Sweet Mistakes

Ellis Paul always knows just what to say…

Bless your sweet mistakes
That crumble you down to your knees
That brought you to this place
Changing you by degrees
When change was just what you needed

~Ellis Paul,
Sweet Mistakes

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Ellis Paul Concert

ellis paul

gesturing

20 years of ellis paul

We had a great time at the Ellis Paul concert sponsored by the Cornell Folk Song Society. The concert was in a lecture hall on campus, so EP started the evening by saying, “Turn to page 127 of your textbooks.” As always, his between music banter was interesting and funny, and his music was amazing. I’ve seen him perform in many venues, to many sized crowds, and it doesn’t matter if it is a very small group or a packed house, he gives his all to the music.

We Owe Them More

Ellis Paul performed his cover of “The Only Way,” a song written by Mark Erelli in response to the September 11 attacks. I cannot think of a more fitting way to have the anniversary marked than by hearing the rousing and passionate performance of these lyrics.
Every action
Breeds a reaction
So let this be mine.
I’m gonna love
I’m gonna believe
I’m still gonna dream
But I’m gonna roll up my sleeves
Give everything until I’ve nothing left to give
That’s the only way that I know how to live

Songs That Never Get Old

Yesterday, I found myself captivated by YouTube…I spend a portion of the morning watching Ellis Paul, Richard Shindell, Dar Williams, and Antje Duvekot perform my favorite songs. Way to go bootleg videographers!

Watching Shindell perform “Transit,” a song I love, I recalled a conversation Lezli and I had many months ago at Bead World. One Saturday morning, Train’s “Meet Virginia” came on the radio, and I mentioned that I loved it. She said that she remembered when my ringback tone on my cell phone was “Meet Virigina.”

That got us to talking about songs that, for us, never get old. I decided to put a play list on my iPod of songs of which I never tire. So far, the list is small…

  • Pearls (Antje Duvekot)
  • Ocean (Dar Williams)
  • Closer to Fine (Indigo Girls)
  • Meet Virginia (Train)
  • God’s Promise (Ellis Paul)

I am always thinking of new songs to add to the list…what about you? Are there songs of which you never tire? What are they?

Patty Griffin’s Heavenly Day

Several years ago, Julia introduced me to Patty Griffin’s album 1,000 Kisses, which includes the beautiful and haunting song “Rain.” Since then, I have followed her new releases closely, especially after I learned she’s performed on some Ellis Paul tracks. Although most of her songs feel like they are stabbing you in the heart, she does have some upbeat melodies as well.

Interestingly, “Long Road” is one of the more upbeat songs, in terms of the music. However, if you listen to the lyrics they are heartbreaking. The song is about the funeral of a loved one. “Tony” about a high school outcast who commits suicide is also a catchy tune. All of this points to the unpredictable nature of her music and, to my mind, its thoughtfulness.

Last spring, when Griffin’s new CD “Children Running Through” was released, I was so excited and bought it posthaste. I enjoyed it as much as her previous albums, which combined the gut-wrenching and uplifting. One of the uplifting songs is called “Heavenly Day”:

The smile on your face I live only to see
It’s enough for me, baby, it’s enough for me
Oh, heavenly day, heavenly day, heavenly day

With these lyrics, you might forgive me for assuming the song is about a lazy weekend day with a boyfriend (or girlfriend) or husband/partner.

Last July, Patty Griffin came to Phoenix for a concert, so George, Ryan, and I went. It was phenomenal, amazing, breathtaking… I was so pleased I had the opportunity to see her perform live. One of the most delightful moments was when she introduced “Heavenly Day.” Instead of being about a lover, she said it was about a day with her dog. Of course, that was the sweetest thing I’ve ever heard, and I liked the song even more after that!

Ellis Paul on NPR!

Today, on NPR’s “Here and Now” program, Ellis Paul was interviewed about his children’s music album “The Dragonfly Races.” I have enjoyed the album–particularly the song “Abiola” which is about making one’s own decisions and confronting authority. He also included “Nine Months to Save the World” which I was happy to see since it wasn’t on his last album. George and I heard Ellis Paul perform the song, which he wrote when he learned his wife was pregnant, several years ago. Though the songs are geared towards children, they aren’t silly or dumbed down as a lot of children’s music is. Instead, they have the same trademark Ellis Paul sensibility, but told through narratives that make sense to younger souls.

I sent a copy of the CD to Frances, and Anna reported that they enjoyed it and had fun dancing to the music. So it’s a thumbs up from adults and from kids.

Ellis Paul/Antje Duvekot Concert

We flew to San Diego to see Ryan and Jodi and attend the Ellis Paul concert with Antje Duvekot opening (hosted by Acoustic Music San Diego). Obviously, I was completely giddy. I would have been over the moon just to see Ellis Paul, but I didn’t expect how phenomenal Antje would be. After the concert, it took me some time to gather the courage to ask if I could have a picture taken with them…George was so embarrassed, he hardly paid attention, hence the blurry image.