Paul Graves is one with nature and one with his music as he claims stake to 20 acres of mountainous beauty in Wenatchee, Washington.  Graves has a lively spirit and it certainly shows in his songs.  Free yourself & escape to the wilderness with Paul Graves and he said it best here: “some of today’s youth are missing a lot because of their cell phones and other electronic devices”.  And if you want to find out more about the legend of Bigfoot then look no further because Paul “Bunyan” Graves has answers and evidence!

J Rae: So I read that you’ve been singing, writing songs and playing guitar practically your whole life.  Just like in a relationship; you have to keep it fresh so things don’t get dull and wonder does it work the same with your music?

Paul Graves: Well almost my whole life; I started playing guitar when I was 12 years old but was singing and making up songs even younger due to growing up in an art and music family.  My dad was an artist and taught art at Wenatchee Valley College for 33 years and my mom was a writer and musician/singer/actress.

Yes for sure, I have always been fascinated by the different sounds and styles a Guitar could produce.  I played my Guitar in church at a young age and acoustic folk songs at summer camp.  And in 1978 when I was in high school, I played in a punk rock band for three months but got bored with just playing three chords and moved on to play blues and  rock and roll then.  For the last 25 years or so I have played many different styles from funk to classical, jazz, country, hip-hop, folk  and everything in between; James Taylor to Led Zeppelin.

J Rae: You are from Wenatchee, Washington which I know nothing about and I’m sure many of our Skope readers aren’t familiar with this area as well.  Would you mind telling us what life is like in Wenatchee and what do you love about it the most?

Paul Graves: Ok, Washington state has two sections; Western Washington and Eastern Washington that is separated by the Cascade Mountains that run the entire length from north to south of the state.  The middle crest of the Cascade Mountains is the separating line and Western Washington has a lot more rain than Eastern Washington.  Western Washington is 1/3 the land mass of the state compared to 2/3rds for Eastern Washington plus Eastern Washington gets four seasons and more snow.  Almost 90% of the population lives in Western Washington and the greater Seattle area.  Wenatchee is situated in North Central (Eastern) Washington right at the base of the Cascade Mountains that rise up to almost 7,000 feet behind the city.  And the mighty Columbia River runs right through the town separating (East) Wenatchee and Wenatchee.  There is some of the country’s most diverse geology within 10 minutes of town either going to the desert one way or the mountains the other.

Wenatchee is also the Apple capitol of the world, agriculture is one of the biggest employers and it is a little/big city with it being the largest city within 100 miles.  Most of Eastern Washington is very rural.

The things I love the most about Wenatchee are the mountains and wilderness areas that are in my backyard; just amazing & beautiful places, few people, lots of wildlife and a lifetime of exploration if one wants.

J Rae: It states on your Facebook page that you enjoy spending time in the mountains with your wife as I can imagine the scenery is picturesque!  Can you take us there as if you were our personal guide trekking along the tranquil mountainside and winding trails in Washington?

Paul Graves:  We are just north of the summit at Stevens Pass and are now on the Pacific Crest Trail headed to Lake Valhalla, one of the hundreds of lakes that dot the area.  Giant Douglas fir trees, Hemlock and spruce intermingle with Douglas vine maple, Kinnikinnick and mountain huckleberry along with many more plants, trees and shrubs.  Every lake has water that is a different color than the next; some being jade green to aqua blue.  A black bear and her cubs are seen across the valley playing in a mountain meadow.  A Marmot whistles and a large black mountain raven squawks above.   Song birds are singing everywhere and the sound of rushing water is not far off ringing true to why these mountains were named “the Cascades”.  As we venture up the trail, there are many lakes that have no official trail so we head “off Trail” with my trusted compass and map.  We make our way to a hidden lake that takes a few hours to reach but once there it’s just us to the whole place, so we make camp, have a cup of coffee and sit back and listen to the forest and mountains.

J Rae: Listening to your original song, “Falling Snowflakes” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkqBiFnsdT4), performed live at the Performing Arts Center in Wenatchee, Washington last year, I was captivated by the acoustic guitar playing.  Right away, I picked up on a real rich, earthy texture and have to imagine that your love of nature played a huge role toward the making of “Falling Snowflakes”.  Is this a fair and accurate assumption & observation on my part? 

Paul Graves: Thank you, I appreciate you listening and yes you’re right on! Acoustic Guitar is what I play most of because I love the sound an acoustic Guitar can make unplugged and I write most of my songs on acoustic.  And yes the outdoors and nature are a big part of my song writing.  I have always written more positive songs and the influence of what’s around me is evident in a lot of my music.

J Rae: Exactly how big of a role does the Great Outdoors play when it comes to all of your music and compositions?

Paul Graves: I would say it’s a big part although I write about anything that truly affects me like love, life, death, people, the world and also science stuff.

J Rae: One aspect of your life I am totally fascinated with and that is your 23 years of research in the area of the Sasquatch/Bigfoot mystery?  I’ve been highly interested in this subject matter and very intrigued ever since I was a kid watching numerous specials and documentaries.  What initially sparked your curiosity and have you ever spotted and/or heard a Bigfoot while out in the wilderness?  In your 23 years of research, have you discovered or recovered any valuable evidence to prove that the Sasquatch in fact does exist? 

Paul Graves: That’s very cool that you have also been interested for a long time about this subject!  Yes, here in Washington state, (the # 1  state for sightings in the country), a lot of people have had sightings or other things happen that no one ever hears about especially in Eastern Washington.  And many residents know about the Bigfoots that live in mountain, desert and uninhabited areas of the state.

Yes, I had first heard about the Sasquatch when I was young going to summer camp but then in 1988 I was at my sister’s house and she had some friends over.  There was a TV show on about Bigfoot and after the show the friend looked up and said he had seen one of these things and went on to tell me about his encounter.  And from that day on I have been investigating and researching the subject and have collected a large amount of local data on the Sasquatch.

Yes, I have had two sightings and I have heard them scream and make many more sounds that they are prone to make (wood knock-type sounds, screams, roars, chest beating, chatter, gurgling, huffing and mimicking).  I have many recordings of possible Sasquatch calls; the one thing I do is analyze my field recordings in my home studio by putting them into a spectrograph or spectrogram.  All animals have a “voice print” and an HZ range, so I can look at these in a spectrograph and eliminate known North American animals.  And there is something different we are finding especially between 650 and 800HZ.

I also have a few photos of them; one is from about two feet away after hiding a game camera in a fake rock I made out of concrete.  And I have thermal video footage of something peeking around a tree then running off super fast.  I have a number of footprints also, but the main evidence, for me, is a personal sign that was left for me that included two trees tied together and weaved to make an arch.   And another arch planted and stuck into the ground right where my one main tent had been set up and small tepee structure made that lasted over three years in an area in the mountains that gets 10 to 15 feet of snow a year.   I wrote a scientific paper on the unknown hominid sign, symbols and function and this has been found and documented by many other people also.

J Rae: There have been countless sightings by people from all over the world for many years and so why do you think the public hasn’t got that definitive proof yet proving that the Sasquatch/Yeti is 100% real and a living part of our ecosystem?  Some experts/witnesses say that this unknown figure is half man/half ape and some say it’s more paranormal in that it’s a spiritual being so what’s your take on all of this?

Paul Graves: Yes, that’s a great question and one often debated among the researchers and witnesses.  I think it is a living part of our ecosystem, but it also may have eluded us because of something we simply do not know yet.  It is also possible that it’s being kept from the public by other entities for different reasons.

I think they are a type of wild people with both human and animal attributes.  I think more people should keep an open mind on some things that we don’t know about.  If you take the word “Paranormal”, a lot of people are scared of the word and start thinking purple dragons and fairytales when in reality it could be something very real but just something we don’t understand yet.  Let’s break it down, “Para” means part or partial, so the word means part normal and so I keep a very open mind on what the Sasquatch is and where they live etc…   I know in the history of man they have always eluded man, so I think there is something to this we just don’t understand yet but is probably very real.

J Rae: Besides so-called “Squatches” lurking around, there is an abundance of diverse wildlife that resides within the mountainous terrain of Washington.  Would you mind telling the Skope audience what kinds of animals one might see or come across in your neck of the woods?  Have you had any close encounters with wildlife that proved to be too close for comfort and if so how did you react?

Paul Graves: Yes, you could see Black Bear, Grizzly Bear, Cougar, Bobcat, Moose, elk, Deer, Porcupine, Fishers, Martins, Badgers, Wolverines, Marmot, rattlesnakes, Chipmunks, Squirrels, Lynx, Snowshoe hares, Salmon, Sturgeon, Ells, Wolf, Coyote, owls and Ravens.

Oh yes, I’ve had many close encounters mostly with Bears and rattlesnakes.  Depending on the animal you encounter; for cougars you make a lot of noise and make yourself look big like holding your coat next to you.  Bears you move out of the area quickly yet not running, and try to make noise when hiking in Bear country so you do not surprise a momma Bear and her cubs, which could be a very dangerous situation.

J Rae:  Much like myself you’re an animal lover and so would love to know what some of your favorite animals are and do you own pets yourself?  Also, curious to know if you’re involved with or support any animal-related groups, organizations or causes?

Paul Graves: Well this is kind of a tough question right now.  On the day I got these questions we had to put down a long time family member “Flex”, our family dog who was 81 pounds and going on 14 years old.  It’s one of the hardest things to do but you just have to love your pets every day.

I have had more cats than any other animal and have had and loved many cats over the years.  There is always an animal somewhere that needs love and that’s why I will probably get another one some day.

The animals were our teachers in the old days teaching us how to hunt and they made most of the trails that people use today and much more.  So I believe we are just really learning about our animal kingdom.  The Native American Indians know about this and if you look at their literature it makes more sense that people and animals are both created equal.  I donate cat and dog food to our local animal shelter when I can.

J Rae: I have a random question and that is why is Washington so well known for its apples?  And what’s the special quality or ingredient that separates Washington apples from the rest of the pack? 

Paul Graves: Wenatchee is the apple capitol of the world because of its growing climate. Wenatchee gets 300 days of sunshine a year, so fertile soil, long growing season and latitude all play into growing some of the best apples, pears and other fruits plus vegetables.  One of my best friends I grew up with has been in the family nursery business since the turn of the century and they had the original patent on the “red delicious apple”.  They and other growers have continued to come up with new varieties; if you’ve ever bitten into a “Honey crisp apple” you’ll know what I’m talking about

J Rae: Getting back to your music, how does it make you feel emotionally when you’re writing song lyrics, playing a tune on your guitar or performing live in front of an audience? 

Paul Graves: Mostly all of my songs I have written come from deep inside me and the emotion or feeling of the song comes through whether it’s a sad or happier song.  Some of my songs I have written like “Lenny’s Mountain”, that is about one of my cats that died, are hard to play sometimes and I wrote this particular number in about 15 minutes.

People tell me they love to hear me play and that I play with a lot of emotion and to me that is one of the best compliments.  That’s what makes music real and your own but yet something people genuinely can connect to whether it’s instrumental Guitar or songs with words.

J Rae: How strong would you say your musical palette is and would you ever incorporate new styles or elements to change it up a bit?

Paul Graves: I would say it’s pretty strong; I love a new challenge musically and I love to play with different projects and styles.

Currently, I am playing acoustic solo shows with original and cover songs and I am playing in a 3 piece funk/blues/soul group (Flatt Nasty) mostly all original.  I have also been sitting in with local musician and friend Troy Lindsey on his county project.

I really enjoy writing songs for movie or video soundtracks and believe this is another good way to get my music heard.

J Rae: Do you have any studio recordings (albums, EP’s, tracks) you’d like to talk about?

Paul Graves: Sure, I put out two albums with my band “Moss Dog”: ‘Moss Dog’ self- titled and ‘Midnight Forest Run’.  We were signed to CM records out of Seattle  in the early 90’s during the North West rock heyday and we got really good reviews throughout the country in different publications and very good responses at our shows.  My first song I wrote about Bigfoot is the first song on ‘Midnight Forest Run’ called “Mountain Monkey”.

After this band came my next project “Wooly Bugger” and we put out a self-released EP in 1999.

Then in 2002-2003, I recorded songs for my first solo album and I started to write songs for a sasquatch-related album that I would self release years later.

I also recorded 23 songs with “Cabin Fever” band that featured three Dewees’ Brothers including Dean that is a masterful Trumpet player playing with Lawrence Welk among others.

Next band project was “True Giants” as we wrote and recorded over 30 songs in under a year and put out a self-released album called ‘Fabulous Superman’.

J Rae: Are you currently working on any new music projects and where can listeners find out more about Paul Graves and his Rootsy sound?  Best spots to watch videos and listen to your songs?

Paul Graves: Yes, I am currently recording new songs and instrumental Guitar tracks in a friend’s studio for a new album with lyrics along with an album of instrumental Guitar.  I have my YouTube page where some of my original songs and Sasquatch songs can be found: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCf5CA9R-V19oGLoPJXPosvg.

I recently started to upload some of my songs to Soundcloud and that can be found here – https://soundcloud.com/user-504999276.

I also have a music Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/cascademountainmusicman/.

The True Giants songs can be heard here – https://www.reverbnation.com/truegiants.

And songs from the LEAP album #1 are here – http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/leapsoundalbum2015.

The latest band project is ‘Flatt Nasty’ and we recorded 11 songs in the studio recently and are working on a few more for a possible release

J Rae: With so many crazy things going on in the world today, do you feel that more people will eventually have to live like the elusive “Bigfoot” and hide away from society altogether in years to come?

Paul Graves: Well it sure seems that way like with me and my wife we have 20 acres on top of a mountain with solar power, water well and a couple small cabins and love to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.  And yes other people are getting back to the simple, important things in life and seem just as happy as someone with a lot of money.  I have always been connected to nature but some of today’s youth are missing a lot because of their cell phones and other electronic devices.

By Jimmy Rae (jrae2@att.net)