So, the other day I came across a name that I’ve seen on several music charts-Ellis. I have never been able to find her albums on Rhapsody, but I checked out Napster and they had all her albums. I turned on her latest album Right on Time. I listened to the guitar intro on the opening track and decided this album may be for me, so I downloaded it to the player and I was right! The guitar intro led into a very nice voice and some great lyrics on the opening title track “Right on Time”.
A native of Texas, Ellis (Mary Grace Ellis) moved to Minneapolis at the age of 16. She appears to be one of those independent artists that fly “under my radar” (seems to be a lot of them!) She has released seven albums and sold more than 35,00 of her CDS independently in the last sixteen years. Ellis has also been a fixture of the national folk scene and has won national songwriting honors and has performed at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Sisters Folk Festival and the Rocky Mountain Folk Festival.
The album was produced by Ben Wisch. One of the things that I loved about the album was the sparse musical accompaniment provided by Duke Levine on acoustic guitars, Tony Levin on bass, and Larry Campbell on pedal steel, among others.
The title track “Right On Time” and the closing track “You Are Royalty to Me are both dedications. According to her website: “Right on Time” is a wish for her newborn daughter to trust she is on her own timeline in a culture where we are encouraged to go faster and faster, and closing the record is a heart-felt expression of love and gratitude to the matriarch of her family (her Granny), called “You Are Royalty To Me”.
The songs in between are all well crafted songs about living, loving and belonging like “Everybody Wants to Belong”. I particularly love the song “Right Now” which has a fantastic chorus:
“It is love that will carry you home,
It is kindness that holds back the storm around you,
It is patience sitting right beside the doubt,
the only truth is what we do with Right Now”
Another favorite is “Without a Compass” and her ode to her coffee
“Coffee Song”. And then there’s…….oh, just check the whole album out!! You can find her music on her webpage, Myspace, or Tinderbox Music
I have already downloaded her 2008 album “Break the Spell” and after a brief listen it sounds just as good!
Here’ Ellis performing “Right on Time”
and here’s her song “You are Royalty to Me” for her Grandmom