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Ellis Paul

Ellis Paul Review in UK's Maverick Magazine!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ellis Paul Review in UKs Maverick Magazine
A review of "The Hero in You" by Arthur Wood of the esteemed Maverick Magazine, to be out in the UK in the May/June issue:

Ellis Paul
Black Wolf Records

And you can be a
hero too, too, too

Ellis Paul’s first foray into children’s music DRAGONFLY RACES (2008)—it also worked for adults—picked up a Parents’ Choice Award Silver Medallion. I predict even greater success for his sophomore THE HERO IN YOU.  [Management note: Arthur predicted correctly! "The Hero in You" is a Parents' Choice Award Gold Medallion Winner!!]

During the 1970s, as a teenager growing up in Maine, Paul recalls with fondness the pioneering Saturday morning ABC television children’s series Schoolhouse Rock! Employing animated musical shorts, the show covered a broad range of educational subjects. THE HERO IN YOU follows in those footsteps and paints portraits of men and women who made a significant impact on American life. By way of reference, I’ll include the dates of their birth/death.

The album title song, which launches this collection, introduces, nay, promotes the concept ‘YOU—the listener— can become a hero.’ The estimable Stephen
Foster composed a song titled Nelly Bly. Using the pen name Nellie Bly, against all odds Elizabeth Jane Cochran (1864-1922) pioneered investigative journalism and women’s rights in an age when her gender weren’t allowed to vote. Ellis’ lyric alludes to all of the foregoing as well as her reporting of her record-breaking, round-the-world trip ala Verne’s fictional Phileas Fogg. The head White House chef during President Monroe’s administration Augustus Jackson (1808-1854) recalls how this African-American returned to his Philadelphia birthplace and established a successful ice-cream business. July 14 this year marks the birth, a century ago, of a famous folk singer-songwriter. A personal hero/inspiration to Ellis, Woody Guthrie, WorkingMan (1912-1967) recalls this hobo musician’s life. Introduced atmospherically by Native American flute, the collection’s most heartfelt tale recalls Chief Joseph (1840-1904) a humanitarian and peacemaker of the Nez Perce. Five of Paul’s American heroes are holders of the Presidential Medal of Freedom namely Rachel Carson (1907-1964) conservationist and marine biologist who sparked the global environmental movement, African-American civil rights activist Rosa Parks (1913-2005), modern
dancer and choreographer Martha Graham (1894-1991) and artist Georgia O’Keefe (1887-1986). The fifth, Jackie Robinson (1919-1972), became the first black Major League Baseball player thereby ending the game’s racial segregation. Robinson become the sport’s first black television analyst, and first black vice-president of a major American corporation. The elder statesman in Ellis’ collection is that multitalented, multi-tasking man Ben Franklin (1705-1790). Parallel to the latter’s scientific contributions, German-born theoretical physicist Albert Einstein (1879-1955) and phonograph inventor Thomas Edison (1847-1931) are praised in song. If not for Edison, I wouldn’t be writing this album review. On another musical note, this absorbing tribute to America’s heroes includes Mr Rufus Payne (c.1884-1939) aka ‘Mr. Tee Tot,’ an Alabama blues musician who mentored the legendary Hank Williams.

Sound effects, pretty much throughout, allow the listener, young and old, to engage with the subject matter in each song, while the contributing players include album producer Flynn (electric & acoustic guitar, keyboards, loops, vocals), Michael Clem (bass, mandola, vocals) and Ellis’ young daughters.