Best Of The Batch: Ellis Paul Essentials

Though he may not always pronounce the same word in the same way, award-winning singer/songwriter always seems able to tell the musical stories that need to be told in ways that are personal and intimate yet greatly universal. On this new 2-CD set, some of Ellis Pauls greatest solo and collaborative efforts are collection in a package that acts both as a wonderful scrapbook for long-time fans as well as a broad introduction to new fans.

From a stupid Americans travelogue through enemy territory (Paris in a Day) to an ironic Christmas song (Snow in Austin), from a spiritual visit to New York (Angel in Manhattan) to a spirit-ed drop in the other American frontier (Alices Champagne Palace,) which includes the infamous rhyme between ask her and Alaska), and from a humble return to his musical and physical roots (Welcome Home to Maine) to an after-life jam session with his dearly departed inspirations (The Martyrs Lounge) , Paul takes us on voyages far and near, all on the back of his torquing voice and trusty guitar.

Along the way, Paul gets some support from some well-recorded live audiences and the legendary likes of Patty Griffin, Duke Levine, Flynn, Jerry Marotta, Mark Erelli, Bill Morrissey, Woody Guthrie, his road-weary friend Robert Wilson (who inspired Pauls most often performed song 3,000 Miles, among other stories), and his soulful brother-in-song Vance Gilbert, but it is arguably in the more private moments (such as his in-kitchen recording of Jukebox on My Grave) that his true grace shines through.

Either way, it is all here for listeners to explore, and either revisit with their own fond memories or go forth with a new quiver of singable, believable, relatable, and admirable tunes and tales. -- Matthew S. Robinson for Music Dish



updated: 9 years ago