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Ellis Paul

Ellis Paul brings Homer song to Alice's tonight

Homer News

Thursday, June 14, 2007

by Michael Armstrong

Homer has inspired a lot of local artists, and from the pop music of Jewel to mystery novels by Dana Stabenow, songs and stories about Kachemak Bay have appeared all over the world. Sometimes, visitors come to Homer, are struck by the land or the people, and years later, write about their experience.
Ellis Paul plays 7:30 p.m. today at Alice's,
Like "Alice's Champagne Palace" not the bar reopening this week, but the song written by Ellis Paul. Paul plays 7:30 p.m. today at Alice's, starting a summer of national and local music acts there. Antje Duvekot also plays.

"Alice's" came out of three visits Paul made to Homer. The song is part of his 2005 album, "American Jukebox Fables," a collection of songs he calls "something contemporary with sort of an old-style approach to writing and subject matter." Paul said he'd planned on writing something about Homer ever since he first visited.

"It took a while to get down to it," he said.

The story in the song is about a guy who arrives in Anchorage and gets a ride down to Homer.

Paul nails down Homer like a carpenter with a strong arm and a 20-ounce framing hammer.

"Homer's a town full of misfit toys / renegade women, runaway boys," Paul writes. "Everybody's got a / story here in Homer Town / I guess sometimes you gotta go / to the end of the earth / just to turn yourself around."

Lines like that came out of people Paul talked to.

"It just seemed like everybody I met was a local person from somewhere else," he said. "They came to Homer to get away to reinvent themselves."

Often called a songwriter's songwriter, Paul said he sees himself as a writer first but a writer who also loves playing guitar.

"I'm a journalist in a way; I'm trying to catch people in a moment of time," he said.

Part of the Boston folk music scene, Paul spent 20 years there before moving to Charlottesville, Va., where he now lives with his family. He calls himself a "weekend touring artist," performing Thursday through Sunday, but he'll spend more time than that in Alaska. After his Alice's gig, he performs at 8 p.m. June 16 at Vagabond Blues in Palmer. He also teaches with Duvekot June 16-19 at the Midnight Sun Songwriters Camp in Palmer.

"It gives people who aren't full-time artists to be full-time artists," Paul said of the workshop. "It can be very inspiring. This is like a three-day thing for them to be who they dream about being, which is a creative person."

Paul said he's thrilled that Alice's is reopening.

"I'm a little paranoid about playing," he said. "I love the place, I love the people."

Michael Armstrong can be reached at

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