Legendary folk/singer-songwriter Ellis Paul to play Camden Opera House
CAMDEN — The way the Camden Opera House plans to celebrate its 120th anniversary is to bring back some of their most popular acts over the years, and they intend to kick off the lineup Saturday, April 5 at 7:30 p.m with "An Evening featuring Ellis Paul with special guest Chris Ross." Paul, who was raised in Maine, is one of the most respected artists in the folk/singer-songwriter genre, with a style heavily influenced by the folk stylings of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger.
Even before Ellis' song The World Ain't Slowin' Down came out as the title track to Jim Carrey's blockbuster film, Me, Myself and Irene, Paul had been impressing audiences and earning loyal fans around the world. His urban, literate, folk rock style has been credited with helping renew interest in the folk genre during the 1990s. It has also been said that he successfully bridged the gap between traditional and modern folk music.
This show will be a preview of Paul's new record, City of Silver Dreams, with songs from his entire 20+ year career, which was launched out of the Boston folk scene.
Opening for Paul will be Maine singer-songwriter Chris Ross, a native of Hancock and recent winner of the "Songwriter of the Year" award at the New England Music Awards. Known for his poetic songs and sharp humor, Ross’ wit matches his talent. His Facebook status reads:I try my damnedest to make you feel feelings. Occasionally even pleasant ones.”
He will head to Nashville in May to begin recording his third album, due to be released this summer.
“This concert is going to be an event pairing one of the most prestigious singer-songwriters in the last 25 years with one of the best up-and-coming artists in the same genre,” said Marc Ratner, managing partner of Mishara Music, a Camden-based record label and management company. “The interesting thing about the music business is that . . . shows like American Idol are basically like karaoke. The key to Ellis and Chris is that that they are both accomplished songwriters. You can have the best guitar player and the best singer on stage, but if they don’t have a good song lyrically, it doesn’t make any difference. That’s one of the magic things that will happen at the show — the audience will have an emotional connection to their music.”
Ross’ song, Your America, is about an American veteran coming back to the U.S. and the difficulties he faces.
“It’s one of the most gripping songs you’ll hear,” said Ratner.
An excerpt of “Your America” lyrics
You remember you were young, you were Clark Kent sittin’
On a cloud up high, and there weren’t no politician
Tell you who you could love or could lead you to bleed
Tell you when you should speak or what you should be
You remember you were young and your momma said listen
The world ain’t nothing if it ain’t worth wishin’
And we’re all real lucky to share this land
Cause it ain’t just home
It’s your America, man
“This show is just the first of what we’re calling the ‘Best of the Best’ of past shows,” said Kerry Hadley, director of the Camden Opera House. Upcoming shows include Iris Dement in August and a tentative plan for Richard Thompson in November.
After the April 5 show, guests are invited to mingle with the artists, and sample a free ice cream tasting and coffee.
The show begins at 7:30 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit Camden Opera House website. Tickets are also available at the Camden Town Office Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., or by calling 470-7066. Tickets will also be available at the door the night of the show.
Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com