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Ellis Paul

The Fourth of July and Soaking Up My Independence

The Fourth of July and Soaking Up My Independence

Immigrants receiving U.S. citizenship on July 4, 2019 at Monticello in Charlottesville, VA.

Hey y’all!
Happy Summer!

This July 4th I was thinking about how fortunate I am to be born in the United States. In this century specifically. And while not ignoring the other obvious advantages of my gender, race, and upbringing, I’m just frankly lucky to be here.

To be in a place where I can write music, posts like this, make music videos like the one I’m soon to release for “The Battle of Charlottesville” that speak my mind openly and freely without consequence is a gift. The fact that it’s been the way I’ve provided for my family for thirty years isn’t lost on me either. I’m hit by that on a daily basis, and I’m grateful and, frankly, lucky.

I’ve worked for a good portion of it, but I was also born into this American life and it is an ocean of opportunity. I can’t deny that. I’m a musician, but even if I was a plumber twisting pipes I’d have to feel immensely lucky today.

So on the 4th, I was grateful for the bravery that unnamed ancestor showed in choosing to leave what I believe was England in the early 1800’s— he left his extended family, his hometown, his way of life to embark on a perilous journey with god only knows what would be a life on the other end. I don’t know that I’d be that brave today.

The bravery that ancestor showed still shines down on my life two hundred years later. He came to America for exactly the reason I’m babbling on about— to create opportunity for generations of his family to come. And here I am, probably in one of the first generations of his family tree to make a living that wasn’t from manual labor, factory work or farming. But it happened.

I don’t know who that ancestor was. He could’ve been a criminal, a thief, a scoundrel. A farmer, a carpenter, a saint. But he made enough of himself to eventually help me make something of me. And I wish today that everyone who is lucky enough to cross our borders no matter how, has the same good fortunes for themselves and their progeny.

I just received news that The Storyteller's Suitcase is still sitting at #3 on the Folk-DJ charts for the second month in a row and making great waves out in the world. We are planning a European release in the fall as well... this will be my most global recording in quite awhile. We have released four music videos so far with four more coming soon!
You can see the latest for “Five Alarm Fire on the 4th of July” here:

Lots of things coming up!

The New England Songwriters Retreat (NESR) takes place August 30th- Sept 3rd at the Guest House Retreat Center in Chester, CT. Imagine joining 60 other songwriters for an intensive weekend of performances, classes and late night song circles while being taught and mentored by some of the most talented touring songwriters in the United States? Join me, with this year's instructors Sam Baker, Antje Duvekot,Tracey Grammer, Laurie MacAllister, Jim Henry, Abbie Gardner and Craig Akin for a tremendous four days in an incredible setting:

If you can't make the NESR, I am also doing a 3-hour songwriting workshop this coming Saturday (July 13) at the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival. Although online registration has ended, feel free to register at the door. Particulars regarding time/location/cost can be found here:

Speaking of WoodyFest, this Friday night (July 12) I will be broadcasting my WoodyFest set live on FB only for members of my FB fans group! I'm scheduled to perform at 10pm CT (11pm for you east coast fans). This will be a first for the if you haven't yet joined the group, please visit this link:

The crazy multi-use Storyteller’s Suitcase pen with a compass, flashlight, screwdriver, iPhone holder etc. is available at the well as posters, t-shirts, books, 320-song USB and the Deluxe Storyteller's Suitcase SUITCASE (which includes within the CD, flask, journal, pen, USB, poster and special thank you postcard).
Click here for that!

Many of you know I am teaching songwriting classes online and also hosting a space online for songwriters to gather called The Song Factory Channel. The latest is a class on open D tuning— the tuning where I write the majority of songs. The class explains how to use the tunings then walks you through the steps to learn how to play "Maria’s Beautiful Mess", "The Storyteller’s Suitcase" and "The Innocence and the Afterlife". Click here for more info on all the above!

The Storyteller’s Suitcase National Tour is coming to a venue near you. Please take a look at the schedule as there are lots of great shows coming up including Boston, Asheville, Chicago, Los Angeles, Baton Rouge, Ft Worth, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Cincinnati, San Francisco. And much like the ancestor from the 1800s, I am embarking on a trip across the ocean for an European tour in March of 2020– keep your eyes open.

I hope you enjoy your summer!
Best to you!