Single Review

Ellis Paul – Gold In California: Single Review

Boston singer-songwriter Ellis Paul offers a sneak preview of his forthcoming album, 55 – which celebrates his milestone 30th year as a headlining performer.

Release Date:  28th April 2023

Label: Rosella Records

Formats: Download, Streaming

2023 marks Boston singer-songwriter Ellis Paul’s 30th-year anniversary as a headlining performer.  And, to celebrate a career that began in the clubs and coffeehouses of Cambridge, Massachusetts and has, so far, yielded over 20 albums, Ellis will be releasing his new album, 55, on 9th June 2023.  Here at At The Barrier HQ, we’ve been fortunate enough to have a sneaky early listen to the album and we can assure any Ellis Paul followers who might have stumbled across our site that they’re in for a treat.  We’ll be publishing a detailed review of the album, together with a look back over Ellis’s award-strewn career in the very near future.  Watch this space…

And, by way of stimulating our anticipation for the forthcoming album, Ellis has already released the album’s title track as a single and, on 28th April, will release a second single, the beautifully lilting Gold In California, a song that Ellis co-wrote with Sugarland and ex-Billy Pilgrim guitarist/ mandolinist/ vocalist, Kristian Bush.

Ellis Paul has had a tough time of it lately.  Whilst the world was struggling with the onset and impact of the COVID pandemic, Ellis was also faced with a further debilitating condition, when he contracted Dupuytren’s Contracture, a disease that closes the sufferer’s hands into tightly-closed fists.  It’s a condition that would have a dreadful impact upon anyone’s life; to a guitarist and pianist, the disease is catastrophic.  It was the onset of the condition that inspired Ellis to write the songs for the new album – he had no idea of when the contracture would become so severe that he wouldn’t be able to play at all.

Happily, in December 2022, when he could play guitar no longer, Ellis underwent successful surgery to free the fingers of his left hand, enabling him to form chord shapes once again, and he soldiers on.  He’s hoping to have similar surgery in 2024 to restore movement in his right hand.  We send our fondest wishes for a successful operation.

As an appetizer for the forthcoming album, Gold in California is a tasty morsel indeed.  With his tight, small, band – Ellis on vocals and acoustic guitars, co-writer Kristian on ukelele, Radoslav Lorkovic on accordion, Eric Parker on drums, Mark Dann on bass and Seth Glier on backing vocals – Ellis has delivered a lush, laid-back, easy-going sound.  The lyrics, with lines like: “I love it like it’s my hometown, but I wasn’t born here,” and “If I ever lay my roots down, this is my sacred crown,” the song is packed with Californian imagery that makes the listener long to be out there, on a sunny, warm mountainside, facing into a gentle breeze blowing off the Pacific, and Ellis’s characteristically vulnerable, intimate vocal style adds to the warmth of the song’s subject matter. Eric’s soft drum rhythm and Mark’s gentle basslines provide the sandy-soft foundation for a sound vitalized by Radoslav’s subtle accordion flourishes and Kristian’s ukelele, whilst Ellis’s guitar drives the whole thing along wonderfully.

And, I guarantee, once you’ve had a listen or two to Gold in California, you’ll not be able resist checking out the album’s first single, 55 – Ellis’s contemplation of his own mortality.

Enjoy Gold in California and watch these pages for our forthcoming review of 55 – the new Ellis Paul album, out on 9th June.  And, by the way, Patreon members can place their advance album orders now.  Check out Ellis’s Patreon page for more details.

Watch the official video to I Ain’t No Jesus, the lead single from Ellis Paul’s 2019 album, The Storyteller’s Suitcase, here:

Ellis Paul online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / YouTube

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