Music Matters Review of "Speed of Trees"
Monday, September 1, 2003
The Speed of Trees, with its full band sound and songs filled with crisp metaphors that snap, crackle and pop, is Ellis Pauls best effort since the groundbreaking Stories. In this new recording, Paul turns once again to the able hands of producerDuke Levine, who not only knows a few guitar licks, but knows how to bringout the best in Ellis Paul. Each tune sparkles and shines with the touch of an artist at the top of his game. Paul tackles the big issues of love and how to express it,courage, faith and the value of words. Standouts include The Ballad of Chris McCandless, the story of a young man who leaves the privileges of an upper class life to take his chances in the wilds of Alaska, and the recently discovered WoodyGuthrie lyric which Paul has set to music in Gods Promise. Words, one of Pauls loveliest songs, with its immediately recognizable guitar melody, finally finds a permanent home here. The musical backing of the incomparable Duke Levine on
various guitars and strings, Kevin Barry on guitar, Paul Bryan on bass, and vocals by the likes of Lucy Kaplansky and Jennifer Kimball helps Paul make the leap from regional performer to national star. Lets hope that The Speed of Trees gains Ellis Paul the big
time recognition he deserves. This recording is nothing short of remarkableone of the best of the year. -- Roberta Schwartz for Music Matters