Ellis Paul at the James V. Brown Library

Or rather, at the “liberry”, as I like to say.

Ellis Paul, the folk singer I’ve written about once or twice before, finally played somewhere that’s a reasonable driving distance from my little hamlet of a town.  I’ve been known  to make the three+ hour trek to Philly to see him, or drive an hour and a half to Harrisburg.  Twenty-six miles?  Less than thirty measly minutes?  To Williamsport?

Pfft.   Chump change.

OK, so it was a children’s show and I don’t have any kids.  Understandably, one might think that was a little quirky (Hello, my name is Terri but you can call me Aunt Creepster) BUT I am friends with one of the programming coordinators at James V. Brown Library.  The library, opened in 1907, is a gorgeous building bequeathed to the city by lumber baron James VanDuzee Brown (and thus not to be confused with a certain other James Brown, regardless of the music being performed).  Performers–Ellis, and anyone who plays there for First Friday events–get to play in the Rotunda Room, which boasts a beautiful stained glass rotunda and wrought iron gazebo.  It’s kind of an amazing place to spend a day regardless of why you’re there.  I got to help set up and hang out and feel all cool.  What a different person I’ve become, now that I think hauling chairs around a library on a Saturday morning to prep for a kids’ show is “cool”.  And yet I was.  A girl can’t help it, even if I wasn’t quite a roadie and was more of a…ummmm…venue monkey.  Or something.

Here’s the thing: even when he’s putting on a kid’s show, Ellis Paul is a great act to catch.  He’s funny and engaging.  He keeps the kids entertained and throws in enough references so the parents “get” that he’s winking at them.  He plays long enough to be worth it but not so long that the kids are losing their minds.  And even though these songs are written for children, they’re still conceptually interesting.  I didn’t know there was such a thing called “wabi-sabi“, never mind that it was a Japanese aesthetic that focuses on the acceptance of imperfection.  Not until I heard a song about it at a kid’s show.

It’s a great message for kids.  Not a bad one for adults either, when you come down to it.  But it’s one that’s far more challenging and evocative than “I love you, you love me.”  Which I suppose is nice too, but a little pedestrian and not always true.

Here’s some photos from the show.

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3 responses to Ellis Paul at the James V. Brown Library

  1. I’m going to have to get out from under the rock I’ve been living and listen to more folk music. I thought I knew it all. I, being a 60’s and 70’s folk fan, had to wiki Ellis Paul’s bio. He seems to have the kind bio that read right from a book. He’s a mover and shaker of the Boston school of songwriting. A definite plus! I’ve bookmarked your post for future reference…and I do that sparingly.

    Thanks for the intro to the new music!

    Like

    • beyondpaisley – Author

      He’s wonderful. One guy, one guitar, smart, thoughtful, insightful lyrics. I’ve been a fan for probably fifteen years now, and I’m sure I’ve seen him at least twenty times. Every time I see him he puts on a great/charming/funny/engaging show. The first time I saw him was as an opener and his performance was so strong I didn’t even care about the main act (“John Wesley who…? Did you just see this Ellis Paul guy?”). Plus he’s a really nice person. I talk about his kids’ stuff in this blog but here are a few tidbits of his adult music.

      Annalee

      3,000 Miles

      Conversation with a Ghost

      Happy listening! I’m always happy to talk about all things Ellis. 🙂

      Like

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