Strange Serendipity: The Story of ‘Dark Side of Pearl’
Wesley Adams • June 1, 2016 • Art •
You may know Paul Kimbiris if you’ve frequented the Boulder, CO music scene. He plays at local spots across the area ranging from The No Name Bar to The Fox Theater. He is a talent of the singer-songwriter art who leaves a lasting impression sewn deeply to the interpersonal. What you probably don’t know is the story of how his first album, Dark Side of Pearl, came to fruition.
In 2011 Paul was playing at Johnny’s Cigar Bar in Boulder, going through the motions of his set, playing songs that would later come to be featured on his first album, when he noticed a woman. From the stage he could only make out a shaved head and a steady smile. After his set he was approached by the friendly figure from the back of the room. Her name was Robin Hammer.
Interested to know more about his music, Robin asked Paul about it. He explained to her that most of his songs addressed the loss of his wife, Erika. They spoke briefly about the life that he used to live in Philadelphia and a new beginning in Colorado that he embarked upon, alone.
Robin asked him if he wrote and played music full-time. When he told her that he didn’t she wanted to know what was stopping him from doing so. To this Paul responded by saying that he would have to release an album, but he didn’t have the money needed to produce it. Robin asked, “What if I give you some?”
The following day the pair met at Trident Booksellers and Cafe. Robin arrived, contract and checkbook in hand. The contract stated that he would use the money given to him solely to record what would become Dark Side of Pearl. It also stated that there was no obligation of repayment nor penalty for not completing the recording process. Paul was in disbelief.
Fast forward a year and a half later, and Paul is about to complete the album. In the studio of Phil Parker, a friend and fellow artist, the finishing touches were coming together. Remembering how this process started, Paul attempted to contact his smiling, shaved-head benefactor about the soon-to-be fulfillment of their contract. With only an email address left to keep them connected he reached out but to no avail. “Email undeliverable.” He asked around within his network of locals, managing to find some people who knew who he spoke of but hadn’t seen her for a considerable amount of time.
Some months later and Paul is preparing for his CD release show at The Fox Theater, which would be his first time headlining at the famous venue. The week leading up to the show he happened across a phone number written on a scrap of paper at his home that he recognized as belonging to Robin Hammer. Finally, a chance to contact the person who helped fund about half the cost of the album he was eager to premier to the world.
Greeted by an answering machine, Paul proceeded to leave a message for her. Mid-message, a first-frantic, then calmed voice interrupted him. It was the voice of Robin’s partner, Patty Petersen. Patty had, a few days before, found the contract of Paul and Robin’s arrangement. A strange yet serendipitous stroke started to take form. Paul heard the words. Robin Hammer had passed. Diagnosed terminally ill a year prior, Robin was deceased a few short months later.
If you’re adding up the months then you might realize that the timeline of events suggests Robin wasn’t aware of her illness when investing in Paul. And Patty insisted this was the case. Light was shed on this, for Paul, only after speaking with Patty. He had reasoned that she was a person trying to leave a legacy of good deeds in her wake before moving on to whatever comes next.
There’s an underlying mystic romanticism in the way things fell together so fittingly, yet at the same time left so many questions unanswered. Whether it was profound luck or a calculated finale to the love that Robin left behind for Patty. In the end, a beautiful work, Dark Side of Pearl, was propelled forward by a generous person. An album with content that spoke an elegant and final word to the one who, like Paul, would be left at a loss for a great love.Paul Kimbiris on ReverbNation