Tuesday, December 28, 2010

For a Song: Blizzard

Ellis Paul: Blizzard


The subject of this week’s For a Song post was not in doubt. I live in a part of New Jersey where we got a foot of snow last night. Today was devoted to cleaning the stuff up. (Note to Dave: I just couldn’t bring myself to go out last night while it was still coming down, so I had to shovel it all today.) So a snow song was called for. I know a number of great ones, but I used some of them during our Snow week on Star Maker Machine a while back, and the rest were songs that my fellow Star Makers turned me on to then. So I had to do something I never do: I had to find a song I had never heard for this post.

I got lucky. Ellis Paul is an artist I have always heard that I ought to check out. Now I know why. I don’t see much of a subtle meaning in the lyrics of Blizzard. I see a perfect description of a man alone on the road in a blizzard. Visibility is limited, so everything looks ghostly. The plows appear suddenly out of nowhere, offering brief silent company, only to disappear again. The faint glow of the dashboard lights is the only constant. Paul captures this mood perfectly. The musical arrangement is simple, just guitar, bass, and background vocals. That’s all Paul needs to set the mood.

So, having found this song, I want to ask my readers for two favors. Can you offer suggestions for exploring the music of Ellis Paul further? And, does anyone know who the background singer is on Blizzard? Please respond in the comments. Thank you.


Blog business: In my last post, I mentioned that Tara O'Grady is raising money to make her next album. She has only until New Year's Eve to make her goal, or she gets nothing. So she needs some combination of a lot of small donations and an angel or two. Please help if you can. Thank you.


Steve MC said...

Ellis Paul is definitely a favorite here. I don't know who that is singing with him, but Amazon's page says, "Bill Morrissey helms the production and Jonatha Brooke and Jennifer Kimball of the Story raise their shimmering voices to herald the presence of Ellis Paul on this solid and honest debut release from 1993."

Also, Patty Griffin sings with him on the first song from that album, which is "Conversation with a Ghost," and one of his best.

Other favorites would be, from spooky folk to upbeat rock, "Ashes to Dust," "Jukebox on My Grave," "The World Ain't Slowing Down," "Paris in a Day," and "3,000 Miles."

And for two more, "The Ballad of Chris McCandless" follows the story of the character from the book "Into the Wild," and "God's Promise" is a stunner, with lyrics Nora Guthrie gave him from her father's writings.

Like Shawn Colvin, he's often best live, with just him and an acoustic, but all those are worth a listen.

Kathy said...

My favorite Ellis Paul CD is "Translucent Soul." I think you might like it, Darius. Check it out.