Review-Family Man

^ Ellis Paul Wins With "The Dragonfly Races"
Reviewed by Gregory Keer

Some CDs just sound marvelous on a car stereo while driving in the quiet of a drizzly Sunday morning with the kids still drowsy and not yet aware that they're supposed to be rambunctious. The Dragonfly Races is that kind of album. The guitars quiver to the heart, the melodies soothe and soar, and Ellis Paul's voice welcomes you into an earthy cabin of soulfulness. This is heartbreakingly good music.

A Boston-based folk singer-songwriter, Paul has fashioned a classic album for parents to share with their children. It has shades of Peter, Paul, and Mary, of Robbie Robertson, of Nick Drake. On "Wabi-Sabi," Paul evokes the gritty strains of Richie Havens as he builds to the ending chorus that has him joined with children's voices. "Abiola" tells a fairy tale with a Celtic lilt. "The Road Trip" travels the world of reality and imagination with the bounciness of an old Winnebago that might actually be able to fly. "The Little Red Rose" offers hope in all of it's a cappella goodness. "Million Chameleon March" uses the imagery of the adaptable creatures to offer a call for positive change.

The above only hints at the ever-unfolding grace and guts of this recording, which makes me wish I could bring my family over to Paul's place and hear him play in his living room. And any album that feels this close to the heart belongs on the living room stereos of parents everywhere.  ^

updated: 8 years ago