Paul Downes

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Paul Downes
Origin Devon, UK
Genres Folk
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, composer, producer
Instruments Guitar, mandolin
Years active 1968—present
Associated acts Phil Beer, Joyce Gang, Arizona Smoke Revue

Paul Downes is an English folk guitarist, singer and composer. He has appeared on eight albums with bands, three highly acclaimed solo albums and has over 150 session credits. He has toured every concert venue, theatre and festival in Britain,[citation needed] plus many tours in the USA and Europe, as well as appearing in cabaret in the West Indies and newsreading on US radio.[1]

Born in Devon, Downes played classical guitar in his youth.[2] He played a solo recital in Westminster Abbey at the age of 16 and subsequently took up folk music.[1] From the age of 12, his best friend was Steve Knightley; then at 16, they met Phil Beer. After giving up a promising academic career, he went on the road as half of the folk duo Downes and Beer.[2]

The pair met Bill Zorn, who had just left the Kingston Trio, and formed the Arizona Smoke Revue.[3] When Zorn returned to the states, Downes toured with Pete Seeger before being asked to sit in on the first Joyce Gang gig.[1] The Joyce Gang [4] are an Anglo/Irish roots band with whom Downes has recorded five albums. He still plays with the Joyce Gang and as a solo artist, as well as occasional reunions with Phil Beer and Arizona Smoke Revue.

Paul has recently formed a collaboration with Mick Ryan, several of whose songs he had previously recorded. Paul plays guitar for Mick's folk opera The Navvy's Wife and they are currently (2009) touring as a duo.

He is a supporter of Exeter Rugby club.[2]


Downes and Beer[edit]

Arizona Smoke Revue[edit]

  • Arizona Smoke Revue
  • A Thunder in the Horizon
  • The Blackwater Boys

Joyce Gang[edit]

  • Joyce Gang
  • Sober for a Week
  • Deadhead can't dance
  • In yer face - Live
  • No True Road


  • Still Life
  • Life Goes on
  • Directly
  • Overdue
  • Life restored (reissue of Still Life and Life Goes on)

with Mick Ryan[edit]

  • Grand Conversation
  • The Navvy's Wife