At 58 years old, Ellis Paul physical status not available right now. We will update Ellis Paul's height, weight, eye color, hair color, build, and measurements.
Paul majored in English at Boston College where he continued to participate in track. His best time in the 10,000 meters (30:18:50) remains the fourth best men's outdoor record in Boston College history. When a knee injury in his junior year sidelined him from athletics, Paul picked up an acoustic guitar to pass the time. He taught himself to play guitar with the help of a Hits of the 70s songbook, and began to write songs. Boston radio included a classic hits station that played the music of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and James Taylor; artists who were mostly unfamiliar to Paul. Within a few years they became major influences. Having a career in music was the furthest thing from Paul's mind at that point, but as his playing and writing improved it became a bigger focus in his life. In an interview with FolkWax journalist Arthur Wood, Paul stated:
The open mic circuit in the Boston area included The Nameless Coffeehouse in Cambridge, Westborough's Old Vienna Kaffeehouse and The Naked City Coffeehouse in Allston. Paul became a regular face at those clubs along with other young folk musicians such as Shawn Colvin, Patty Griffin, Dar Williams and Vance Gilbert. In 1989 he won the Nameless Coffeehouse's New Songwriter Award. Paul played Cambridge's Club Passim, a venue that would become his "home" venue, for the first time when he opened for John Gorka in October 1989. Less than four years later he performed his first shows at Passim as a headliner. The three consecutive nights of shows took place on February 19–21, 1993.
It was at the Old Vienna that Paul met Jon Svetkey, Brian Doser and Jim Infantino, all struggling young local musicians. In 1989 the four young men formed a collective called "End Construction" and in 1990 released a compilation of songs titled Resume Speed: New Artist Compilation on the End Construction Productions label. The four songwriters each performed four of his own original songs on the CD release. The Resume Speed liner notes stated that End Construction Productions was a small independent production, promotion and recording company run by songwriters and musicians "hellbent on getting the good music out there." In the interview with Wood, Paul stated that the four songwriters started doing group shows together and collaborated on each other's material. Although he goes on to say that the collaboration "was a good thing" and that the four musicians learned a lot from each other, eventually the foursome "burned out on the competitiveness". The collaboration lasted three years.
Following his graduation from Boston College in 1987, Paul worked a day-job at the COMPASS school as a teacher and social worker with inner city school children performing at open mics three or four nights a week. It was not until the fall of 1992 that he quit his day-job to pursue music as a full-time career. During this period Paul met his manager, Ralph Jaccodine, and together they founded Black Wolf Records. In 1989 the label released Paul's first two albums of original material: Am I Home and Urban Folksongs and Paul began touring outside the Boston area. Although originally released on cassette, the two albums were re-released on CD in 2001.
Paul released his first live recording, simply titled Live, on March 14, 2000. The double-disk included recordings from several shows, as well as previously unreleased studio tracks. Highlights of the year 2000 included Paul singing the National Anthem at Fenway Park, and having his song "The World Ain't Slowing Down" chosen for the theme song in the Farrelly brothers movie Me, Myself and Irene starring Jim Carrey and Renée Zellweger. Both events took place on the same June weekend. In November 2001, Paul was again successful in having a song in a movie when "Sweet Mistakes" was featured in Shallow Hal starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Jack Black. Paul released his 8th CD, Sweet Mistakes, a collection of audience-favorites not yet recorded, on November 15, 2001. In January 2002, Paul was named the FolkWax Artist of the Year for 2001.
Paul often recites original poetry for his audiences. Some of those poems can be found in Notes from the Road, a collection of Paul's original poems, lyrics, and journal entries published by Black Wolf Press in May 2002. In her review for Performing Songwriter, Abby White said, "The book has an intimate, conversational tone, and Paul's childlike drawings, song lyrics and poetry provide commercial breaks to his personal journal entries and vivid recollections of significant events he encounters while touring". As the 21st century began Paul recited his "Millennium Poem", regularly at shows.
In 2002 Paul became friends with Nora Guthrie. Nora Guthrie is executive director of the Woody Guthrie Foundation and Archives in New York City where hundreds of Woody Guthrie's handwritten lyrics – many without music – are housed. She invited Paul to visit the Archives and choose one set of lyrics to put to song. Referring to the huge undertaking of finding songwriters to write music for hundreds of her father's lyrics, Nora Guthrie stated that there was a "job description" that her father left behind that "Ellis took on". Paul chose "God's Promise", lyrics that Woody had adapted in 1955 from "What God Hath Promised", a hymn of the day and recorded it for his 2002 release Speed of Trees. Paul said that visiting the Woody Guthrie Archives was like going through a time capsule of his biggest hero and that the posthumous collaboration with Woody Guthrie was one of the "coolest things" he'd ever done. The November 6, 2002 episode of the TV series Ed featured Paul's "If You Break Down".
Paul's connection to Woody Guthrie continued into 2003 when he was invited to perform in the Ribbon of Highway, Endless Skyway tribute show to honor Woody Guthrie. The ensemble show, which was the brainchild of Texas singer-songwriter Jimmy Lafave, toured around the country and included a rotating cast of singer-songwriters individually performing Guthrie's songs. Interspersed between songs were Guthrie's philosophical writings read by a narrator. In addition to LaFave and Paul, members of the rotating cast included Slaid Cleaves, Eliza Gilkyson, Joel Rafael, husband-wife duo Sarah Lee Guthrie (Woody Guthrie's granddaughter) and Johnny Irion, Michael Fracasso, and The Burns Sisters. Oklahoma songwriter Bob Childers, sometimes called "the Dylan of the Dust," served as narrator. When word spread about the tour, performers began contacting LaFave whose only prerequisite was to have an inspirational connection to Guthrie. Each artist chose the Guthrie songs that he or she would perform as part of the tribute. One of the songs Gilkyson chose was "Pastures of Plenty", while Cleaves chose "This Morning I Am Born Again" – a song he wrote using Guthrie's lyrics. One of the songs Paul chose was a song he wrote using Guthrie's lyrics – "God's Promise". LaFave said, "It works because all the performers are Guthrie enthusiasts in some form". The Ribbon of Highway tour kicked off on February 5, 2003, at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. The abbreviated show was a featured segment of "Nashville Sings Woody", yet another tribute concert to commemorate the music of Woody Guthrie held during the Folk Alliance Conference. The cast of "Nashville Sings Woody", a benefit for the Woody Guthrie Foundation and Archives, also included Arlo Guthrie, Marty Stuart, Nanci Griffith, Guy Clark, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Janis Ian, and others.
Paul's 3000 Miles DVD was released in February 2003. Divided into four segments, the DVD begins with a live show recorded on October 3, 2001, at Boston's Somerville Theater – a show that was the final date of a six-week tour with Susan Werner. The second segment is a 39-minute road movie filmed in 1995 by Matt Linde, an independent filmmaker who accompanied Paul on a cross-country tour. Individual vignettes chronicle shows, conversations and events in Paul's daily life as a traveling musician. A third segment shows Paul demonstrating the open tunings he uses in many of his songs, while the final segment is a discussion of songwriting with fellow songwriters Christopher Williams and Vance Gilbert. In her review for Dirty Linen, Annette C. Eshleman said, "In just under three hours, viewers are able to watch as Paul evolves from a young, inexperienced folk singer wearing a backwards baseball cap to the highly respected, confident, seasoned performer that he is today".
On May 1, 2004, Paul was the recipient of the 2nd annual Boston College Arts Council Alumni Award for Artistic Achievement. The award was presented as part of the sixth annual Boston College Arts Festival. His appearances at the festival also included an "Inside the BC Studio" interview with music writer Scott Alarik, a master class on songwriting, and a concert. In 2004 Paul was also awarded his 13th Boston Music Award in the category of Outstanding Singer-Songwriter. At the time Paul was writing what he called "country tunes" when he teamed up with an Irish musician, producer, and studio expert named Flynn. This resulted in American Jukebox Fables, released April 5, 2005, a recording produced by Flynn that surprised some fans by melding folk, pop and electronica. Paul said that his collaboration with Flynn formed a partnership where he brought banjos and accordions and Flynn brought a laptop and keyboard. Although Paul knew that the end result would fall outside the comfort zone of some fans who expected another acoustic folk album, experimenting with Flynn's musical chemistry set injected excitement and fun into the recording project.
Since approximately 1995 (no one seems to know for certain), Paul has annually played Club Passim over New Year's, performing two shows on December 30 and two shows on New Year's Eve. In early 2006 Black Wolf Records released Live at Club Passim, a recording compiled from Paul's 2005 New Year's Eve shows. In May 2006, Paul toured Europe and England playing to sold-out shows in Paris, France; Twickenham, England; Cheltenham, England and Wasserburg, Germany. The tour also included two BBC radio interviews and a radio interview in Paris. Paul was included on the Woody Guthrie Coalition's DVD Woody Sez: a Tribute to Woody Guthrie released in 2006. The tribute show, recorded July 13, 2005, at the Crystal Theater in Okemah, Oklahoma, included Paul performing a duet with The Burns Sisters on "God's Promise". Also released in 2006 was Paul's "best of" album, released as Ellis Paul Essentials, on October 10. The two-disk retrospective of Paul's 15-year career contained some songs that were absolutes and others that were included based on polls held on his website and discussion board. In his Folkwax review of Ellis Paul Essentials, Arthur Wood stated: "If you've never visited "musically" with Mr. Ellis Paul, Essentials is a stunning place to start." In his review for The Washington Post, Mike Joyce said " Essentials, a career-spanning double CD from veteran singer-songwriter Ellis Paul, has a few newly produced, John Jennings-helmed tracks of previously recorded tunes that help set this compilation apart from most retrospectives." In her review for Sing Out!, Kari Estren said "Paul's Essentials is just that and a must for your folk collection."
In January 2008, Paul released a children's and family record entitled The Dragonfly Races. Inspired after the birth of his second daughter, Paul said that he wanted to teach his children about the world through the use of music. The songs are meant to be enjoyed by both children and adults, and Paul said "I wanted my kids to hear music with social commentary and some fantasy involved." Scott Alarik said "Paul sings movingly about what really worries new parents, and turns lazy dragonflies, gentle monsters, and resilient roses into useful metaphors for world peace, the power of faith, and the delights of a sleepy day." In April 2008 the Parents' Choice Foundation awarded The Dragonfly Races a Silver Medallion. The Parents' Choice Awards program honors the best material for children in these categories: books, toys, music and storytelling, magazines, software, videogames, television and websites.
In 2009, country musician Jack Ingram chose to record a song written by Paul. According to CMT, Paul's "The World Ain't Slowing Down", may be the song that takes Ingram to the "next level". Ingram says "It'll be fun for me to expose people to a fantastic song from an artist who's had a 20-year career of being a very successful folk artist."
Paul's sixteenth CD, The Day After Everything Changed, was released on January 12, 2010. Rather than work with a record label, Paul invited fans to help finance the recording by offering donors various premiums determined by the level of donation. Although Paul wasn't sure what to expect when the United States economy collapsed, the fan-funding initiative resulted in more than $100,000 being collected – more, according to Paul, – than any label had ever spent on him. Recorded in Nashville with a guest appearance by Kristian Bush that includes a duet on the track, "Paper Dolls", Paul says the fan support inspired him to make "the best record I could". One reviewer wrote: "This is such a tuneful, beautifully drawn set of songs played and sung with authority that it reminds you how much we need storytellers back in pop music—storytellers with empathy, fine eyes and an understanding that even though we live in a soulless, indifferent world our music doesn't have to reflect our culture." In her review for the Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange, Roberta Schwartz said that the CD is "a masterwork filled with the best music and lyrics of his career."
Five concerts commemorating Paul's 20th anniversary in the music business took place at Boston's Club Passim the weekend of July 9–10, 2010. Paul performed his eight solo albums in chronological order over four shows. In addition, he also performed a children's concert. The Mayor of Boston, Thomas M. Menino, proclaimed July 9, 2010, as Ellis Paul Day in the City of Boston.
WUMB announced that its listeners voted The Day After Everything Changed one of the Top 10 CDs of 2010.
Paul's second children's album, The Hero in You, was released on January 1, 2012. The songs on the album are all written about persons who Paul considers to be American heroes including Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Rosa Parks. The album is Paul's attempt to teach children about some of America's most famous heroes. "I was a big fan of Schoolhouse Rock in the 70s. There was always a really great charm about the music. The main reason I can still remember the Preamble of the Constitution is because of those little songs", Paul said. The illustrations in the accompanying lyrics booklet were all created by Paul.
In a review for the Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange, Roberta Schwartz said that The Hero in You contains some of the best melodies and most moving lyrics of Paul's career. She goes on to cite "Chief Joseph" as an example – a song that incorporates one of the most famous quotes in Native American history: "I will fight no more forever".
The Hero in You received a Gold Medal from the Parents' Choice Foundation.
Paul's first Christmas album, City of Silver Dreams, was released on December 1, 2012. Produced by Flynn, the album consists of nine original songs – several co-written with Kristian Bush – and one cover song, the classic "Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas" written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane. In her review for No Depression, Holley Dey wrote: "It's a collection with multifaceted personality, offering both melodic romanticism and a folk styled humor that twinkles with good natured fun."
On July 12, 2014, Paul was one of four performers inducted into the Maine Music Awards Hall of Fame. The awards ceremony took place in the Portland (Maine) Civic Center. Paul performed along with other members of the inaugural class which included Don McLean, Howie Day, and David Mallett.
Paul's 19th and second fan-funded album, Chasing Beauty, was released on September 9, 2014. The 14-track CD was produced by Kristian Bush (Sugarland) and Brandon Bush (Train) and recorded primarily in Decatur, Georgia. Paul is supported by Kristian Bush (acoustic/electric guitar, mandolin, banjo, bass), Brandon Bush (keyboards), Sugarland's Travis McNabb (drums), Gray Griggs (bass), Megan Lovell (lap steel), Tim Smith (bass), Ben Torres (trombone), Michael Snell (trumpet) and Brandyn Taylor (baritone sax). Rebecca Loebe and Red Molly make guest appearances.
Paul was invited to present the keynote address at the 2015 NERFA (Northeast Regional Folk Alliance) conference held Nov. 12–15, 2015 at the Hudson Valley Resort in Kerhonkson, New York. The 26-minute address presented on November 13, 2015, was later published on his website and on YouTube.
In late 2015, an announcement was made that Paul's song "Nelly Bly" from the album Hero in You would appear in the movie 10 Days in a Madhouse being released in the fall of 2015.
In April 2019 Ellis Paul announced that his new album The Storyteller's Suitcase would be released May 31, 2019, and released the first video from the album, for "I Ain't No Jesus." The Storyteller's Suitcase was named Album of the Year at the 2019 NERFA (Northeast Regional Folk Alliance) Conference held in Stamford, CT. Nov. 7–10, 2019.
In early 2020, the International Acoustic Music Awards (IAMA) announced that Paul's "I Ain't No Jesus" from The Storyteller's Suitcase was named Best Folk/Americana/Roots song as well as Overall Grand Prize Winner at the 16th Annual Awards.