Ellis Paul, Antje Duvekot, & Sam Baker
- Classic Folk
On May 31 singer-songwriter Ellis Paul released his 20th album The Storyteller’s Suitcase on his own Rosella Records label. Two weeks earlier was the release of the second Official Video from the album for the song “Kiss Me ‘Cause I’m Gone”.
“There’s a craft to what I do, and I take it very seriously,” Paul says. “At the same time, I look at it as a calling, too. I tour quite a bit, and that allows me to come into contact with so many people of all walks of life. I hear their stories, and I realize that they could be telling me my story, too. So I try to make sense out of it all. I try to get to the heart of what we’re all feeling. That’s at the root of what I do – capturing the humanity we share with some kind of grace and integrity.”
Ellis’ new album continues that grand and noble tradition. On 13 deeply felt narratives, the singer-songwriter takes listeners on a beautifully sustained journey that is at both strikingly intimate and universally relatable. The Storyteller’s Suitcase also serves as the first time Paul produced his own record. “I finally felt ready,” he says. “Whenever somebody else produces you, even if they’re great and you agree all the way, they’re still changing what you do in some way. I feel as though I would hand producers a black-and-white photo, and they’d put their own colors on it and hand it back to me. Now I’m hearing my own sounds and getting them on tape. I’m putting down the ink and applying all of my own colors. It’s a true self-portrait.”
Antje Duvekot has solidified her reputation as one of Boston’s top singer songwriters with “Big Dream Boulevard” her debut studio release and “the Near Demise of the Highwire Dancer” and “New Siberia” her follow-up albums.
The debut CD was produced by Seamus Egan, founder of the Irish super group, SOLAS and the project was released on songwriter Ellis Paul’s label and quickly attracted international attention for Antje. It was voted “#1 Folk Release of 2006” by the Boston Globe and was named to the “Top10 Releases of the Year” by National Public Radio’s, Folk Alley. Her follow up albums “the Near Demise of the Highwire Dancer” and “New Siberia” were produced by Richard Shindell and along side with Richard feature other “folk royalty” such as John Gorka, Lucy Kaplancky and Mark Erelli.
Antje has won some of the top songwriting awards including the Grand Prize in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition, the prestigious, Kerrville (TX) “Best New Folk Award” and in one of the nation’s top music markets, she won the Boston Music Award for “Outstanding Folk Act”, three of the top prizes in the singer songwriter world.
Antje has extensive touring experience, criss-crossing the US and Europe many times. She is a compelling live performer and has been invited to play some of the top festivals including The Newport Folk Festival as well as the Mountain Stage, Philadelphia and Kerrville Festivals. Internationally, she’s headlined the The Celtic Connections Festival in Scotland and the Tonder Festival in Denmark.
Sam Baker makes people happy. The characters in his songs face many challenges—alcoholism, car wrecks, racism, drug addiction, a mother’s abandonment—but they persevere. Much like Sam himself.
In 1986 Sam got in the middle of someone else’s war. When a terrorist bomb exploded in the his train compartment, he went from being a young, healthy, tourist enjoying Peru with friends to a broken man surrounded by death and dying. Given his injuries, he too should have died. But through a series of miracles and coincidences he survived.
There were lots of surgeries, and the requisite pain pills. His leg was saved by a successful femoral arterial graft. When the cranial bleed in his brain healed, he had to relearn nouns, and after his right eardrum was replaced, he regained some hearing. With the top of his left hand gone, it seemed that his formerly skillful hands had been transformed into blocks of wood, but eventually those hands learned how to play an upside-down guitar.
Physically, Sam was recovering, but his life was filled with pills, booze, and rage. Then came the voices and messengers that helped him see that the greatest gift is life itself. He learned about forgiveness. He needed to tell his story. Songs started to come from that upside-down guitar. Before he knew it, there were CDs, tours around the world, an interview with Terry Gross, and awards in Rolling Stone.
Sam feels compelled to tell his story—through his music, art, or any means possible—to one person at a time, or to thousands from a festival stage.