Paul Siebel was born in 1937 in Buffalo, NY. After serving in the military, he began playing folk clubs, eventually moving to Greenwich Village, where he found support in the coffeehouse circuit.
In 1969, a collection of songs he made with David Bromberg caught the attention of Elektra Records. Two classic albums followed: Woodsmoke and Oranges (1970) and Jack-Knife Gypsy (1971). The two albums made him a musician's musician. The songs were covered by, among others Willy DeVille, Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Jerry Jeff Walker, Kate Wolf, Mary McCaslin, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, and Leo Kottke, but songwriter Paul Siebel remained unknown to the larger public.
After 1971, his songwriting production stopped. Siebel became depressed and developed drug problems. Now and then his name came up in interviews with other artists. Kristofferson tips his hat to Siebel in his song "The Pilgrim". He played in McCabes in 1978, which was considered a come-back, and was on a 1977 LP (1992 on CD) Music From Mud Acres, though mainly in the liner notes. Siebel was a guest at Jerry Jeff Walker's 1987 Birthday Bash in Austin, Texas. He did not write any new songs.
In 1996 Folk Magazine Dirty Linen tracked him down and talked with the then-58 years old bread-baker (Issue #64, June/July 1996).
In 2004 Elektra released a compilation CD with all Siebel's songs. The booklet contains an interview by Peter Doggett where Siebel - now working for the county, taking care of local parks - looks back on his career.