Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Review: Ellis Paul "The Day After Everything Changed"

"The Day After Everything Changed" (Black Wolf Records) is the latest from singer/songwriter Ellis Paul, a man who has made a respectable mark in music already with 14 Boston Music Awards and performances with Patty Griffin, John Mayer, Arlo Guthrie, and more. Paul honed his talents in Boston and amassed an impressive fan base that helps fund his musical career and recordings. Paul straddles the ever-blurring line between pop country and soft rock, a very entertaining (and profitable) place to be. His songs tell stories in the style of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, and his lyrics touch upon subjects that all of us can relate to.

With 15 new songs, "The Day After Everything Changed" clocks in at over an hour - plenty of musical bang for your buck. The imagery Paul paints with his lyrics is as brilliant and crisp as the artwork on his CD. According to Paul, the songs on the album are "about people who are at a crossroads in their life. I want to hear about people's joys and woes and apply them to my own. You can't fake real life stories."

Instrumentally, the CD is gorgeous - a pleasing mix of acoustic and electric guitar, piano, and some prominent banjo now and then. Paul's voice has a seasoned rasp that gives these songs a sincere edge. The CD is also very consistent, providing a cohesive listen that is perfect for moods of relaxation or reflection. Five songs were co-written by Kristian Bush of renowned pop country act Sugarland, so fans of Sugarland take note. My favorites among the bunch include the jubilant opener, "Annalee", the tender "Rose Tattoo", and infectious title track. There are some other notable cuts, but overall the CD comes across as pleasant and innocuous background music. I really wanted to fall in love with more of these songs, but even a few spins more did not generate added enthusiasm. For fans of Sugarland, Keith Urban, and Will Hoge.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 4, 7, 9, 12

Ellis Paul on MySpace. Official site.

Check out the video for "The Day After Everything Changed":

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