"Despite his success and sense of history, Mr. Paul remains an artist with his eye on the future and an interest in discovering the transformative potential in his music." - The New York Times
Some artists document their lives through their music. Others chronicle their times. It’s a rare artist who can do both, telling their own story through songs that also encapsulate the essence of people and places who have helped define their era overall. Woody Guthrie comes to mind, and so does Bob Dylan. Bruce Springsteen certainly as well. Yet few others, for whatever genius they may possess, can relate their own history to the history experienced by those who find that common bond, be it in a coming of age, living through the same realities or sharing similar experiences.
Ellis Paul is one of those gifted singer/songwriters.Though some may refer to him as a folksinger, he is more, for lack of a better word, a singular storyteller, a musician whose words reach out from inside and yet also express the feelings, thoughts and sensibilities that most people can relate to in one way or another, regardless of age or upbringing. The exhilaration of the open road. A celebration of heroes. The hope for redemption. Descriptions of those things that are both near and dear. The sharing of love..., intimate, passionate and enduring.
These are the scenarios that emerge from Ellis Paul’s new album, Chasing Beauty, a set of songs which detail, in typical Paul fashion, stories of people and places that reflect larger truths about us all. “Kick Out the Lights (Johnny Cash)” pays tribute to that fearless American icon name-checked in its title. “Plastic Soldier” offers homage to a wounded soldier returning from Afghanistan. A real-life barnstorming pilot takes the spotlight in “Jimmie Angel’s Flying Circus,” while iconic Boston blue collar musician Dennis Brennan takes the focus in “Waiting on a Break.” Even the Empire State Building and the Boston Red Sox get their due, via “Empire State” and “UK Girl (Boston Calling),” respectively.
In reality, these stories are a continuation of tales Paul has told for more than a quarter century, over the expanse of nineteen albums, numerous critical kudos (15 Boston Music Awards alone), inclusion in several movie soundtracks, and stages he’s headlined both near and far. “I’ve got a car with over 475,000 miles on it, and it's my third road vehicle,” Paul declares. “I’ve been doing 200 shows a year for over twenty years. There isn’t a town in the country where I won’t find a friend. I’m a nomad. And I’m gonna write and play until I’m gone.”
Former Rolling Stone music editor Dave Marsh says: "This is a brilliant, brilliant album. I have had this reaction once in the last 10 years and that was the first time I heard Patty Griffin."
Antje Duvekot has solidified her reputation as one of Boston's top singer songwriters with "Big Dream Boulevard" her debut studio release and "the Near Demise of the Highwire Dancer" and "New Siberia" her follow-up albums. The debut CD was produced by Seamus Egan, founder of the Irish super group, SOLAS and the project was released on songwriter Ellis Paul's label and quickly attracted international attention for Antje. It was voted "#1 Folk Release of 2006" by the Boston Globe and was named to the "Top10 Releases of the Year" by National Public Radio's, Folk Alley. Her follow up albums "the Near Demise of the Highwire Dancer" and "New Siberia" were produced by Richard Shindell and along side with Richard feature other "folk royalty" such as John Gorka, Lucy Kaplancky and Mark Erelli.
"What a blessing to have worked with someone as talented as Antje. With a voice like hers, and songs as good as these, a producer (especially a first-time producer!) just tries to get out of the way, to do no harm, and to let the artist speak for herself." - Richard Shindell
"Duvekot has gotten hotter, faster than any local songwriter in recent memory. Her songs feel at once fresh faced and firmly rooted, driven by the whispery sensuality of her voice. She believes in the redemptive power of the shared secret; and is utterly unafraid to mine the darkest corners of her life for songs that turn fear into resilience and isolation into community". The Boston Globe
Antje has won some of the top songwriting awards including the Grand Prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition, the prestigious, Kerrville (TX) "Best New Folk Award" and in one of the nation's top music markets, she won the Boston Music Award for "Outstanding Folk Act", three of the top prizes in the singer songwriter world.
Sam Baker’s new album, Land of Doubt, is quietly powerful. Lyrics are pared down to their essence, set against a stark musical landscape. This remarkable collection serves as a companion piece to his acclaimed 2013 project, Say Grace, and sets the stage for a number of creative projects coming later in the year, including a documentary, an original play, and a gallery exhibit of his visual art.
“For me, doubt is part of living. Part of being engaged in life, part of the great questioning of life. Curiosity can be fueled by doubt,” says Baker, who grew up in the small prairie town of Itasca, Texas, and now lives in Austin. “My life got better when I accepted doubt as an integral part of life. As the counterweight to hope and security. By accepting uncertainty. By learning how to live with the unknowing, I began to find beauty in the moment. Beauty in the act of being alive. And especially the beauty of music.”
Working in Nashville for the first time with producer Neilson Hubbard, Baker uses the ‘50s jazz trumpet of Don Mitchell and the sustained guitar textures of Will Kimbrough (producer/guitarist for Rodney Crowell and Todd Snider) to frame the lyrics. He breaks up the ten vocal numbers with five cinematic instrumental interludes. Setting aside his acoustic guitar, Baker plays electric for this project using atmospheric tones that linger in the sonic landscape.
“This record is a meditation, a reflection on day-to-day life,” Baker says. “The goodness, the struggle, the uncertainty. It gives me strength to share doubt. It gives me strength to hear others share doubt. With doubt comes clarity. With doubt comes hope.”
7pm doors – 8pm show | $25 adv. – $30 day of