Painted Heart Music

In the later 1990s it became possible to burn music CDs on a personal computer.  By making their own CDs independent musicians could market themselves directly and many – myself included — started our own record companies to take advantage of this new outlet.

Starting a record company took a lot of work, not just from the musical and technical side, but from the business side as well.  Finding information about starting and running a small business of this nature proved difficult.  We eventually partnered with several local and area development groups to start a first-of-its-kind Small Business Resource Center in the Albion Public Library, which although developed too late for us, has hopefully made it easier for others to start or expand a small business.

Painted Heart Music is focused on marketing not only my music but also the music of my friends who either have lived here or have strong ties to this area.

Painted Heart’s first release was of me playing chord melody arrangements of jazz standards on the guitar. I titled it Emergence and released it in late 2002.

Within days of its release I was receiving requests for copies from radio stations in Spain, Germany and even Indonesia.  Emergence received good reviews and I was even offered a contract by a record company in England.  Subsequent releases attracted greater or lesser degrees of attention, but one CD, When I Fall In Love featuring 18-year-old local singer Melissa Casper, was a top 50 seller on the world’s largest independent music site, CD Baby, the month it was released.

When I Fall In Love attracted the attention of renowned jazz critic Nat Hentoff. A tireless advocate of teaching young people jazz, Mr. Hentoff told me he was “extremely impressed” by what I was doing with Melissa and other young musicians and promised to write about it (if he did, though, I never knew it).

Marketing via the Internet was also a great way to connect with other musicians and over time I became acquainted with other independent musicians from around the world. Painted Heart even released a compilation CD, Jazz Guitar Central, which included tracks by guitarists from both Europe and the Americas.


Here are some of the albums I’ve either recorded and/or produced with a sample song from each — just click on the song title to hear it.



Emergence features me playing jazz guitar in solo and ensemble settings.   Emergence, which received several very good reviews, contains 24 works by Gershwin, Ellington, Porter and other great composers and has received air play across Europe and Indonesia.

Over The Rainbow (Harold Arlen, E.Y. Harburg) Paul Hosford, guitar.





Blues For George is dedicated to long-time family friend and musician George Fritton.  It features instrumental treatments of jazz standards played by my father, Frank, on keyboard, our good friend Rich Hughes on trumpet and flugelhorn, and me playing a variety of instruments.

Blues For George (Frank Hosford) Frank Hosford, piano; Paul Hosford, guitar & string bass




Recorded near the end of his life in Frank’s nursing home room, Yesterdays features Frank playing unrehearsed solo renditions of his favorite jazz standards.

Ring Dem Bells (Duke Ellington, Irving Mills) Frank Hosford, piano.





Generations is an original jazz instrumental album featuring my father, Frank on keyboard, my son Thomas on Vibes, my daughter Angela on flute.  I play a variety of instruments and we’re joined by our friend Rich Hughes on trumpet and flugelhorn and Thomas’ band director, Whitney Paulson, on violin.

Alligator Wine (Paul Hosford) Thomas Hosford, vibraphone; Rich Hughes, trumpet; Paul Hosford, electric piano, string bass, drums.




18-year-old Melissa Casper’s debut album.  Melissa joined Frank, Rich Hughes and myself on this collection of jazz standards and jazz treatments of pop tunes.

Time After Time (Cyndi Lauper) Melissa Casper, vocals; Paul Hosford, guitar, string bass, flute, drums & percussion.





With styles ranging from folk to jazz, Brand New Day features the original music recorded in the old Bats’ Nest Studio in the 1980s.  This music planted the seeds of Painted Heart Music.

Never Say Goodbye (Diane Buettner, Paul Hosford) Diane Buettner, vocals & synth; Paul Hosford, guitar, guitar synth, bass, drums & percussion.





Another album of original music from the ’80s, Comin’ Home features singer Emily Walter and incorporates elements of folk, rock, Latin and jazz.

Infinity (Paul Hosford, Diane Buettner, Mary Armatys) Emily Walter, vocals; Diane Buettner, synth; Paul Hosford, 12-string guitar, guitar synth, bass, drums and percussion.





This haunting and intimate original album is my favorite.  These two songs were included in 1988 on a compilation of the best original music from Nebraska and generated  interest from record labels in Belgium and Italy.

One Of These Days-Falling In Love (Paul Hosford, Lori Hosford, Joani Redler) Joani Redler, vocals; Paul Hosford, guitar, bass, electric piano, synth, drums & percussion.




Featuring unique original music, River Of January captures the excitement preceding the birth of our first child, William, in 1991.

River Of January (Paul Hosford, Jill Anderson) Jill Anderson, vocals; Paul Hosford, 12-string guitar, bass, synth, drums & percussion.





Bill Tuttle’s grandparents lived in Albion and he spent many of his summers helping in their corner grocery store.  This album captures the influence of Nebraska’s fields and sky on Bill.

Song For My Grandfather (Bill Tuttle) Bill Tuttle, piano.





Mike is my older cousin and spent his early years in small communities near Albion.  This album is a one-of-a-kind collection of original guitar music written (or as he would say, “channeled”) and performed by Mike.

Celtic (Mike Mansfield) Mike Mansfield, guitar.





I recorded this on an antique hammer dulcimer that’s part of the Boone County Museum’s collection of instruments.

Excerpt from For Her (Paul Hosford) Paul Hosford, hammer dulcimer.






Hosanna is a collection of traditional, contemporary and original Christmas music performed in a variety of styles.  I worked up a number of the guitar arrangements while sitting in the hospital with our 2-m0nth-old son, Thomas, who was critically ill with pneumonia.

Silent Night (Franz Gruber, Joseph Mohr) Paul Hosford, guitar,  ‘cello, string bass, hammer dulcimer, cymbals.




Pianist Janet Rieck lives at the edge of the Sandhills west of Albion, and she’s the only musician I’ve ever left my studio to record.  This is her debut album and features a program of baroque, classical and romantic piano.

Raindrops (Frederic Chopin) Janet Rieck, piano






Janet’s second CD featuring works by Brazilian, American and European composers.

Nove de Julho (Ernesto Nazareth) Janet Rieck, piano.



The Painted Heart Logo

PH_Logo_1Many businesses have a logo, a symbol that conveys the essential character of the company.  In the case of Painted Heart, it seemed obvious that we should have just that for our logo – a painted heart.  Unfortunately, I’m not an artist but I sat down with my kids’ watercolors and dabbed various colors onto some paper.  Once I had some interesting blotches, I put an empty Valentine’s candy container over them and drew around it to get a heart shape.  I then scanned the result into a computer and for a while was all set.



But I soon wanted something better and turned to graphic designer John Mortensen whose brother Jeff had been in my grade in school.  John took the “painted” in Painted Heart as his inspiration and came up with a very creative logo, one which surrounded the heart I’d created with a puddle of purple paint.


PH_Logo_3Some years later my son William, who was studying graphic design, developed a great logo featuring colored hearts designed as a musical note.  We used this on my father’s solo CD, Yesterdays. When William and I started discussing graphic ideas for Generations, I told him I wanted something with a little more visual depth to it.  So we started experimenting with new logo designs.


We tried a lot of different ideas, and though most were good I was never quite satisfied.  So I started looking through art magazines.  I decided I wanted to see what something more abstract – and something where you could see the texture of the paint — would look like.




After giving it some thought I had my boys dig through the attic to find my great-grandfather Oliver Hosford’s paint palette.  Oliver was a sign painter by profession, having taught himself the trade by copying the elaborate artwork of 1890s circus posters.




Oliver was an expert woodworker as well as a sign painter and had made his own paint palette (below).  He mixed oil paint on it to create the exact colors he wanted for his signs, and the palette is covered by richly-colored, richly-textured paint splotches.




William did a great job of figuring out how to use his great-great-grandfather’s palette to make a painted heart, and I suspect this is the last incarnation the Painted Heart logo will take.


Below are two of Oliver’s hand-painted signs created in 1936 for a local business. They were found many decades later stored in the building Steiner’s Jewelry had once occupied.