Alan Paul (author)

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Alan Robert Paul (born September 7, 1966) is an American journalist, author, musician, and blogger.[1]


Paul was born September 7, 1966, in Anchorage, Alaska. He was raised in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, graduating from Taylor Allderdice High School in 1984.

While attending the University of Michigan, working for The Michigan Daily student newspaper, he met his wife, journalist Rebecca Blumenstein, who is now the Deputy Managing Editor of The New York Times.[2] Paul worked at the Hudson Reporter in Hoboken, NJ for one year after graduating in 1988. Upon his graduation in 1989, the couple moved to Tampa Bay, Florida. Paul became a stringer at the St. Petersburg Times.

Paul became Managing Editor of Guitar World in February, 1991, and stayed in that job for five years. During that time, under the guidance of Editor in Chief Brad Tolinski, it became the leading musician's magazine in the US. Paul oversaw production and editing and interviewed and wrote about many guitarists, notably the Allman Brothers Band, the doors, Metallica, and many blues artists, including B.B. King and Buddy Guy.

The couple moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1996, when Blumenstein was hired by the Detroit Bureau of The Wall Street Journal. Paul was a Guitar World senior writer, also handling Online Editor duties, and began branching out more, writing for diverse publications such as SLAM Magazine, The New Yorker, People, and Entertainment Weekly.

Living in Beijing, Olympics coverage and music career[edit]

In 2005, Blumenstein accepted the China Bureau Chief position with the WSJ.[3][4]

By March 2007, Paul had participated in a jam session with saxophonist (and US Diplomat) Dave Loevinger and guitarist/repair technician Woodie Wu. Paul named the group Woodie Alan, in honor of the late Allen Woody, as well a pop-culture nod to American film autuer Woody Allen.[3] By September, the group had added bassist Zhang Yong and drummer Lu Wei (drummer).

In May 2008, Woodie Alan was named 'Beijing Band of the Year' in City Weekend Magazine's readers poll.[5] The group began recording sessions for an album that would eventually be released in May 2009 as Beijing Blues.

Paul was named 'Online Columnist of the Year' by The National Society of Newspaper Columnists in honor of his The Expat Life column.[6] One month later, he began covering the Beijing Olympic Games for, as the "Beijing Blogger". as well for the WSJ. He wrote hundreds of posts, covering the Games and events, and how the Olympics were being viewed in Beijing.[3]

In September 2008, Woodie Alan toured outside of Beijing, headlining the Xiamen Beach Festival for more than 5,000 people. Their performance was recorded and later broadcast throughout the Fujian Province on television to more than 44 million people. They then traveled to Changsha, where they appeared live on three radio shows as well as performed live.[3]

In November, they toured Nanjing, Suzhou, and Hangzhou, at which they performed at the Asia Pacific Harmonica Festival. Blumenstein's expatriate assignment ended in December, and the family moved back to their home in Maplewood.[7]

Big in China[edit]

Big in China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising a Family, Playing the Blues and Becoming a Star in Beijing, Paul's memoir of his time in China was published by Harper in March, 2011.[8] It received favorable reviews. Ivan Reitman's Montecito Pictures optioned the book for a movie, with Reitman attached as director and producer.[9]

One Way Out[edit]

In February, 2014, Paul released One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band (St. Martin's). The product of 25 years of reporting on the iconic band, the book was hailed as a "thorough account" by Rolling Stone[10] and "definitive" by Guitar World.[11] The book, which features a foreword by founding drummer Butch Trucks and an Afterword by founding drummer Jaimoe, debuted in the Top 10 of The New York Times hardcover Non Fiction Best Sellers list. In October 2014, the Allman Brothers played what they called their final shows- six nights at New York's Beacon Theater. Paul covered the shows extensively, filing reports for Billboard,[12] The Wall Street Journal[13] and Guitar World.[14]

The paperback edition of One Way Out was released in February 2015, and included a new final chapter on the band's final year.[15]

Texas Flood[edit]

Paul and Guitar World writer Andy Aledort wrote Texas Flood: The Inside History of Stevie Ray Vaughan, to be published August 13, 2019, by St. Martin's.[16] The book includes Foreword by Double Trouble drummer Chris Layton, an Afterword by Double Trouble bassist Tommy Shannon and an epilogue by SRV's brother Jimmie Vaughan.[17] This book was also an instant New York Times bestseller.[17] The book was reviewed by author Alan Light in the December 8, 2019 New York Times Book Review. The review called the book "illuminating," noting that, "An oral history is only as good as its sources, and 'Texas Flood' is thorough and far-reaching, with Vaughan's bandmates, crew and family taking center stage." [18]


  1. ^ "Alan Paul: Kind of (Beijing) Blue". 2011-03-11. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d "Rebecca Blumenstein | Resnick Aspen Action Forum". 2011-04-04. Archived from the original on 2016-02-02. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
  4. ^ "'WSJ' Names Blumenstein China Bureau Chief – Editor & Publisher". 2005-08-25. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
  5. ^ "Beijing's Best Restaurants and Bars". City Weekend. 2008-06-06. Archived from the original on 2012-03-21. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
  6. ^ "Column Contest Winners, Going Way Back – National Society of Newspaper Columnists". Retrieved 2016-01-29.
  7. ^ "China bureau chief named WSJ international news editor". Talking Biz News. 2008-07-05. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
  8. ^
  9. ^ McClintock, Pamela (2011-03-22). "Montecito Acquires Film Rights to 'Big In China' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
  10. ^ [1] Archived April 18, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Book Review: 'One Way Out: The Inside History of The Allman Brothers Band'". Guitar World. 2014-02-18. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
  12. ^ Alan Paul (2014-10-29). "Allman Brothers Band Puts Focus on Duane Allman at Final Beacon Theatre Show". Billboard. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
  13. ^ "Allman Brothers Band Channels Late Founder as Final Show Approaches". 2014-10-28. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
  14. ^ "Duane Allman's Three Beloved Les Pauls Are Reunited Onstage for the Allman Brothers' Final Stand". Guitar World. 2014-12-10. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
  15. ^ "Allman Brothers Book _One Way Out_ Updated with New Material; Jaimoe's Jasssz Band to Play Release Party". 2015-02-25. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
  16. ^
  17. ^ a b
  18. ^

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