Ellis Paul

REVIEW: Ellis Paul “55”


Ellis Paul – 55

This set is from an award-winning singer-songwriter who celebrates his 30th anniversary as a touring musician. He’s recently faced some challenges. The LPs title refers to his age & that he admits he’s not struggling with the idea of his age but the consequences of it since he faces health issues that may compromise his ability to play.


The new 12-song collection is filled with reflective storytelling. So, there’s a little light at the end of this sparkler. So, comes 55 (Drops June 9–Rosella Records) produced by Maine’s Ellis Paul (vocals/acoustic 6 & 12 string guitars/piano/keyboards/electric guitar pads). His 23rd LP that was recorded in studios in Woodstock, NY & Crozet, VA.

Many musicians have faced issues – I noticed Bob Dylan during concerts plays one maybe two songs on guitar then switches to a keyboard for the duration — that may or may not be plugged in. Eric Clapton had alluded to arthritis, Phil Collins can no longer hold drumsticks, Lindsay Buckingham had a heart bypass & we know the challenges faced by Joni Mitchell & the retirement of Linda Ronstadt. The baby-boomer rock legends are aging.


My point? Those in Ellis’ 3-decade loyal audience who want to hear him can still do it. There are many capable musicians who can pick up the slack. If writing is an issue there are computer programs that help to translate. Rocky Marciano fought on with a broken split nose & won. Ellis Paul will too.

Songs like “The Gift,” have dreamy but potent backup vocals that recall 60s pop singer Bobby Rydell who always had excellent backup singing on his singles. This tugs a little on that nostalgia for me & it works on this song. “Gold In California” has a nice James Taylor earthiness & facility.


Ellis is not a balls-out rock singer but a polished troubadour. He paints pictures with his words & renders each as picturesque originals. Decades ago, the late singer David Blue (S. David Cohen) had a similar whispery style supported by poetic lyrics. Paul has followed in that tradition & even cultivated a far wider harvest of melodies.

The CD package is a die-cut 6-panel handsomely designed with a lyric insert & wonderful Jack Looney photography.

Highlights – “Cosmos,” “Who You Are,” “The Gift,” “Holy,” “Gold In California,” “55,” “Everyone Knows It Now,” “Tattoo Lady” & “A Song To Say Goodbye.”

Musicians – Mark Dann (bass/electric guitar leads), Radoslav Lorkovic (piano/keyboards/Hammond B3), Eric Parker (drums), Laurie MacAllister & Seth Glier (bv), Abbie Gardner (dobro/bv), Mark Easley (acoustic guitar) & Tiberius Logic III (violin/flute).

Color image courtesy of Jack Looney. The 47-minute CD @ https://www.ellispaul.com/

Song premiere – https://americanahighways.org/2023/03/27/song-premiere-ellis-paul-55/


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