Westport Roots Festival 2018 Artist Spotlight: Joseph Huber
In a 2014 interview with NPR Music, Konrad Wert asserted that the purest pleasure of playing music lies in the musician’s connection with an audience. “In a live show, it’s an interaction,” he said. “It’s almost a conversation, with a listener and a musician.”
Along with a number of further accolades, Wert’s stage persona Possessed By Paul James has taken home the award for best alt-country album at the Independent Music Awards, reached the top 20 of Billboard’s country/bluegrass charts, was an official showcasing artist at SXSW 2016, and was listed as one of the 20 most important singer-songwriters of our time by No Depression.
But all that acclaim doesn’t even begin to get to the heart of what this singer-songwriter actually encompasses. While also defying all the stereotypes of a typical touring musician, Wert’s greatest strength lies in his desire and ability to connect, to make an impression on people’s lives – whether that’s from the stage, in front of a classroom or at home with his family.
In his non-musical life, Wert is a devoted husband, father of two, and has been a special education elementary school teacher for nearly 20 years. Born into a Mennonite family, he has credited his parents for his passion for and dedication to service. But as Possessed By Paul James, he’s traversed the United States and Europe as a stirring one-man act. He’s connected with audiences on a human level – with a deep, tender sense of honesty and conviction in his songs. He’s also created a transcendental experience for these audiences, possessing the charisma and command of an evangelist bellowing from the pulpit. A gifted songwriter, a rousing singer, and a master of several instruments – including banjo, fiddle, guitar and percussion – he’s a singular force on any stage he occupies.
So, it’s fitting that he’ll be closing out Westport Roots Festival, and I guarantee you, his set will be well worth staying up on a school night for. Possessed By Paul James performs on Sunday, May 27, from 12:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. on the Westport Saloon stage.