Ellis Paul on Touring in a Honda CR-V and Selling Fewer CDS (But More Books)

November 6, 2014 VISIT ME ON AMPLIFI

Tell us about your tour vehicle.

Honda CR-V, 483,000 miles with a new engine. I have hit two deer, 1 bear, an armadillo, and unfortunately one cyclist (who is alive and well).

How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?

The venues often provide dinner with a good local restaurant. Sadly, I eat where I have to eat: Starbucks, Taco Bell, Dunkin Donuts, and occasionally I go to Whole Foods.

How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?

I usually break one every 10 shows, but I change strings almost every show so I break them less often. They are about 50 cents a string. I use D’Addario medium phospher bronze and am sponsored by them.

Where do you rehearse?

Since I play solo, I can practice anywhere where I can be alone.

What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?

‘Farm Boy’ lyric: “Farm boy going off to war to fight for freedom to his flag he swore.”

Describe your first gig.

I was playing at Boston College for a fundraising event for disabled children. As I was playing, a boy with Downs Syndrome got on the drum set and began to play along. He was the most talented musician in the band.

What was your last day job? What was your favorite day job?

I worked with inner city kids in Boston as a counselor case worker until I was 26.

How has your music-related income changed over the past 5-10 years? What do you expect it to look like 5-10 years from now?

I’m making more money now though I am selling fewer CDs. That’s due to the fact that I’m branching my business out into different directions like books, education and art. I expect to have a few books out in the next 5-10 years, which will hoping increase my earnings. I also am looking to perform in more school and theaters.

What one thing do you know now that you had wished you knew when you started your career in music?

I wish I would have know that I would be able to have a career, because I was so worried in the beginning that I wouldn’t be able to put it together.

With an engaging conversational style, Ellis Paul delivers his tunes in a high, clear voice that gets you right in the heart. He tells touching and tender stories in songs that meld a pop sensibility with an abiding respect for the storytelling tradition of masters like Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. His finely chiseled, deeply humane songs have won him more than a dozen Boston Music Awards. Over his 20+ year career he has released 19 record albums, written a book of poems/short stories, developed an award winning children’s book project, and has had songs featured on Hollywood soundtracks. His latest release, Chasing Beauty, was recorded in Atlanta Georgia with producer Kristian Bush of Sugarland.

You can find Ellis online and on the road.