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Year 2000 Handy Award Winner Paul Rishell
Photo 2000 by Derek Dresser

Paul Rishell

I was just amazed by him. Of all the blues guys I ever met, Wolf and Son House both lived up to my ideal of who they would be like. They were so unique and so dynamic and in their own way so brilliant.

I had so much respect for both of those guys because they were so dedicated to what they were doing. They didn’t for one minute question the importance of what they were doing. It was made all the more important because of their belief in it. 

I learned from them that if you’re going to play music for a living, you have to believe in yourself 200 percent. You have to believe that what you’re doing is the right thing and that there’s no other thing for you to do. And till the day you die, you don’t ever stop playing. It’s your religion. It becomes who you are and what you are and what you do.