Born at an early age in a little log cabin he built with his own hands,
Paul Anastasio began studying the violin at the age of nine. A few years
later, while continuing to study classical violin, he began to explore
the worlds of bluegrass, Texas-style fiddling, western swing, and swing.
By 1976 he was studying with jazz violin pioneer Joe Venuti and playing
with Merle Haggard as a member of Merle's band, The Strangers. After six
months with Merle, he joined Asleep at the Wheel, where he played their
eclectic mix of western swing, jump blues, cry-in-your-beer country and
swing for close to four years.
Paul then headed to Nashville, Tennessee, where he worked for three years
with Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers and two years with Loretta Lynn.
While in Nashville he backed everyone from Tiny Tim to Henry Mancini.
Escaping from Nashville in 1992, he returned to his native Washington
State. Finding that he couldn't lose enough money playing gigs, he
started his own recording company, Swing Cat Enterprises. Information
can be found at www.SwingCatEnterprises.com.
Paul has spent much of the past ten years studying the exquisite folk
violin music of the Mexican states of Guerrero and Michoacán. He has
also been teaching at music camps, where he has been much in demand in
recent years, and he writes a regular column, entitled 'On Improvisation,'
for Fiddler Magazine.