Dave Ellis calls his band The Hopeless Sinners, so you get the initial indication that he's serious and whimsical simultaneously, before the first track even cuts in. Everything in Between is his re-debut after a decade's time away from the music biz. In an earlier incarnation, he and crew opened for The Beach Boys, Crowded House, The Neville Bros., and famous others, then he took time off to start a family while composing music for repertory and other ventures. In those efforts, he came to collect a handsome backlog of extraneous songs and, lo!, we now welcome him back to the scene, and not a moment too soon.
I've lately been revisiting my collection of mello-Americana rockers like Plainsong (Iain Matthews' old gig), Grant Lee Phillips, and Josh Rouse, standards when I get too blown out by all the progrock and free jazz I dig so much—I mean, c'mon, man doth not live by Marshall stacks alone!—and Dave Ellis slots perfectly in with those three musical acts. Ya gotta lay back and cool down every so often, and Where You're Going is a perfect Matthewsy cut rolling pleasantly down the lane, taking you out of the city and into pastoral meadows…even though it's a lament! One Day at a Time, the follower, is more lyrically upbeat, ready to field all the curveballs life issues every one of us, and just as bouncy as Going, like a Kenny Loggins song from his middle period.
Speaking of the Matthews surname, Ellis produced the CD but nabbed Justin Armstrong, who attends the Dave Matthews Band so well, to mix the release, and it's perfectly documented, clear, spacious, and softly glowing. A sextet backs him up and just as many sessioneers appear throughout the release, but the aggregate is always unobtrusive, mellifluously coloring the environment while the singer takes the helm each time out. There's also a lot of James Taylor to the gent, but, as I'm not Taylor's biggest fan, I'll take Dave every day of the week instead—none of the bourgeois baggage, zero polyethylene, and decidedly more approachable with a lot of memories you forgot you had until you heard him sing 'em again.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles