Ellis Brings Musical and Star Power to Café Paradiso
By Steve Cooperman
Thank you, Ember Swift. And Kevin Cook. And Arthur Lee Land. You’ll probably want to thank them as well, after you see and hear award-winning folk-rock singer /songwriter Ellis perform Saturday, February 9, 8 p.m. at Cafe Paradiso.
After the wildly enthusiastic response Ember Swift received to her first Fairfield performance two years ago, I asked her to recommend other acts. She told me about Ellis, so I headed for the internet, where I discovered Bobby Llama, the Minneapolis band she fronted before leaving to start her solo career in 2000. Their two CDs showcase a joyful jazz/funk/rock groove, not to mention Ellis’ rich, mellifluous vocals.
Then my buddy Kevin Cook came back from the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival and Song School last August, raving about Ellis’s performance and songwriting workshop, calling her one of the most charismatic people he’d ever met. Apparently, he wasn’t her only fan; her main-stage performance received a standing ovation.
When now-local touring musician Arthur Lee Land brought her name up in December, I finally got the message, immediately emailed her agent, and with the stars once again aligned in Fairfield’s favor, both sides had a February 9 opening and the deal was sealed.
The show is part of a CD release tour for Ellis’s sixth full-length recording. I’m betting there won’t be many people leaving the February show without purchasing the lush, powerful Break the Spell, which was produced by Ben Wisch (Mark Cohn, Patty Larkin) and includes one of my favorites, Jonatha Brooke, on backing vocals. With station manager James Moore as head cheerleader, the CD is gaining a following among KRUU listeners.
Fans and music critics alike have been enchanted by Ellis’s stage presence and her music, which has been described as “a journey of self-discovery and awakening.” Ron Olesko of WFDU Radio in New Jersey says, “Ellis has one of most engaging personalities that I’ve ever witnessed on a stage. Within seconds, [you’ll fall] in love with her bubbling attitude for life, and her captivating laugh has been echoing in my heart all week!” Independent Songwriter Magazine wrote, “With a voice as strong as thunder and a message as powerful as a surge of lightning, Ellis pours out her heart and soul into every single word.”
Tickets for the February 9 show are $10 at the door, $7 in advance, and $7 for students.
Ellis Brings Musical and Star Power to Café (2008)