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Ellis Featured in UK's Penny Black Music Mag!

September 17, 2012

Ellis Featured in UK039s Penny Black Music Mag
When Ellis Paul received a track scholarship to Boston College, performing folk music was the furthest thing from his mind, but then an athletic injury forced the Maine singer-songwriter to shift direction. Though he had played trumpet in high school and enjoyed Maynard Ferguson and Stan Kenton jazz charts, folk music had not yet fueled his passions, but he had to kill time while recovering, so he randomly picked up a guitar and began writing and writing and writing.

After receiving his degree in 1987, Paul would become an important figure in the Boston School of songwriting, a style based on intelligent and imaginative lyrics, and he began to play open mics several times during the week at night, while working a day job teaching inner city kids, an experience that would likely provide insights later used in his career as a purveyor of “family” music.

In the early 1990s he met Ralph Jaccodine, his future manager and together they founded Black Wolf Records. During the next decade, Paul would enjoy major exposure on the Windham Hill Records compilation, ‘Legacy II’ and meet Bill Morrissey, who introduced him to the works of Woody Guthrie, Mississippi John Hurt and Randy Newman, another life altering event.

Paul became a die hard Guthrie enthusiast and, after meeting the iconic folksinger’s daughter, Nora, he was asked to perform at a tribute at Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His repertoire, thereafter, while mostly made up of originals would include a Guthrie cover and since then he is a frequent staple at Guthrie fests. In fact, he was even asked to finish writing a song that was found amongst lyric sheets in the Guthrie archives.

Fourteen Boston Music Awards and seventeen albums later, including his latest CD, ‘The Day After Everything Changed’ which was fan funded, Paul continues to perform more than two hundred times per year and has developed an enviable fan base, who enjoy his poetic lyrics, sophisticated finger picking and ability to bridge tradition and contemporary styles, while keeping it real.

A prolific writer, his work excels in a number of mediums, including popular American films and live performance, where he attracts all-ages audiences because of his onstage ease and everyman appeal. Many of his lyrics convey a strong admiration for nature and global awareness, but even love, when tackled, is communicated with a no-holds-barred authenticity.

Paul discussed breaking into the music scene, the process of writing moving lyrics and his admiration for many of his peers in the business with Pennyblackmusic.


PB: You were originally from Maine, Ellis, but after living in Boston you relocated to Charlottesville. How did you break into the music scene in both locations and how do the scenes differ?

(Recent interview with Penny Black Music.. to read the full interview, click on the link!)

Full Penny Black Music Feature Here

updated: 5 years ago