Ellis Paul in Concert
Maine has produced some amazing folk musicians, and one of those many mighty is Ellis Paul, who grew up on a potato farm in Aroostook County. He took the folk "scene" in Boston (and the nation) by storm in the 1990s, winning an unprecedented 13 Boston Music Awards. Now based in Charlottesville, VA, he spends much of his life on tour and in the recording studio. He's a favorite at Falcon Ridge but rarely makes it to Ithaca, so mark your calendars.
Long a leading voice among singer-songwriters, Ellis Paul is ranked with Billy Bragg, Shawn Colvin, and Ani DiFranco for his urban, literate, folk/pop style. Although his songs are snapped up for film and TV soundtracks, he remains authentic: unique, without pretense, never imitative. He's got it all: great voice, skilled guitar work, remarkable lyrics, charismatic stage presence. With poetic, powerful storytelling and tunes with a "hook," he gracefully builds a bridge between his populist heroes Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger and contemporary issues and outlook. It was his request to perform for the Cornell Folk Song Society specifically on September 11, when he is likely to share many songs from his latest (and 15th) album, The Day Everything Changed. Ellis Paul has "the sensibility of Bob Dylan and Bill Morrissey delivered with a passion that sets him apart," declares Performing Songwriter Magazine.
Although many singer-songwriters fall into the trap of introspection, Ellis Paul has always had a strong sense of commitment to community, thanks to his small-town upbringing and years as a social worker in Boston, trying to keep poor kids out of trouble. That humanism is what drew him to Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. Old friend Bill Morrissey says, "Ellis Paul has a sense of roots, of connectedness to the whole history of folk music; he sees the thread that runs through all the generations of this music."
Nora Guthrie asked Ellis Paul to perform at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame tribute show for her father Woody, and he was also made an honorary citizen of Guthrie's birthplace, Okemah, OK, in recognition of his success in reviving interest in the Dust Bowl troubadour. Nora writes, "Wise, tender, brilliant, and biting, Ellis is one of our best human compasses, marking in melodies and poems where we've been and where we might go if we so choose to. Personally Ellis, I'm goin' where you're goin'!"
Tickets are available at Ludgate Farm Market, Ithaca Guitar Works, Greenstar Co-op, Autumn Leaves Bookstore, Bound for Glory, and at the door. You may also order tickets online.
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