triumphant appearance at XFest 2006. He continues to appear in clubs throughout the Northeast & Mid-Atlantic. His debut CD, “Sid’s Gaseteria,” is now available on CDBaby.com.