Page is SD's incarnation of Bob Dylan

When one thinks of folk singers, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan or James Taylor may come to mind — a lone, guitar-toting songster with a quiet sensitivity, a mysterious darkness and a fierce independence.

By that definition, Gregory Page is a folk singer.

His beautiful melodies and poignant lyrics have been an indispensable part of San Diego’s music scene since the release of his first album, “”The Romantic Adventures of Harry”” in 1994. Since then, he has penned five albums of unrequited love songs and bittersweet stories that have been devoured by San Diego music fans. While Page may cringe at the idea of being categorized as a folkie — for his music transcends many genres — the romantic adventures of Page are as good as folk-singer stories come.

Born in London, Page has music in his blood.

“”I grew up in a musical family,”” he explained over a cup of coffee at a cafe in Normal Heights. “”My grandfather played the Irish pipes … so I always grew up with Irish music around. My mom played in a band that opened for the Beatles in 1965 in Spain.””

However, it was not until he moved to San Diego in 1976 that he says he discovered songwriters like Dylan and Neil Young through a friend.

In 1989, Page met up with another songwriter who would inspire him while playing cover songs at a bar called The Packing House.

“”I wasn’t writing yet … I was just playing all the songs I loved to learn.””

That other songwriter is another favorite of the San Diego music scene, Steve Poltz.

“”I met Poltz, and watching him and being friends with him inspired me to write and I wrote my first album, ‘The Romantic Adventures of Harry,’ after the bartender at this bar finally left me,”” Page said.

On 1994’s “”Harry,”” Page found the intimate style that he would come to be known for.

“”The first song that I wrote that I felt was really worth a shit was a song called ‘My Revelation,'”” he said. “”Then I wrote ‘Please Remember’ … That kind of gave me the confidence to feel like I could tell people I’m a musician without having to stutter.””

Next, Page left his stint playing bass with San Diego band The Rugburns to record an album with former bass-player John Doe, which included the songs “”Fare Thee Well,”” “”Blue”” and “”Cocktails and Cold Hearts.”” There would be three more albums to follow: “”And I look up,”” “”Music for Mortals”” and “”Grace In Arms”” — all of which are on Page’s own Bed Pan recording label, which he runs out of his home.

While his body of work is substantial, Page does not consider himself particularly prolific.

“”You can always find reasons not to write,”” Page said. “”The times I feel like I’m ready to write would be the times I’m bored … is different for everybody. Somebody like Steve, he writes all the time, constantly writing. I think I write maybe 10 songs a year.””

Prolific or not, Page has a new album coming out this year, which he says will not be the traditional Page music to slit your wrists by — even though it is tentatively titled “”Unhappy Hour.””

“”It’s the most up-tempo, happy album,”” Page said. “”This is a reprieve. Everybody gets a chance to sit back and maybe bop their heads. I love the way it sounds.””

Recorded in El Cajon, Los Angeles and his home studio, this album has a more produced texture than past Page albums.

“”I try to get that feeling of flight in music,”” he said. This is why Page originally considered calling his new album “”Fell to Earth.””

These days, Page says he’s content with where his adventures have led him.

“”I feel successful that I have enough friends to come out and see me play that I don’t have to have a job, and that is success to me.””

Lately, he’s been more involved producing (he just finished the new Jason Mraz album) than playing in public. He plays a weekly gig with his band, the Hatchet Brothers, and is a regular at Java Joe’s, which has long been a haven for San Diego folkies.

“”It’s the most famous coffee shop in, probably, the world.”” Page said.

At Java Joe’s, with the faint sound of coffee cups clanking, Page’s music can be truly appreciated. The people who fill the seats at a Page show know every word to every song. His songs have provided many people with a soundtrack to their own romantic adventures.

To order any of Page’s CDs, go to Java Joe’s online store at www.javaes.org. To get his new album, check out his CD release party at Java Joe’s on Dec. 15.

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