New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
Speakers' Corner by Nick Ellis is the artist's third album release in as many years, and was conceived in the heat of the historic, explosive Spring
and Summer of 2017. The narrative captures the uncertain and anxious atmosphere of a divided, disillusioned and broken Britain, caught in the zeitgeist of a major cultural, social and political shift.
Ellis: "In 1973, Liverpool based sculptor Arthur Dooley and architect Jim Hunter were commissioned by the Transport & General Workers Union to design an iron podium at the Pier Head, Liverpool's centre-point of maritime activity, which would be intended for public speaking. It was used by protesters and trade unionists for 20 years until it was quietly removed by the City Council in 93/94, and never replaced. I felt this was a very suppressive, symbolic gesture - like taking away the focal point of the city's voice. The disappearance and subsequent lack of a current 'Speakers' Corner' in the city left me concerned, so I invented one of my own. I've created twelve characters to stand on it and talk, brought them alive through song and made them into a record."
The songs develop Ellis' distinctive blend of streetscape noir; combining mercury-quick finger picking with a no-nonsense Tin-Pan Alley approach, evoking British song masters Nick Drake, Nic Jones, Billy Bragg, Labi Siffre, John Martyn, Bert Jansch and Davey Graham. Stylistically the songs bring to mind pre-Blonde On Blonde Bob Dylan
Joyce, and as the title suggests, the power of words is key to the concept and is what lies at the heart of Speakers' Corner.
Ellis digs deep into Liverpool's radical history of social, cultural, artistic and political rebellion to find the roots of what gave the city its most defining characteristic: a voice. He says:
"You see, despite the dominance of modern technology over the average person's methods of communication, word of mouth is still king - folklore will always prevail. And, folklore is best preserved in songs and stories..."
Speakers' Corner is available now from Mellowtone Records on heavyweight vinyl LP and CD.
Pre-order Speakers' Corner from Mellowtone Records here:
Nick Ellis - Biography:
Nick Ellis is a Liverpool based singer-songwriter and guitarist performing a style of streetscape narrative-noir blended with a classic British acoustic approach.
Ellis is dedicated to the concept of "Song" and "Melody
". Some people call it folk, some just call it good old fashioned song craft. Using a blend of rhythmic attack and finger-quick lucidity, his sound has been described as "a conversation between Elvis Costello
and John Martyn."
On his songwriting Ellis says: "I see my songs as chapters and scenes. My albums as movies and books. Except, in this film, these stories are true..."
Speakers' Corner is Ellis' fourth release in three years and follows the stunning debut EP Grace
& Danger (2016) and albums Daylight Ghosts
(2016) and Adult Fiction (2017).
Whispering Bob Harris, BBC Radio
Laverne, BBC 6 Music
"His guitar style stands out as much as the songwriting"
Dave Monks, Radio
"One of Liverpool's finest"
"Hauntingly captivating, Nick Ellis has the gift many could only dream of"
Jones, The Music
Mellowtone Records - Biography:
Mellowtone Records was born from the spirit of the nomadic Mellowtone nights, quietly creating a stir since 2004. With over a decade of parties, gigs and showcases, Mellowtone have presented songwriters and bands from the worlds of folk, blues, roots and so much more, in a variety of Liverpool's most iconic and intimate venues.
Mellowtone Records progresses this mission further; Seeking out music with Soul. Magic. Alchemy. And bringing it to the wider world.
In April 2016 Mellowtone Records collaborated with The Viper Label to reissue the seminal LP by Edgar 'Jones' Jones 'Soothing Music
for Stray Cats' on vinyl for the first time.