Ellsworth – American Compost (2007)
purchase this album (CD Baby)
His performing career is about as old as I am (and much more dignified â€” he’s rubbed shoulders with Leon Russell, Levon Helm, Graham Parker, Maria Muldaur and Johnny Winter, among others), but Ellsworth won’t take it personally if you haven’t heard from him. He knows you probably haven’t, and he knows it’s largely his own fault. As he says in his bio:
“I think I was one of those crazy people that just thought the world would find me if I was good enough:People always loved my songs in clubs and I thought that sooner or later something would happen. Or maybe I was just waiting for the turn of the century.”
Now that you’ve finally been presented with the chance to acquaint yourself with Ellsworth’s music, you should take it â€” this is smart, unassuming stuff, delivered with refreshing restraint and a deceptively minimalist flair. Pretty much every guy who’s ever strapped on a guitar and tried to make a brown-bag rock record has been aiming for the sort of weathered authenticity that runs through American Compost‘s eleven tracks; there’s a dud or two in the bunch, to be sure, but nothing feels forced or false.
Ellsworth’s songs are more than slightly reminiscent of Al Anderson’s solo work â€” he’s less of a caustic cynic than Big Al can sometimes be, but the two share a certain vocal similarity, as well as an affinity for twangy, rambling arrangements. American Compost would certainly have benefited from a bigger production budget, particularly on the songs that aim for a more full-bodied production approach, but this is a relatively minor complaint, and the highlights certainly outweigh the low points. Get yourself started with the title track (download) and “Madam Freud” (download), then go buy a copy.