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Here are some reviews from around the world for “55”.
“Ellis Paul is a singular songwriter. That might seem like some sort of generalized characterization or perhaps even an over- zealous declaration. Yet those who are familiar with his work will likely understand the accuracy with which it’s assessed. Not only is he capable of capturing small truths and sharing them with unfettered expression, but he also possesses the means to convey those thoughts in such a way as to ensure they’re in sync with the feelings and sentiments stirred within us all. One song in particular, “When Angels Fall”, impacts in an especially emphatic way.”
The Alternate Route (US)
“With a distinctive, often soulful vocal delivery, the New Englander offers a dozen songs, each highly accomplished and highly melodic, with an immediately accessible quality. “
— My Northern Skies
“Across tracks such as Who You Are, Be The Fire, Gold In California, Tattoo Lady, Sometimes Trouble Is Good, When Angels Fall, and the album title track of 55, Ellis Paul speaks out with gentleness of force, the music is captivating and honest; and as proves 55 is a number to relish reaching, for it allows the owner to look forward of all that is yet to come.
A super album full of songs to be treasured.”
— Liverpool Sound and Vision
“The album is beautifully produced and Ellis’s guitar and piano work is fluent, melodic and expressive.
I’m sure that I won’t be the first, or last, writer to remark on the similarity between the work of Ellis Paul and that of Tea For The Tillerman-era Cat Stevens. The structure of his songs, the instrumentation and, most notably, Ellis’s vocal delivery prompt repeated comparisons with Stevens’ work – here, I found the similarities most prominent in The Gift, Be The Fire and When Angels Fall, just three of the highlights on this excellent album – and such a comparison is surely no bad thing…”
— At the Barrier
“Ellis is not a balls-out rock singer but a polished troubadour. He paints pictures with his words & renders each as picturesque originals. Decades ago, the late singer David Blue (S. David Cohen) had a similar whispery style supported by poetic lyrics. Paul has followed in that tradition & even cultivated a far wider harvest of melodies.
The CD package is a die-cut 6-panel handsomely designed with a lyric insert & wonderful Jack Looney photography.”
“The quality of the songs is superb throughout from the gentle, lilting opener ‘Cosmos’ with its bitter-sweet lyrical reference “And I used my hands till they turned to sand” to the closer ‘A Song to Say Goodbye’ telling the story of the start and finish of a romance. There’s a love song to his partner Laurie MacAllister (who delivers some stunning harmonies across the album), while ‘Be the Fire’ is advice from a father to a child.
The two songs showing the strongest Beatles influences are ‘The Gift’, a story of friendship that has a very George Harrison guitar sound while ‘Tattoo Lady’ has crowd noise and circus themes that reference ‘Sergeant Pepper’. And that’s all before we get to the three songs that push all of my buttons.
‘Holy’ is a fictitious tale of an Irish dreamer, Declan McClaren who wants to travel to America to reignite an old flame. As the arrangement builds, it adds more Celtic elements to the mix, evoking the feel of rushing ahead by train during Declan’s escape. The twist in the tale comes when we realise that the ship he’s boarding is The Titanic. The song’s ambiguous about the fate of the central character, but the records show that a man named McClaren did survive the disaster. ‘When Angels Fall’ is a song with a political message written after the Uvalde school shooting. It’s written from the shooter’s viewpoint, apart from the chorus, which has a clear message ‘Fight for your guns, or fight for your children’.”
— Music Riot UK
“The personal and the political come together for ‘Be The Fire’ and ‘When Angels Fall’. The latter takes aim fairly and squarely at the NRA in the USA. Priorities are questioned in the lyrics “Are you going to fight, fight for your guns, or fight for children.” Written in the aftermath of yet another school shooting, in this case Uvalde in May 2022, Paul reflects how his own daughters’ school was closed three times in 2021 after threats of gun violence. With this in mind ‘Be The Fire’ sees Paul co-writing with Nashville heavyweights Kristian Bush and Jon Mabe to implore his children to rise above the vicissitudes of teenage life and all that it entails in this place and time; to just be the best you can.
Dupuytren’s Contracture, a disease that tightly closes the fingers into a fist, has settled into both of Ellis Paul’s hands. Wondering how long he has left as a guitarist and a pianist before it renders playing and writing almost impossible, there is both a freedom and an urgency in Paul’s writing. As he made clear back in 2019 he hasn’t got time to faff about with things that don’t matter to him. Paul is a clever lyricist and accomplished musician and ‘55’ enhances his already considerable reputation.”
—- Americana UK
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