CD REVIEWS

One Skin Cover

One Skin

Rory Ellis

Independent

Rory Ellis is probably better known in Europe than here in Australia but his latest release, One Skin, is set to change all that. Rory is a rough diamond who has taken nine albums to reveal the shine that original music brings to a dour music scene and One Skin comes from that place where all great music comes – the heart. Infused with 12 months of inspiration stemming from the love for his partner, Rory has come up with 10 songs that traverse the landscapes of love, domestic violence, corporate greed and estranged fathers. Check out the ode to love of the title track, the amazing Rust On The Chain, the wordplay of Spin and the love that shines through on Living The Dream. Rory’s tone is sometimes gruff, sometimes plaintive, sometimes joyous but always ready to seep into your heart and soul and make you think. Call it blues, call it Americana, call it folk, call it what you will but at least call it up and have a listen.

Jodie Crosby : Country Music Capital News July 2017

 

Rory Ellis

One Skin

Independent

Over the course of his solo career, which now extends to eight full-length releases since his 2000 debut, Ride, Rory Ellis has slowly but surely cemented his place within the Australian Americana scene. Perhaps not as prolifically as others within this wide-ranging genre, but what he’s done, he’s done well – latest release, One Skin, is no exception, and in fact stands as his most considered, and best, work to date. Ellis’ weapon is his voice. It’s deep and dark timbre is stamped all over this album, rich and warm, the perfect foil to his acoustic guitar, flourishes of chromatic harp (courtesy of Christian Marsh), a smattering of electric guitar to give a bit of edge (Andrew Toner), with Paul Robert Burton providing bass. Another of the big man’s weapons is his knack for telling a story, and so One Skin draws you in with tales of love and family, fear and joy. A country troubadour to the bone, Ellis has hit the nail on the head with this one, the man getting better with the passing of time.

Samuel J. Fell Rhythms Magazine August 2017

 

Rory Ellis

Yellow

(Independent)
“It’s my most personal to date,” is how folk troubadour Rory Ellis describes his latest release, and this isn’t something to be taken lightly. In the relatively few years Ellis has been plying his trade (a fair way from his old life, as bouncer at some of Melbourne’s most notorious hotels in the ‘80s and ‘90s), he’s become known for wearing his heart on his sleeve. So to call Yellow his most personal, you know it’s going to hit deep. Inspired in large part by his mother, a collection of stories and memories from her life, the album covers a lot of ground. From the upbeat, pedal steel-led opener ‘Balmoral Street’, which exhibits Ellis’s easy command of country music, through to the slow and steady ‘Goodbye Grace’, delivered in his almost impossibly deep voice, this is a considered work, a true folk album in that the stories take centre stage, as opposed to the playing or instrumentation. Ellis has recently relocated to the UK indefinitely and Australia has lost one of its quiet achievers. The fact he’s left us with this record, however, is a silver lining. 
Rarely does someone put such truth and honesty into their music – this must have been hard for Ellis to do, but he’s done it with little fuss, much care and even more confidence A fine record.
Review By Samuel J. Fell, Rhythms Magazine, November 2014

 

Rory Ellis 

Twisted Willow 

(Independent)

Each release from this trusty troubadour cements my esteem for his understated talent.  I’ve been progressively impressed by his voice (big, rich and welcoming as a hearty beef stew), his songwriting (catchy rolling rhythms and soulful tunes) and the no-bullshit personality delivered in his lyrics.  With his sixth album, I’m overwhelmingly struck by his poetry – Twisted Willow is thick with killer turns of phrase. As always, the stories describe Ellis’ latest activities and observations.  The road warrior, wearing his heart on rolled up sleeves, is never corny maudlin or clichéd. He describes his ‘Right Hand Woman’ on the opening track: ‘She’s tough / she’s enough’; no back-handed compliment but meant in the noblest possible way. 

The title track intrigues:  ‘A razor blade to slice the buds, should fruit appear to bear / and when I find that perfect Sunday, I will not be there’.  ‘floordrobe’s piling up again…’ he sings in celebration of his beloved but limited finery on ‘Dirty Clothes’ (‘they come when I whistle and they jump right on my back’.)  Ellis annually plies his trade across the globe yet maintains a realistic outlook on the biz.  ‘The Road Is Not My Friend’ dispenses with any romanticised view of clocking up miles and sleeping rough.  He faces up to the regrets of being a dad at a distance, falling foul of small-time crims and other realities of touring life.  Elsewhere, his distinctly Australian droll and dry sense of humour punctuates the pensive notes.  ‘Too Fat To Do That’ is a toe-tapping confessional from a man who enjoys his tucker.  Threatening to ‘lose it’ when thrust into territory wars with a van vendor, he warns ‘Gonna wrap those metal signs of yours around your skinny neck.’  Playing various strings, Ellis recorded and produced the lot with minor assistance from Dave Steel (mandolin, Dobro), daughter Carly (piano) and Paul Robert Burton (mix and master).  Folk, blues and country shades combine to form another captivating chapter in the Rory Ellis almanac.  I’m yet to decode all the lyrics within; the true poet providing us a challenge to relish beyond first listen.

Review By Chris Lambie, Forte Magazine, March 2013.

 

Rory Ellis 

Twisted Willow 

(Independent)

Something I’m always keen on, another record from Victorian troubadour Rory Ellis. Ellis himself is larger than life, and this personality of his comes through in his records, in the stories he spins, in the way he crafts his albums; Twisted Willow, his sixth offering since 2001, being no exception. Getting a bit more adventurous, Ellis recorded and played every track on this one, with the exception of some fine piano from his daughter, Carly, on ‘The Road Is Not My Friend’, and some sweet mandolin and dobro from the ubiquitous Dave Steel on ‘The Woodstore’ and ‘Bullets To Bite’ respectively. It’s mainly the man himself though, and you can tell he’s more than comfortable now; this is what he does, and he does it well.

Twisted Willow gets pretty down and dark, sonically. It’s very much a country record, road-worn and weary, Ellis’ vast touring experience woven into every word and turn of phrase, the bass deep and thumping, guitars riding bare-back over the top. 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 it is he’s singing about, feeling what he’s feeling. It’s a voice made to sing country music, which is why his music, and this album, are so simple, yet so effective.

Review By Samuel J. Fell Rhythms Magazine, February 2013.

 

Rory Ellis 

Twisted Willow 

(Independent)
The road is a crucible for working musicians who seek to live on the strength of their guitar strings and stories. They can break on the wheel or learn who they truly are in the nightly swirl of other people’s lives. Rory Ellis has been clocking up the kilometres for more than a decade, a respected figure here and abroad, and has been burnished and made strong by the life he’s chosen. Playing pubs and halls the world over, looking out at a different audience every night, the travelling man must be able to sling out a country tinged song like If the Drugs Don’t Do It, easily shifting to the rocking Doggin’, and the folk blues of The Woodstore. Ellis’ songs are full of keen impressions and feelings, sung in a voice that is always true and expressive. The Road Is Not My Friend is a bittersweet ballad, nicely balanced by Right Hand Woman, about gaining strength from a loving partner. Apart from a little help from Dave Steel on dobro and mandolin, Ellis plays all the guitars, banjo, percussion and various other instruments on the album

Review By Jeff Glorfeld, The Age EG, March 1st 2013. ★★★★

 

Rory Ellis 

Perfectly Damaged 

(Independent)

The anticipation of a new Rory Ellis recording is like waiting for along overdue holiday.  Finally you down tools, press ‘Play’ and shake off the working week.  Ellis’ take on local and universal themes is as honest and lively as ever.  Tim Hackett’s octave mandolin sets a breezy tone as ‘Waiting for Armaguard’ welcomes the listener in classic Ellis style.  Next, he meets an amigo between the Badlands and Old Blighty down ‘Jesus Lane’.  The title track is a wry self-portrait set to a workhouse pulse while ‘The Gravy Train’ rolls along in a toe-tapping hillbilly rhythm.  ‘65 Pontiac’ is a haunting love song with a blokey twist, before the rocking ‘Skeleton Hill’ has a go at corporate fat cats.  You’d swear the Tennessee Three had wandered into the studio to sit in on ‘The Gift’ – a true story with a ripper punchline.  Ellis then puts the album to bed with ‘Flesh and Bone’, a message to his special sons; Its touching simplicity shows that Dad ‘gets’ them.  There’s fine accompaniment from sideman Tim Hackett (lap steel), Tim Burnham (drums) and bass (Grant Cummerford & Barry Stockley).  Ellis is assured on guitars, mandolin and piano but the wonder of his work is anchored in his distinctive vocals.  Kicking back for a taste of new Ellis tunes is like going home.  In a class of his own, I can’t imagine my record collection without him. 

Review By Chris Lambie Forte/Tsunami,  December 2010.

 

Rory Ellis 

Perfectly Damaged 

(Independent)

Around two month ago, I got a text message from local troubadour, Rory Ellis, who was over in the UK at the time. This is nothing odd  Ellis regularly totes his folkin’ blues over to the British Isles, he’s over there almost as much as he’s home, plus we’ve stayed in semi-regular touch ever since I first interviewed him back in 2007. What made this particular communication a cut above however was the mention of Ellis’s new record, Perfectly Damaged, he was keen to send me a copy, almost as keen I’d say, as I was to hear it. So the record duly landed on my desk some two weeks later, found its’ way into the CD player, and not long afterward, my opinion of Ellis as a musician changed forever.

Sounds ominous, no? Well fear not gentle Ellis fans, for whilst I’ve always been an admirer of what this man has done in the past, it’s this record, his fifth, that has put him, in my mind, up there with some of the best this country has to offer in the folk/blues/roots category. To put it succinctly, Perfectly Damaged is a little gem, a whiskey-smooth mix of lethargic toe-tappers, of country laments, of haunting ballads, of rockabilly spirit woven through a blues ethos, all combining to create what is, I think, easily Rory Ellis’ best work to date.

Not only is this record a sonic delight though, but lyrically Ellis has stepped it up a notch too. A note to his autistic boys through ‘Flesh And Bone’, looking on the bright side as you grow old through ‘Perfectly Damaged’, the tongue in cheek wishes of ‘Waiting For Armaguard’ (my personal pick), all show Ellis as the top tier songwriter he is, taking normal events (for the most part), and making them accessible. Combined with the music itself, Perfectly Damaged is a winner, in every sense.

Review By Samuel J. Fell Rhythms Magazine,  November 2010.

 

Rory Ellis 

Perfectly Damaged 

(Independent)

Well what a simply brilliant surprise. Somebody I’ve never seen or heard or even heard of for that matter turns up a gob smacking trumps. There weren’t too many clues when I picked up the sleeve apart from the art work being vaguely reminiscent of the design of “Alabama 3’s” excellent “Last train to Nashville”. To my amazement it’s very much in the same vein in many ways. Getting interested yet? It’s simply the best album I’ve heard in months (and I’ve heard some).

It starts off with the brilliant “Waiting for the Armaguard” a number loosely based around thoughts of a hold up. Next it’s the turn of “Jesus Lane” with echoes of “Ghost Riders in the Sky””. Whereas “Gravy Train” borrows from the “Rock Island Line” account and “Perfectly Damaged” has “Sixteen Tons” feel to it. “Not Much” on the other hand could have been written by the likes of John Hiatt on a good day. “The Gift” by Johnny Cash similarly. It may not be strictly a blues album and I know some people might have a problem with that. However I found it captivating from the off and it gets even better as you get acquainted with the lyrics and the hooks. Don’t pass on this one it’s an absolute gem.

Review By UK Geoff “The Silver Fox” Marston,  Blues Matters,  October 2010.

 

Rory Ellis 

Perfectly Damaged 

(Independent)

It’s been multiple years now since hearing Australian troubadour Rory Ellis for the first time. I was in a car listening to the latest batch of CD’s through for review when suddenly this tornado of a voice ripped through the stereo speakers and exploded in my face. Since then – every single release I’ve anticipated with huge excitement. This new one then was no exception.

Ellis’s productivity over the last few years has been both blistering and brilliant. Slowly but surely carving a name for himself on the UK roots scene, the hard work is paying off, and it’s with consistently quality records like this that keeps people coming back to his shows.

With a voice like a freight train one minute and soothing lullaby the next, along with great acoustic guitar accompaniment and decorative lap steel flurries throughout, you can hear the quality in the record right from the start. It is however after a few listens when the album really starts to reward you. A slow burner usually turns in to a brilliant piece of work, and slow burners are something Ellis has a habit of producing.

Stand-out tracks on this record include the brilliantly infectious ‘Jesus Lane’, and the almost rag-time sound on ‘Street Angel House Devil’ – however as usual with this man’s work I’m finding new favourite tracks on every listen, which again is something Rory’s songs just have an uncanny knack of doing. 

The standard of songwriting is first class, both witty and poignant – and something else that stands out on this record is the fact the artist has taken the time in the sleeve notes to comment on each song, and the reason behind writing it. It gives each song that bit more depth of understanding, which is something lost in the digital age. This guy truly is the real deal as far as musicians go. It goes without saying this record comes recommended, but then so does his entire back catalogue. Do yourself a favour and go and buy the album.   

Review By Phil Daniels, Folking UK, August 2010.

 

Rory Ellis 

Perfectly Damaged

(Independent)

Australian singer-songwriter Rory Ellis has one of those voices you just can’t buy – rugged, gravelly, it oozes been there done that credibility and the words that emerge from deep in his throat are rough enough to use as sandpaper. His fifth album is self-confessedly heavily autographical and he dreams of armed robbery (“Waiting For Armaguard”), finds God (“Jesus Lane”) – somewhat surprisingly in Cambridge (UK not US) in a song that has melodic echoes of “Ghost Riders In The Sky” – and most poignantly and movingly on the closing “Flesh And Bone” attempts to both understand and explain his two autistic sons.“65” Pontiac” provides a bit of left field fun as Ellis hymns what in the liner notes he claims as “the love of his life” in terms more commonly used for a soul mate that breathes (”I never fell in love until I saw your body, you were blue and I was there”) and offers the great line “if you love something, why set it free, you’ll only want it back.” All this is set to a soundtrack of driving acoustic guitar with some nice bits and pieces added (steel on “Street Angel House Devil”, delicate percussion throughout). 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.

Review By Jeremy Searle, Americana UK, August 4th 2010 

 

Rory Ellis 

Perfectly Damaged

(Independent)

Australian singer-songwriter Rory Ellis returns with his fifth studio album, an upbeat blend of 11 alt-country and blues-influenced tracks. Based around acoustic guitar and banjo, this is good-time, toe-tapping music sung by a man with a voice gravelly enough to give Kris Kristofferson or Tom Waits a run for their money. Good-time music with a dark edge and lyrics that take you by surprise. Dreams of robbing armored trucks, old cars, music business rogues, finding Jesus, bungled cocaine busts in Devon, annoying neighbours, aging disgracefully and computer dating – all these get a mention here. Standout tracks include the growling menace of the title track, the twanging guitars of ‘Pontiac’, and the hummable country bounce of ‘Street Angel House Devil’.
www.roryellis.com     

Review By Gareth L Powell, Acoustic Magazine, UK, December 2010

 

Rory Ellis 

Perfectly Damaged

(Independent)

There is something of the wanderer about Rory Ellis, both in the style of his music and as a guitar totin’ traveller. His style is in the troubadour blues camp, though a little more country tinged, and naturally reflect people, places and methods of getting around, mainly cars and trains. “Perfectly Damaged”  is exactly the sort of album that you would expect from an open road philosopher, it reflects the life’s and stories encountered as well as revealing an insight into his inner soul, by including songs that are personal to him. A good collection of songs from the tracks.

Review By  www.fatea-records.co.uk/magazine/releases.html

 

Rory Ellis 

Perfectly Damaged

(Independent)

An Australian roots singer who is at the core of this album as writer, singer, producer, player and label president. He has a rich, deep, resonant voice and gives these songs their focus. The music has touches of blues, country, folk and rock often within the same song. This is the singer/songwriters 5th studio release and furthers his exploration of life as it is lived and observed by Ellis. Again nothing here is troubling the frontiers of roots rock but it makes for a very enjoyable experience that fans of such artist as Ray Wylie Hubbard might well enjoy. It is rugged, ragged and rough-cut and it rocks. This is the kind of music that rarely gets an outing on radio outside of particular specialist shows but if it did it would find a wider appreciative audience. His songs tackle subjects that include corporate condescension (Skeleton Hill), current means of meeting (PC Love), cocaine (The Gift), greed (The Gravy Train) and two-faced bad attitudes (Street Angle, House Devil). He can also look inward as he does on his songs Flesh and Bone where he writes about his two autistic twin boys. This he does with compassion and understanding. The music is as robust as Ellis’ voice, the gravel in his voice is equally matched by the gravel in the music, which runs from rock hard to righteous introspection. There is no doubting the appeal of Rory Ellis and that those who encounter his music, live or recorded, will find an artist true to himself and his music. That’s when the damage will have been done

Review By Lonesome Highway June 2011         http://www.lonesomehighway.com/music-reviews/2011/6/5/rory-ellis-perfectly-damaged-self-released.html

 

Rory Ellis 

Perfectly Damaged

(Independent)

Armed with his guitar or banjo, Australian alt.country star Rory Ellis presents his fifth studio album ”Perfectly Damaged” to the world on June 27th. Rory Ellis is a native Australian but during the years working as a musician he somehow acquired the taste for the UK as his second homeland. Ellis started touring the UK for the first time in 2004 and has since then come back now and then to stay there on tour around the UK and the mainland. Musically this album is a mix of blues and country. From straight forward country songs like “The Gift” to a great blues track like “Street Angel House Devil”, Perfectly Damaged delivers a collection of good-time, toe-tapping songs, seasoned with the gravelly voice of Mr. Ellis. Together with his subtle acoustic instrumentation, his powerful vocal command brings the vivid stories from perfectly damaged to life. The leading track “Waiting for Armaguard” sounds like a crossover with folk and country. On “Jesus Lane” Ellis proceeds on bit further on the folk path, but the title track of the album is drenched deep in southern blues. Another nice song on the album is “Gravy Train”. This time Rory Ellis mixes old time country and rockabilly into something of his own. “65 Pontiac” brings out the best of the complete album and is my hot pick on ”Perfectly Damaged”. Think Tony Joe White meets Sixteen Horsepower and you have an idea of the killer tune “65 Pontiac” that is burned on this silver platter.
Mixing blues, folk, hillbilly, country and rockabilly into something exciting and wild is without doubt the best way to describe ”Perfectly Damaged”. The album comes with enough diversity and genres that labelling it with Country would do it some damage in certain way, however this is not your average Americana as well and the moniker Americana would certainly not serve well for this album. Check it out for sure!
Review By Mr. Blue Boogie, BillyBop Belgium, June 6, 2011, Rate (1-5)  album rating: 4 out of 5 stars.  http://www.billybop.be/admin/CDdetail.asp?ID=10203

 

Rory Ellis 

Perfectly Damaged

(Independent)
With Rory Ellis the discussion starts and ends with The Voice. That’s how it sounds like it should be written- with the first letters capitalised. Its and imposing instrument big and commanding, it’s like if Rory said jump you would reply “How High”. Lyrically and in the delivery there’s an air of menace too. On the songs waiting For Armaguard, “gonna shine my shotgun, try my luck, cause I’m waiting for the Armaguard truck” and the title track, the narrator fixes the listener with a smile that is more threatening than any scowl. But when The Voice rumbles up from the depths Ellis sounds like a man in need of comfort. On songs such as Jesus Lane and Not Much, he’s maybe been away from his Melbourne home for too long, seen too much, had his faith tested too often. Ellis is a storyteller with and ear for quirky yarns, and a couple here are a bit wide of the mark, such as PC love, a lament for the online generation. Musically it’s a good sound for Ellis, the pared-back instrumentation dominated by his guitar work and a punchy  mix from  Barry Stockley.
Review By Jeff Glorfeld, The Melbourne Age ***1/2 /5 star review

 

Rory Ellis 

Two Feathers

(Villainous Records UK)

Melbourne’s 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. Two Feathers is his latest effort, and it’s an incredible piece of work. His heartfelt tales of life, like ‘Passenger’ and ‘Suburban Soldier’, can be related to across the globe, yet he somehow manages to sound very Australian.

Review By Brett Callwood, Acoustic Magazine UK, February 2009.

 

Rory Ellis 

Two Feathers

(Villainous Records UK)

“A beguiling voice of an entirely different stripe!”, Rory sings with such basso profound resonance that in the old days some record buyers would have been jumping up to switch the turntable speed to 45rpm, only to discover that they had also voided their bowels in the process.

Rory’s new album Two Feathers is, not surprisingly, superb so thoroughly suffused with rootsy character, down home integrity, and proper old-school humanity that it’s like listening in sepia to an altogether better and more dignified world.  From the sawing country blues of Bringin’ Daddy Home, to the brooding, ruminative acoustica of the title track, it’s a piece of work alright, setting the film reels in your mind flickering into life and unrolling an endless highway vista before your sub-consciousness”.

Review by Marco Rossi, Dorset Echo,UK, June 2008

 

Rory Ellis 

Two Feathers

(Villainous Records UK)

“Ellis is one of that group of musicians that just are. He is neither blues/folk, nor country, instead, he is an amalgam of the best of all three, fused together by one special ingredient, Rory Ellis.

Although every note and line of Two Feathers comes from the heart, this is music that refuses to be hurried. Like a mighty river Two Feathers gets to the end in its own good time and carries all before it. The essence of Two Feathers is that of a powerhouse performer, a keen-eyed observer and a conscience seeking a voice. In the face of such odds what chance does mere genre have? This is a Rory Ellis album anything else is window dressing of his choosing.”

Review by Berwick and Borders Gazette, UK, July 2008

 

Rory Ellis 

Two Feathers

(Villainous Records UK)

“Salt-of-the-earth country blues” 
– Time Out London 2008

 

Rory Ellis 

Two Feathers

(Villainous Records UK
Two Sides to Rory Ellis
Rory Ellis has no problem singing what’s on his mind. On his fourth album, Two Feathers he takes on everything from the Iraq War to Satan and he takes it all and wraps it in an Americana-roots style. On the opener, “Passenger” Ellis sounds like a folky version of Burl Ives, while “Home Tonight” is a brilliantly intense bluegrass tune that sounds like it would be right at home on an Allison Krauss and Union Station album. He takes on ruthless business owners on “Work” asking “Did you sign that thing where the devil gets to rule your soul?” Ellis also takes on the Iraq War with lyrical ferocity in “No Love in This War,” saying “Why don’t you run on home/ The sun is setting down in your home town/ And your children cry all alone/…/ So when your engaged and the bullets are firing/ That’s when her teardrops start/ ‘cause you’re no good to her in a casket.”
He’s not pissed throughout the entire album however. Ellis does a complete reversal on the tribute to his daughter. “Little One” is heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. He croons that “I’d fly from this window to be with you, and I’d break every bone in this body to show you I can.” One of the best things about the album is Ellis writes a sentence or two about why he wrote the song in the liner notes, which gives the listener a better understanding of the song and makes it more intimate.
Two Feathers is an intense and engrossing album. It showcases Rory Ellis’s songwriting and voice, and both are so powerful, that even if the music doesn’t grab you, his singing and writing will.
Review By Tim Wardyn, Music Critic, June 2008 our score: 4 out of 5

 

Rory Ellis 

Two Feathers

(Villainous Records UK)

Urban Folkie Rory Ellis cuts a commanding figure, Visually he’s the kind of man you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley

(something that came in handy in his past life as a bouncer at some of Melbourne’s less than salubrious pubs) but when you meet him and talk to him, you find he’s one of the most affable characters on the roots music scene in this country. It’s the combination of these two things that define this man, and ultimately his music.
This is highlighted to a tee on Ellis’s new record Two Feathers, which seems to be on first listen the sum of all his musical parts so far. It might seem odd that a bouncer would deviate, career-wise, so far to become a folk musician, but this is a move that Ellis had to make and our scene is all the better for it, as one listen to Two Feathers will attest. This is a masterful record-it boggles the mind that Ellis waited so long to get into this particular part of his life.
Don’t be confused, though: this isn’t the man’s first record, it’s actually his fourth, and as I said, it brings together all the strengths of his previous work and lays it bare for all to hear. This is fantastic.
The first thing you notice is Ellis’s voice,. It’s as deep and dark as you’d expect it to be, looking at him, but what you might not expect is the tenderness it displays. It’s the perfect foil to the record’s folk melodies, its touch of the blues, its troubadour feel, helped in large part by some fantastic musicians in Dave Steel, Chris Wilson, Tim Neal, Peter Luscombe and Barry Stockley.
Ellis sings of what he knows- life, the effects of said life, trouble, happiness- and as a result, this record is as real as the dirt beneath your feet, as the sky over your head and the heartfelt emotion you’ll feel having listened all the way through.- A winner in every sense.
Review By Sam Fell, Inpress Magazine Feb 25th 2009

 

Rory Ellis 

Two Feathers

(Villainous Records UK)

I think I said last time that a new Rory Ellis record is a little like Christmas for me, such is the impact this artist has had on my musical palette over the last few years. A musician of extraordinary consistency, he brings not only a bunch of great songs to the fore with his fine storytelling lyrical style and staggeringly expressive vocal, but also an actual atmosphere descends on the listener — whether you be listening on record or to him perform live. It’s a real event. Anyway, album number four is here and has, like the last, real competition to contend with. Both his two previous outings — the nearly live record ‘Road of the Braver Man’ in 2003 and 2005’s

‘The Rushes’ were pretty close to the best albums I heard in those particular years and so not only is there anticipation with this new offering, also real intrigue. Can he really better the last one again?
The answer is yes — but in a different way this time. The last two albums had stand out tracks that instantly popped out at you on first listen, and stayed there whilst the slow burners quietly bubbled their way in to the mix. This album however is full of slow burners. I’ll admit, I was almost a little disappointed on first listen. Such was the impact his previous two records, and to a lesser extend his first album ‘Ride’ had on me, I was expecting to be blown away — but I wasn’t.
However, after another listen it sounded that little bit more familiar, and then slowly but surely the big songs came, and the even bigger songs then overtook them before I realised this whole record is yet again another work of pure musical brilliance.
There is so much poignancy and longing in this record, more so than before I think. Songs of the suffering and pointlessness of war, songs of close family being all too far away. Thoughtful, vivid lyrics executed with that inimitable vocal delivery that we have come to expect and appreciate. The slide guitar sounds that have become almost a trademark in Rory’s work are in evidence again, along with the use of banjo in a few tracks. The instrumentation and vocals sit hand in hand perfectly to create yet another superbly put together piece. So, business as usual you could say — but with a much bigger distribution deal in place this time around it is hoped that this record will finally propel Rory Ellis in to the big leagues in this country. He may be Australian, but he’s currently this country’s biggest secret and needs to be heard. Go and buy this record, and his others after that. I hate the use of the phrase life-affirming when writing about music, but this artist comes pretty close to being given that tag. Like I said, it’s an event when you listen, and everyone loves a good event

Review By Phil Daniels, Folking, UK, July 2008

 

Rory Ellis 

Two Feathers

(Villainous Records UK)

Rory Ellis glares menacingly from the cover of his new disk on the Villainous label. At first listen these portents seem utterly misleading. Ellis embraces each song with a voice like a big, warm, comfortable doona, and the musical accompaniment, led by Dave Steel on guitars (plus dobro and mandolin) and Tim Neal on Hammond Organ, is delightfully free flowing and adept.

As a songwriter, Ellis isn’t a typical blues man, owing more to the storytelling traditions of rural Australia. But there is an overriding feeling of melancholy to much of the music here, a sense of the blues deeply felt, and a sad man can be a dangerous man.

This then is a record that reveals its many moods gradually, from the tender Little One to the angry No Love In This War. Backed by many of Melbourne’s finest players, including Barry Stockley on bass, Peter Luscombe on drums, Matiss Schubert on violin, Kerri Simpson and Chris Wilson on backing vocals, this is another mighty effort from a musician who keeps improving. Catch him playing around town before he heads back overseas.
Review By Jeff Glorfeld  The Melbourne Age, March 20th , 2009  ★★★★/5

 

Rory Ellis 

Two Feathers

(Villainous Records UK)

Rory Ellis is a singer-songwriter from Australia and Two Feathers is his fourth album, but the first that I have had the pleasure to hear. His style is heavily influenced by blues with some seamlessly integrated country and folk flavourings, but the most striking thing is his deep, resonant baritone and his excellent Nina Simone like phrasing. Ellis composed all the material on the album and he has a wonderfully poetic use of words. Each of the songs includes a brief explanation of the circumstances that inspired the composition. Judging by the number of lyrics that cover the subject of travel and the prevalence of British references, he must spend a lot of time on the road and a large proportion of that time in the UK. There seems to be weariness in his view of life on the move and pondering how this life has affected his relationships. Rollin’ On and Bringin’ daddy Home are both full of feelings of home-sickness. Take me away was written on Brighton station before commencing on a journey, Home Tonight was written in Leicester and is a contemplation of another night in a hotel room, and Little One (written in Southampton) muses on the love for a daughter that he wishes he could see more often.

Passenger is a contemplative song about the more figurative journey through life and references the song, Life’s been good to me, that appeared on the last Johnny Cash album. The album is not all about travelling and he writes about the racially motivated riots in the Cronulla area of Sydney in Suburban Soldier, No Love In This War covers the feelings of a soldier sent to fight in a foreign land for a war he doesn’t understand and Wrong Side Of The Tracks looks at the wasted lives of youths who hang around the streets of his home town. Dear Satan is about transgression and temptation and could have appropriately been called Sympathy For The Devil, if someone hadn’t thought of it first and Darlin’ Man is a tender eulogy to a friend and fellow musician who liked his drink a little too much. “Ellis’s marvelously rich and warm voice would be enough on its own to whisk you away into a reverie, but when this is allied to his exceptionally well crafted songs it makes a potent combination”.

Review  by Michael Hingston, Country Music People, UK, July 2008 rating 4.5 out of 5

 

Rory Ellis 

Two Feathers

(Villainous Records UK)

Australian singer-songwriter Ellis is a regular visitor to these shores, appearing at festivals and clubs all over the UK. Like many of his countrymen, his style borrows from American roots music, but doesn’t concentrate overly on any one genre. Country, blues and folk styles all get an airing, but standing centre stage is always the song, and more often than not, Ellis has a story to tell.
Subjects vary from Australia’s involvement in the Middle East conflict to more personal tales of juvenile derring-do, but all are delivered in Ellis’ rich, deep voice – an instrument that might just be unique – and the production is warm and sweet throughout. Hopefully Two Feathers will be the record that breaks through to a mass audience, but if crossover success remains elusive, that’s no reason for you to miss out.
Review by Rob F, Leicester Bangs July 2008.

 

Rory Ellis 

Two Feathers

(Villainous Records UK)

A voice so deep and gravelly, if this had been released on vinyl you’d swear your turntable was playing slow.But there’s something wonderfully enticing about it, from the Hammond organ to the clever guitar work. Imagine Kris Kristofferson with a sore throat and you’re getting close. Old fashioned bar music from the Wild West.

Review by John Anson “The Guide” Lancashire Telegraph, UK, July 18, 2008

 

Rory Ellis 

Two Feathers

(Villainous Records UK)

Excellent album that deserves attention from Australian singer/songwriter. This is the fourth album from Melbourne based Ellis who ploughs a furrow between the fields of folk and blues helped by a distinctive baritone and a gift for an arrangement within which to frame his narrative lyricism. There are fiddles, banjos, guitars and even the trusty Hammond here. Songs about compulsory unpaid overtime; Work;, race riots in Sydney; Suburban Soldier;, a hint of self-pity; Rollin On; with its wonderful steel guitar, the shattering of innocence and the lack of excuses for war; No Love in this War; and the beautifully fragile title track that examines childhood and its dreams with the gorgeous refrain; with two feathers in my fingers I thought that I could fly;.

The quality occasionally dips as the tunes fail to live up to the sentiments; the aforementioned; Suburban Soldier; is meant to be a harsh marching beat and ends up sounding like a dirge but this is an occasional fault. Even a highly sentimental song to his daughter; Little One; remains just the right side of the tracks thanks to some exquisite playing and backing vocals. This is a long album but Rory Ellis puts few steps wrong. The production is sympathetic and energetic. All instruments get their own space to breathe and the spaces around them add to the mix; subtle splashes of colour such as the horns in; Take Me Away; have an almost Rubinesque feel about them which is high praise indeed. Sometimes an artist shoots himself in the foot by self-producing; not the case here. Beautifully packaged too!!

Review By Keith Lovejoy, Americana UK, July 24, 2008

 

Rory Ellis 

Two Feathers

(Villainous Records UK)

“Two Feathers” is where Blues meets Country and is one of the best releases I have had the pleasure to sit back and listen to for a longtime. 
Review By Ray Phillips, Country Harvest (Feb 26, 2009) 

 

Rory Ellis 
The Rushes

(Independent)

When the big fella’ opens up his chest and lets fly with that lusty, rumbling voice, even then it’s like he’s pulling back on the reins in fear of what might happen to innocent bystanders_ it’s that potent. Which might be why he tends to keep a lid on things, really only cutting loose on a couple of numbers, the rocking Road Of No Return and the deeply moving My Old Man’s Coat. Rory Ellis is one of those quintessential Australian singer-songwriters with buckets of talent, heaps of stories to tell, and impossible to pigeonhole. He’s got bluesman in him, some soul belter, red dirt country and home grown folkie. The songs tend to move at an amble, as if the man just won’t be rushed. But songs like Domestic Overload, Up Stumps and the splendid I’m Not Gone speak of a restless spirit. Ellis is buttressed by the magnificent guitar playing and production of Dave Steel. Special treats include Kerri Simpson singing on two tracks, and the man whom Ellis most resembles in vocal style, Chris Wilson on harmonica. Steel’s old Weddos mate Mark Wallace adds accordion to a few tracks

Review By Jeff Glorfeld, The Melbourne Age, March 2006  ★★★★/5

 

Rory Ellis 

The Rushes

(Independent)

Here’s one to gently blow away Sunday morning cobwebs. From the opening title track, Ellis brings his stories to life with rich, deep vocals and polished guitar work.  Music styles range from the singer-songwriters signature “Urban Folk” through to rumbling blues and countrified bluegrass. Longtime Ellis collaborators fill out the big sound, including multi-instrumentalist Dave Steel, Sandy Brady on bass and John Parry on drums. There’s no mistaking the harmonica work of Chris Wilson on the ominous ‘Road Of No Return”. The interplay between his harp and the didgeridoo of Glen Romanis builds the track to a thrilling climax. A touch of gospel infuses ‘Bojangles’ (about the old St Kilda nightspot) with Kerri Simpson on backing vocals. A quieter, pensive mood echoes through I’m Not Gone’. Shifting between rootsy influences and tales of humour, pathos and sentiment, this is Aussie songwriting at its best. There are so many great lines: ‘Cause’ I’m a hardened soul/ with a weakened heart’ (‘The Rushes’) and ‘saw the lights through our red eyes/ talked the cheap end of white lies (‘Old Friend’). Of Melbourne’s infamous urban criminals from the ‘The Underworld’- ‘they make us cringe but hey/ hey make the news.’ True stories of love, mates, life on the road and on the streets, and childhood memories combine on this beautiful album

Review By Chris Lambie, Forte Magazine, Jan 2006

 

Rory Ellis  

The Rushes

(Independent)

Since I started writing album reviews I don’t think I’ve ever longed for an album to be released quite as much as I longed for this. Seeing Australian singer/songwriter Rory Ellis give a taster of things to come on this record at his live shows just heightened my anticipation. So, when he called to say it’s in the mail, the postman couldn’t come quickly enough. Was it worth the hype……..damn straight!

This guy oozes ability. His songwriting is personal and brings to life the places he’s seen and things he’s experienced. The lyrics paint such a vivid picture that you are just transported into his world. You are seeing the things through his eyes and feeling the things that he felt. The musical backdrop only enhances the imagery conjured up by the lyrical content, and one of the main reasons you feel this imagery in such an inspiring way is Rory’s vocal delivery. He has one of the most expressive voices I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. The style of his writing and composition is delivered with a vocal of a man who has definitely lived his songs. Weathered and gravelly for a number of songs, his voice then suddenly becomes sultry and soul filled to bring out different qualities in the material.

The brilliant ‘Road Of No Return’ is an instant standout with its infectious groove, lap steel guitar licks and quality use of the Didgeridoo to end. However, once you have listened to this record a number of times you’ll grow to love every track. The one that is really sitting at the top of the tree for me at the minute is the fantastic ‘The Underworld’. Rory has written a number of songs about his brushes with the gangster culture of his native Melbourne, and this is another. In true Rory Ellis style, he draws on the experiences and paints the picture, with minimal acoustic guitar accompaniment to just highlight the atmosphere. It is these brilliant individual pieces of work combined that make this album very special.

I thought it would take a lot to top the last album. I’m still not sure which one would win if I had to seriously choose. What it does demonstrate though is that Rory Ellis is producing material of such a high standard that his last two records have fallen into my favourites of all time. This man needs to be heard, he needs to be noticed and he deserves to have a lot a success. Not many artists can consistently release material of this quality. If he doesn’t make a very big name for himself in this industry, it’ll be a huge crime. Please see that it happens, you’ll be very happy you did.

Review By Phil Daniels, Folking, UK, July 2005

                   

Rory Ellis

The Rushes

(Sound Vault Records)

Drysdale’s favourite son returns with the follow-up album to his previous releases, 2000’s debut Ride and his live in the studio album, Road Of The Braver Man in 2003- a record rich with old school country twang and spirit. Recalling Ellis’ time spent in the underworld of 1980’s Melbourne specific to his time experiencing first hand, the madness of these times. Rory Ellis has a booming voice, which resonates throughout The Rushes and along with his acoustic guitar; the big man stamps his authority over some very soulful storytelling. These are tunes that fuse together engaging tales about Ellis’ time spent or more ‘surviving’ in the hardest and most dangerous of times, and the total package and feel of the album recalls another of Melbourne’s finest blues musicians, Chris Wilson ( who incidentally provides his signature harmonica sound throughout the recording). The Rushes is  of the intended meanings enhanced musically by the involvement and former Ellis collaborator, Dave Steel (Weddings Parties Anything), a prolific producer of the past 20 years, having worked with artists ranging from Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter to Tiffany Eckhardt, Steel provides a range of instrumentation to The Rushes in order to frame certain parts of the album-not overpowering the essence or spirit by Ellis, but giving them added texture and space to breathe, with his use of the Dobro, lap steel, mandolin and electric guitars. Road Of No return chugs along like a fast moving blues train with Steel’s interchangeable guitar sounds working their way into Wilson’s frenetic harmonica solos, which then expand into some impressive didgeridoo by fellow Dave Steel cohort Glenn Romanis. Ellis eases into the track Underworld, exploring his eclectic past, his vocal moves from a rumble to a growl and is helped along by Steel’s delicate use of the piano and threatening movements on electric guitar. This is an impressive body of work by Rory Ellis and complements the blues and roots music of 21st century Australia nicely.

Review By Nick Argyriou, InPress Magazine,  March 2006

 

Rory Ellis

Road Of The Braver Man

(Independent)

Such is the quality of Rory Ellis’s voice alone the richness of the timbre, the skill of his technique – that he conveys an irresistable charisma. And that’s not even counting his songwriting skills. The first few verses I heard, I was done for – instant fan. Ellis’ particular style, that he calls “urban folk”, was melded living in a boxing gym, honed playing in Melbourne pubs, polished gigging on the festival circuit. He recorded this, his second solo album, over three days live in the studio with no less than Dave Steel (guitars, accordian, percussion, mandolin and it’s Celtic cousin the cittern) and Stuart Speed (bass). Fine engineering, courtesy Harry Willems, picks up every nuance of Ellis’s acoustic guitar and the voice that he uses, seemingly effortlessly, to convey a sense of intimacy and barely suppressed emotion. He is a master of light and shade, of knowing when not to sing in order to give full effect. Ellis wanted to capture an earthy, acoustic feel in the songs he has written in the two years since his Steel produced debut, Ride. He’s managed to do that with a minimum of instrumentation, yet a variety of sounds to capture different feels. The powerful “Union Hotel” paints a classic picture of a pub Saturday night: “There’s a deal goin’ on the back table of the room / somebody just bought some zoom zoom zoom. All half spoken, laconic: Now a fight broke out on the old dancefloor /so I wiped up the bloodstains and showed them the door / Please take it outside now fellas and finish it there. And a visual marker: All the while that old mirror ball keeps on turnin’.”Miguelito” is the tune that intrudes the most into my days, with its Latin lilting melody and unforgettable pictures: So feed me up with a lemon to keep me mean and thin. Just over an hour and fifteen tracks, the disc has bonus footage of the four–and–a–half minute “Lambs” recorded live – an intimate portrait with some well-chosen, close up footage of Steel on dobro and Ellis’s close to mike vocals, but unfortunately never gets behind the mic that always covers Ellis’s face. Plus photos and bio material, strongly recommended.

Review by Jackie Coyle, Rhythms Magazine, June 2003

 

Rory Ellis

Road Of The Braver Man

(Independent)

To put it simply, I have been blown away. As I sit here in front of my computer, having just finished listening to Road of the Braver Man, I have to admit my life has been enriched. Ellis is a man that has a story to tell and he knows how to tell it, a man that is an important person in the Australian music industry right now. Rory Ellis has seen some shit and has lived to tell his story, combining the sounds of the acoustic guitar, accordian, mandolin and dobro to create an urban folk masterpiece worth owning a copy of.

Big Picture opens the album with Ellis’ booming voice and mild humour as he asks whether his life would have been better off if he had chosen a different path. Maybe a pop star, a legend on screen/ if only I had a head of hair like James Dean. Luckily, Ellis didn’t take that path! Union Hotel is an honest insight into working at a local hotel known for its seediness and crime, where getting out alive after each Saturday night was Ellis’ victory. Although it’s hard to pick highlight tracks because they are all gems in their own special way, two that stick in my mind are Railway Parade and album closer The Million Dollar Question. The former focuses on harsh realities, with Ellis singing matter–of–factly down on Railway Parade/ when you’re gone you’re history. The latter is a compelling look at life through the eyes of an innocent child, who asks dad the tough questions about life. What do you tell a child who asks why the news on television is always so sad? Ellis’ lyrics bring to the surface questions that most of us think about but rarely seek answers to. Combined with music stripped back to its’ roots, with bluesy guitar solos that touch the heart and soul, Road of the Braver Man has the depth and spirit lacking in today’s music. Throughout the album Ellis sings about another world, one that many of us are not exposed to on a regular basis. We learn about a side of Melbourne that most of us choose to forget about, the side where dark and troubled characters try to survive the hell that is living on the streets. We hear about people with harsh exteriors that are really lost souls struggling to live each day the best they can. After listening to Road of the Braver Man, you learn more about life than you would listening to sugar–coated pop songs sung by kids that are still living a sheltered life with mum and dad. Rory Ellis, you are a poet that deserves to be heard, a man that deserves to be praised.

Review By Natalie Vulic, “Album Of The Week” Beat Magazine, April 9th, 2003

 

Rory Ellis

Road Of The Braver Man

(Independent)

Rory Ellis is one of Australia’s leading new wave of acoustic performers taking audiences by storm and impressing music critics. His music defies the simple folk categorisation and uses a collection of progressive contemporary and roots music influences to create a style he labels Urban Folk. Road Of The Braver Man was recorded completely live with renowned players Dave Steel and Stuart Speed, and captures an earthy, totally acoustic account of an artist whose material and personality is completely upfront, humourous and insightful.  “Having seen Rory’s powerful live performance definitely helps to appreciate him fully. This new “live in the studio” album is a fairly good representation of his current work and captures him in a deceivingly lay-back style, with his by now familiar raspy deep voice, working successfully with Dave Steele (various instruments) and Stuart Speed on double bass. His songs on this CD appear at first as a somewhat negative observation of urban life. But the lyrics are not meant to be obvious, they are rather poetic and even cryptic at times and need further listening to. But on first playing several songs stood out for me: the “Million dollar question” -how can you confidently answer your children’s questions? Or “Migualito”, an interesting song about a migrant from Uruguay: the more positive song about friendship “Good Friends” the short but very haunting war song “Last Man Standing” and the self-questioning “Big Picture.”

Review by Dieter Bajzek, Trad & Now Magazine

 

Rory Ellis

Road Of The Braver Man

(Independent)

The warmth of Rory Ellis’s excellent second solo outing, Road Of The Braver Man, is derived partly from the fact that the album was recorded live in the studio in a mere three days. This raw and honest approach to music making ensures that there is not even a whiff of that clinical sterility that taints so many modern recordings. Instead, Rory, accompanied by Dave Steel and Stuart Speed, is free to express himself in a gutsy and heartfelt manner, and conveys successfully the emotion and downright rootsiness of his earthy style. Rory effectively blends country, blues and folk to fashion his deep, rumbling, memorable sound and always impresses with his thoughtful and refreshingly down–to–earth lyrics.

Rory, a witty and genial conversationalist and astute storyteller, chatted with me about this latest chapter in his interesting career.

“It offers a nice energy and is true to what we do,” said Rory when asked to describe the album’s overall feel. “There are things about doing it live that puts on an edge that you can’t achieve by using multi–tracking in the studio… having all acoustic instruments… gave it a nice warm sound… and we did it all in the same room together… it was like we were sitting on stage.” While Rory’s critically acclaimed debut solo album Ride was, as he says, “produced up a touch… this album… is stripped back” and, with fewer musicians in the studio, an “earthy, gutsier tone” was achieved.

Rory’s work evokes striking images and creates a strong and affecting emotional resonance. His lyrics are steeped in reality, populated by believable characters, and brimful of empathy for others. Lambs, for instance, with its biting and topical images of oppression and inequality left unchecked, burns like a slow, searing fuse, and stands as one of the many highlights on this magnificent, must–have album. According to Rory, the song explores the refugee crisis, “the heroin problems in Sydney and Melbourne… the mistreatment of blackfellas’ in jails… police picking on people of a weaker nature… whether they are black or white” and “cops getting dragged over the coals but never getting in trouble… You don’t see them behind bars but if it had been me or you we would be in like a rat up a drainpipe”. It was while watching articles about such issues on the evening news that Rory became inspired to write Lambs. “There was all these different things from watching the news,” Rory explained. “All of these people tended to be poorer… they tend to pay for the sins of those who have a little bit more money… these poor people are like lambs to the slaughter… people are blind to [inequality] even though it’s so blatantly obvious and it’s even on television!”

Rory, who will be touring Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney over the next couple of months, pointed out that he would “kill to go overseas at the moment.” With the BBC having previously played songs from Ride and both the Cambridge and Warwick festivals expressing interest in his work, a trip to Britain would certainly be worthwhile.

Review By Graham Blackley, Beat Magazine, May 14th, 2003

 

Rory Ellis

Road Of The Braver Man

(Independent)

This has become a bit of a favourite in the Folking.com office and for a person who, when it arrived we had only heard one song from it was a very nice surprise to see he has a full album of great tracks. Now, listening to so many cd’s as I do of singer/songwriters, it can become quite samey and the topics covered can seem fairly repetitive at times with nothing to offer that hasn’t been done before. This man, Rory Ellis from Melbourne, Australia does have something which is fairly unique in this time and that is he has lived his songs. With this guy you’re not going to get the halfhearted songs that a lot of artists bring out. Songs about troubled personal suffering and living the streets when really they’ve always lived in 30 room mansions with butlers on hand 24 hours a day! This man writes and performs songs from the heart about his own life that really feels as if you’ve been taken on an emotional roller coaster.
One of the main reasons you feel as if you’re living every word he sings is because of his voice. A really weathered, gravely vocal seems to carry the songs to the next level from written word into the mind of the listener. He is one of those performers who, even if you haven’t really enjoyed listening to the cd first time you’ll always give it another listen and things will start to happen, songs become more familiar and before you know it this is one of your favourite records. I’m not going to pick a standout track for this album, as you really have to listen to it as a whole to appreciate the raw power and emotion. It is a way of life on record and should be treated that way

Review By Phil Daniels, Folking UK, October 7th, 2003

 

Rory Ellis

Road Of The Braver Man

(Independent)

Now, before any regulars to the site get cheeky and point out that Rory Ellis bears an uncanny resemblance to moi – indeed, it has already been pointed out – and that we even sound very much alike, I feel that I should point out that I would never dare to insinuate that I might have half the talent of Ellis. Ellis has the look of a heavily tattooed metal band member moonlighting between gigs, which, even considering his preferred tipple is Urban Folk, fits in quite well with the overall impression of a giant of man rumbling his way along streets strewn with recitative observations and insights and personal reflections of the social complexities of the working class man.  Although his songs are filled with anthropological accuracies and insights, the mark of a someone who lived life 
to the full; good and bad, he refrains from angry laments on the harshness of life This is a masterful collection of hugely impressive original and personal material. with a sonorous vibrancy to the acoustic minimalism.  ‘Road Of The Braver Man’ falls just shy of being too laid-back and narcotic, with addition of some fine mandolin and dobro (Dave Steel) livening the proceedings.  Stu Speed (Mick Thomas & The Sure Thing, The Men of Constant Sorrow, and more recently with Barb Waters on her ‘Rosa Duet’ album) is in fine form on the upright bass – ‘Lambs’ being a track on which all 3 members shine.  This really is an album to cherish. Hugely popular on the festival circuit in native Australia, Ellis’ tour schedule in the UK for the coming months, reflect his appeal to those who frequent 
such events.  With a list of arts, music and beer festivals as long as my inside leg measurement, the fella has his work cut out for him.

Review By musicworkz.co.uk, May 2004

                 

Rory Ellis

Ride

(Independent)

If you’re not deeply moved by this superb debut by Melbourne singer–songwriter Rory Ellis, it’s doubtful you’re human. Ellis, with his wonderfully deep, resonant voice, plumbs thedepths of the human experience to come up with a sophisticated, inspiring album of predominantly earthy ballads about life on the streets, a daughter who never quite made it into the world, and, of course, love and loss. A pleasing blend of folk and urban rock, Ellis’s music is underpinned by acoustic guitar, but nicely peppered with interesting slide guitar riffs, Hammond organ and the odd violin. Ride has probably the best production on a local CD I’ve heard in some time, and is a credit to producers Ellis, local industry icon Dave Steel and engineer Michael Letho. Ellis’s fine voice is backed by some of Melbourne’s best musicians, including Steel on electric guitar, Stuart Speed on bass and Ashley Davies on drums.

Written by Lyall Johnson, The Age EG Section, March 9th, 2001

 

Links to more reviews

 

Beat Magazine “Albums” “Two Feathers”
Review Feb 25th, 2009, by David Dawson

Forte Magazine “Two Feathers” Review
Feb 12th, 2009, by Chris Lambie

The Melbourne Age “The Rushes” Review 10th
March 2006 by Jeff Glorfeld

Music Critic UK “Two Feathers”  Review
June 2008 by Tim Wardyn

Lancashire Telegraph The Guide UK “Two Feathers”
Review July 18th, 2008 by John Anson

Leicester Bangs Online UK “Two Feathers” Review
June 2008

Berwick and Borders Gazette UK
Review July 2008

Dorset Echo UK “Two Feathers” Review
June 27th by Marco Rossi

Folking Review “Two Feathers” Review July
1st 2008 by Phil Daniels

Inpress Magazine “The Rushes Review
March 2006 by Nick Argyriou

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>