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Paul Sutphin

Paul Sutphin

Paul Sutphin (October 1, 1918 – August 26, 2003)

Photo credit: Bill Bamberger

 

Paul Elbert Sutphin was born on October 1, 1918, in the Round Peak section of Surry County. Paul was helped early on with his guitar playing by his sister, Helen, a neighbor, Ella Snow, and also Oscar Jarrell. His guitar playing style was very powerful, and he used a thumb pick and a finger pick to play in what could be described as a “clawhammer” guitar lick. Paul was a member of several bands including the Camp Creek Boys and the Smokey Valley Boys. His strong guitar rhythm and singing were extreme­ly popular. Three of Paul’s signature tunes were “Let Me Fall,” “Lonesome Road Blues,” and “Nobody’s Business.” Paul always had a smile on his face and exuded a happy spirit both on and off the stage.

Paul worked as manager of Surry Concrete and later got into the home improve­ments business. No matter what, Paul always had a story to tell and loved to talk about his experiences playing music. In 1996, Paul received the North Carolina Folk Heritage Award. He passed away on August 26, 2003.

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