Local coffeehouse folk vet Ellis has a CD-release party Saturday at the Cedar Cultural Center for "Break the Spell," the album she made last year in New York with Marc Cohn's regular producer, Ben Wisch. Getting to work with Wisch was a wish come true, Ellis said, but it came at a price -- a big price, in fact. Without a label, the proudly DIY singer put up the money for the studio sessions by soliciting money from some of her most trusted sources: fans.
"They're my extended record company of sorts," Ellis joked about the "handful" of devotees who loaned her funds, which she now plans to pay back through CD sales -- just like a record label.
Production-wise, the disc is a noticeable step up from previous discs, offering dramatic turns on piano, organ and electric guitar in songs such as the opener "How Would It Be" and the antiwar song "City on Fire." But it doesn't sacrifice Ellis' stark appeal. These are actually some of her most intimate songs yet.
"I felt strongly about these songs, and I knew it would take some time to get them right in the studio. But it was time well spent."
Anne Heaton opens for her Saturday (8 p.m., $13-$15).
Ellis: Break The Spell (2008)