Folk music powerhouse hits the road for 'Chasing Beauty'
Movie soundtracks part of repertoire
Putting Woody Guthrie's words to music
Ellis Paul is that proverbial road warrior.
Publicity material touts some 200 shows the folk troubadour will play this year -- a pace which has not been foreign to him over the past two decades.
He has been playing 150 to 200 dates annually for a long time -- and that has paid off.
“I have a pretty solid fan base,” Paul, 50, said in a recent phone interview.
One of his most enticing achievements is the melody he put to some unpublished lyrics by folk-music icon Woody Guthrie.
“ ‘God’s Promise’ is the song that I put music to,” noted Paul, a singer-guitarist.
The guy who was raised by a potato-farming family in Maine wrapped melodicism around those Guthrie lyrics “at the invitation of” Nora Guthrie, Woody’s daughter, according to promotional background from Paul’s camp.
He is currently touring in support of his latest album, “Chasing Beauty,” released in 2014.
The tour has an 8 p.m. Saturday, March 7, stop at Front Porch Music, 505 E. Lincolnway, Valparaiso, Ind. Tickets are $18 for Paul’s appearance at this little haven for acoustic sounds.
It has played host to Donovan (“Sunshine Superman”) and Peter Tork of the Monkees.
The cozy venue likewise has welcomed Paul a few times over the years.
“I like how intimate it is,” the recording artist related. “It feels like a good basement kind of folk club.”
Chad Clifford, owner of Front Porch Music, lauds Paul’s talent.
“Ellis has been playing at Front Porch since the early 1990s,” Clifford, a musician himself, said. “We have had the pleasure of watching the world ‘catch on’ to what we’ve known for years, and that is Ellis Paul is a top-notch musician.”
Clifford also believes Paul is one of the more notable “performing songwriters out there.”
“Chasing Beauty” is a disc that happens to have had some impressive input.
Kristian Bush, of Grammy-winning Sugarland, produced the album, along with his brother Brandon Bush, also a Sugarland musician. Brandon has also played with the noted rock band, Train.
Paul’s musical influences -- who include Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and John Prine -- have helped shape his compositions.
“It’s folk singer-songwriter stuff, so it leans a little more to pop than it does to Americana, but they’re story songs about contemporary things -- the things that we’re all going through,” Paul said.
Some love songs are likewise thrown into the mix.
Paul has kept his career on course by diversifying.
“I’m doing concerts online,” noted the resident of Charlottesville, Va.
Additionally, Paul has done children’s music and has dabbled in poems and short stories.
Paul’s songs have been featured on the soundtracks of the major motion pictures “Me, Myself & Irene” (2000), “Shallow Hal” (2001) and “Hall Pass” (2011).
For instance, the soundtrack of “Shallow Hal” -- which stars Gwyneth Paltrow -- included Paul’s “Sweet Mistakes.”
Visit www.EllisPaul.com for more information on Paul’s music and for his “Chasing Beauty” tour dates.