“Rory Ellis puts the “ Alt” back into Alt Country “
Rory is different to most songwriters, as he has amazing stories to tell, often
taken from all the things he has seen and the characters he has met during his
time spent out on the road, from his days living in a boxing gym, working at the
Sacred Heart Mission in St Kilda, to time spent working as a guard in Melbourne’
s hardest rooms, and seeing first hand, the seedier side of life in his 30 years
working in pubs. It gives a tangible edge to the songs, making them instantly
recognizable in your own life.
Overwhelming response to his live shows prompted the release of his first solo
album Ride in 2000. Released to much critical acclaim, it was lovingly produced
by Dave Steel (ex Weddings Parties Anything,Archie Roach).
Lyall Johnson of the Melbourne Age said,“ If you’re not deeply moved by this
superb debut by Melbourne singer-songwriter Rory Ellis, it’s doubtful you’re
Since that release Rory has gone from strength to strength with his songwriting
releasing Road Of The Braver Man in 2003, who Jackey Coyle of Rhythms
Magazine stated, "that the quality of Rory Ellis’s voice alone the richness of the
timbre, the skill of his technique, that he conveys an irresistible charisma, and
that’s not even counting his song writing skills. The first few verses I heard, I was
done for - instant fan”
It was in 2004 Rory decided to head to England and he has toured there every
year since, anywhere from 3-9 months each tour. A real troubadour doing it on
floors, couches, shoestrings, packet noodles, and human kindness to make it
work and deliver his piece of real life Australia, not what they saw on Neighbours.
Whilst in England and more recently Europe, his travels have seen him perform
alongside many greats including Richie Havens, Robert Cray, Canned Heat, Eric
Bibb and has performed at many of the largest UK Blues and Roots Festivals
including Great British R&B Festival, Shetland Folk Festival, Larmer Tree Festival,
Stokes Bay Festival, Maryport Blues Festival and countless others.
Of his performance at the Shetland Folk Festival in 2008 The Scotsman
Newspaper stated that "Ellis was another standout of 2008's line-up, wrapping
shades of Satchmo, Springsteen, Tom Waits and Chris Smither in his epically
Rory released his third album, The Rushes, in 2005, where Jeff Glorfeld of the
Melbourne Age said, “When the big fella opens up his chest and lets’ fly with that
lusty, rumbling voice, even then it's as if he's pulling back on the reins in fear of
what might happen to innocent bystanders - it's that potent.
His 4th album Two Feather’s, was released in 2008 where Brett Callwood of
UK's major roots publication Acoustic magazine said “Rory Ellis is one of those
singer/songwriters, like Leonard Cohen, who makes the hairs on your arms
stand up by simply opening his mouth and uttering a few throaty words”.
Americana UK describes his voice as “a compelling instrument, it demands
attention”. London's Time Out said of Rory” Salt of the earth country blues”.
Perfectly Damaged, Rory's 5th studio album, was released to huge overseas
response in 2010.Geoff Marsden of Blues Matters UK described it as,
“captivating”, “Jeremy Searle of Americana UK stated “It’s Ellis and his voice that
drives it though: a compelling instrument, it demands attention, effortless in its
power and the combination of that and his old school storytelling, honed in the
hard miles in puts in on the road make this a fine record”. Even our bible of roots
music Rhythms Magazine stated “Perfectly Damaged is a winner, in every sense”.
His 6th album Twisted Willow has been also widely received and the reviews
continued with a 4 star review in the Melbourne Age in March 2013 and glowing
review in Rhythms Magazine. “ Where the record really shines though and
i’ve mentioned this before, is in Ellis’ voice – so big and rich is it, that you can’t
help but be drawn in to whatever he’s singing about, feeling what he’s feeling.
It’s a voice made to sing country music which is why his music, and his album,
are so simple, yet so effective.
Rory has just completed his 7th album, Yellow, a dedication to the life of his
mum, with 15 brand new tracks and that is due for release later in 2014
You can read all the quotes about Rory , or do a Google search and all that stuff
reads very impressively indeed, but the best bet is to go and catch the guy live
and you will leave knowing that you have just made a very important visit. Great
songs, amazing stories, and a voice that comes from the depths of hell itself, you
will love it.
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