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Ellis Paul

Buscadero Review (Italy)

The Day After Everything Changed


Monday, February 8, 2010

by Gianni Zuretti

How beautiful are the stories surrounding musicians. Sometimes, they end up being tales with a happy ending. Ellis Paul, born Paul Pissey in Maine, near the Canadian border, had all the right cards to become a track and field champion. As a matter of fact, at Boston College his record on the 10,000 meters is still standing. But an unfortunate accident to a knee forced him to interrupt his career, and during his rehab he learned how to play guitar. From that point on, I don’t need to tell you the rest of the story: the power and allure of music did the rest. So today Ellis is at his 16th album and he plays an average of 200 shows a year. And thanks to the economic contribution he aksed his 20,000 fans through his mailing list – a logical and necessary consequence of the current crisis that hit the music industry – he was able to realize The Day After Everything Changed. This work represents the artistic summit of a twenty year old career that the forty five year old songwriter has filled with recognition (he won 14 Boston Music Awards). He is considered by many the most influential and representative songwriter of the Boston scene. He participated in collaborations and performed with some of our favorite artists: Greg Browne, John Gorka, Patty Griffin, Shawn Colvin, Jimmy LaFave, Vance Gilbert, with whom he recorded the wonderful cover album Side of The Road (on Rounder, look for it, it is worth it). This last and long record (over 1 hour) as usual marries the two souls of Ellis: the folk one, inspired by the great master of everyone, Woody Guthrie, and the brushstrokes of a pop as discreet as it is endearing. This makes his songs unique, also thanks to a voice high, melodious and distinctive, a true additional instrument. The beautiful production of Thad Beaty and Jason Collum – who thanks to the funds raised worked in a Nashville Studio and didn’t spare any expenses - does the rest. There is also room for songs like River Road and The Lights of Vegas, that veer towards a rock almost in the Springsteen vein, but just a bit. But the bedrocks of the record are Annalee, with a powerful pop hook, Hurricane Angel, dedicated to the Katrina tragedy, a beautiful piano driven balled that blends influences from Marc Cohn, Elton John and Ellis Paul. Once Upon A Summertime, which has the pace of the songs that will stay, and in which the author produces an impressive vocal. And the record is not lacking in meaningful acoustic folk ballads, such as Walking Up to Me or the final Nothing Left to Take, recorded with just voice and guitar.

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