Unlie their rock and pop counterparts, folk musicians don't suffer when they get older, says 33-year-old singer/songwriter Ellis Paul, who performs tonight at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Augusta.
"I want to be doing this well into my 40s," said Mr. Paul, in a phone conversation from Decatur, Ga., where he has been playing at the folk/rock club Eddie's Attic.
Tonight's performance will be the musician's Augusta debut.
Winner of various songwriting awards, Mr. Paul says he has drawn crowds of 300-plus folks at Eddie's Attic, but he's not counting on a particularly big turnout in Augusta.
"I don't expect a mob scene to be forming," he said.
But that's OK. He's trying to build up a grass-roots following, as any true folk singer should. He's taking it town by town.
In classic troubador fashion, Mr. Paul tours extensively, playing roughly 200 dates a year.
It's just him, his guitar and his harmonica.
As time allows, he heads back to his native New England to work in the studio on a follow-up album to his 1996 independent release, A Carnival of Voices. He has two other recordings: Say Something (1993) and Stories (1994).
Tonight, he'll play selections from each album and work in some new material. Expect a set of 20 songs lasting 60 to 90 minutes.
Critics compare Mr. Paul with songwriters such as Bill Morrissey, John Gorka and Bob Dylan.
"As a songwriter, if you haven't been affected by Dylan, then you're not really doing your job," he said.
Mr. Paul began writing songs when he was in his early 20s. While attending Boston College on a track scholarship, he got injured and picked up the guitar to pass time.
An English major who dabbled in poetry, Mr. Paul said he had an edge in the songwriting department over musicians who had been playing since their early teens. "I tried to make (the writing experience) translate (to songwriting)," he said.
What: Songwriters' Showcase featuring Ellis Paul
When: 8 tonight
Where: The Unitarian Universalist Church of Augusta, 5501 Walton Way Extension
How much: Tickets are $10 at the door and $8 in advance at Fat Man's Forest-Main.