As we progress through life, moving from young and free without responsibilities to often being tethered and influenced by big industries, it is hard not to look back on “simpler times” with mixed emotions. While reminiscing, we experience fond memories, happy thoughts, curiosity on when we let those simple times get complicated, and sadness that we did not appreciate or live in the moment more often.
Enter Paul Colman Trio. In 2019 and 2020, the Trio— which consists of Paul Colman (vocals and guitar), Grant Norsworthy (bass and backing vocals), and Phil Gaudion (drums and backing vocals)— released remastered versions of their original independent albums that were recorded in Australia.
Turn and Serious Fun are a nostalgic trip down memory lane for both fans and the band alike. PC3 bassist Grant Norsworthy says that “these two albums were recorded and released totally independently. Self financed. Very low budget. We three were our own management, label and distribution. It was a simpler time and a simpler scene in Australia.”
The best music is often released without the boundaries that the industry enforces to make tunes radio ready. This is true in heavy music as well as soft and pop rock.
I became a fan of PC3 when I first saw them in the early 2000s in the late night tent at Creation Festival in Pennsylvania. The show was simple— no lights or fog machines or fireworks. Paul Colman’s stage presence was captivating. He engaged the crowd and taught us motions for “Run,” which appears on Serious Fun. To this day I remember the joy my wife and I had at that show. I think that shines through in these songs.
“[Making these albums in Australia] was a lot of fun,” Paul Colman told Rock On Purpose. “It was at the start of the Trio and everything was fun and exciting. I just remember having a lot of fun with the songs. Really just feeling free, not feeling like there was any genre that had to be captured or there was no record company to please. It was just pleasing ourselves. And I just remember it being great fun.”
Drummer Phil Gaudion said that during the recording of Serious Fun and Turn “there was an excitement because we had all experienced playing live together and the joy it was bringing us— that set an atmosphere I think, that we could visualize our audience.”
Many of the songs are more acoustic, stripped down versions of songs that appeared on their first studio project, New Map of the World. “Your Sweet Voice” and “The Killing Tree” appear on Serious Fun and feature impressive harmonies as the vocals take center stage on the remastered originals.
It is also a treat to hear recorded versions of songs that I have heard live but are not included on their studio albums. “Dip” is a really fun, upbeat track that sums up what Paul Colman Trio was all about. They are having a blast creating music, performing and bringing the joy and love of God to what they do.
The lyrics in their songs blend both a message about their faith with often tongue-in-cheek humor.
There is a distinct difference from Serious Fun to Turn in style and sound, as the sound was polished and refined to pave the way for a record deal. Colman reflected back on the transition from independent to being on a label with mixed emotions. “Turn was a little bit different in the sense that I was trying to renegotiate the terms of the band and in hindsight, I wish I had never done any of that. I wish I just let it be what it is: three guys doing it, but I had a lot of people whispering in my ear,” he said. Colman went on to boil the roots of the band down to a very simple and basic idea. “It was the three of us pretty much on the same page about trying to create music that made people think and yet was fun at the same time. And there’s a lot of great moments there, a lot of great moments.”
Paul Colman Trio signed with Essential Records and relocated to Tennessee, where they would release New Map of the World and One in 2002 and 2003, respectively.
As for what’s next for PC3? Grant Norsworthy told us that there are no touring plans. “I live in New Zealand. Paul’s in Nashville. Phil Gaudion is in Melbourne,” he said. “We all continue a vibrant connection with music in one way or another, but lives have diverged to a point where touring would be tough.”
However, recorded music together is a possibility. “We plan to re-release the final two indie albums (PC3 electric and PC3 acoustic – both live) this year and maybe do some more recording together.”
Find the remastered originals from the Trio and all of their studio projects on Spotify and Apple Music, or anywhere music can be streamed. Keep up with Paul Colman Trio by visiting their website at www.paulcolmantrio.com, where you can read their biography and watch some great videos the band has compiled.