Charles Ellsworth
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Charles Ellsworth

Brooklyn, NY | Established. Jan 01, 2010

Brooklyn, NY
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Americana Alternative

Calendar

Dec
12
Charles Ellsworth @ Lewis & Clark Brewing Company

Helena, Montana, United States

Helena, Montana, United States

Dec
14
Charles Ellsworth @ Murray Bar

Livingston, Montana, United States

Livingston, Montana, United States

Dec
15
Charles Ellsworth @ Bozeman Hot Springs

Bozeman, Montana, United States

Bozeman, Montana, United States

Dec
20
Charles Ellsworth @ ABG's Bar

Provo, Utah, United States

Provo, Utah, United States

Oct
05
Charles Ellsworth @ Mr. Smalls Theatre & Funhouse

Millvale, Pennsylvania, United States

Millvale, Pennsylvania, United States

Oct
04
Charles Ellsworth @ The Ruin

Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States

Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States

Oct
02
Charles Ellsworth @ Uncommon Ground

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States

Sep
29
Charles Ellsworth @ Off Broadway

St. Louis, Missouri, United States

St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Sep
28
Charles Ellsworth @ Barter

Hamtramck, Michigan, United States

Hamtramck, Michigan, United States

Sep
27
Charles Ellsworth @ Village Tavern

Mantua, Ohio, United States

Mantua, Ohio, United States

Sep
25
Charles Ellsworth @ Coda

Cleveland, Ohio, United States

Cleveland, Ohio, United States

Sep
21
Charles Ellsworth @ MonaLena Kitchen and Bar

New Ulm, Minnesota, United States

New Ulm, Minnesota, United States

Sep
20
Charles Ellsworth @ MonaLena Kitchen and Bar

New Ulm, Minnesota, United States

New Ulm, Minnesota, United States

Sep
14
Charles Ellsworth @ House Show

Denver, Colorado, United States

Denver, Colorado, United States

Sep
12
Charles Ellsworth @ Private Show

Denver, Colorado, United States

Denver, Colorado, United States

Sep
11
Charles Ellsworth @ Bar-X

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Sep
07
Charles Ellsworth @ Murray Bar

Livingston, Montana, United States

Livingston, Montana, United States

Sep
06
Charles Ellsworth @ The Owl Club

Idaho, United States

Idaho, United States

Sep
01
Charles Ellsworth @ The Emerald Temple

Phoenix, Arizona, United States

Phoenix, Arizona, United States

Aug
31
Charles Ellsworth @ The Truck Stop AZ

Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona, United States

Pinetop-Lakeside, Arizona, United States

Aug
30
Charles Ellsworth @ The Studio

Show Low, Arizona, United States

Show Low, Arizona, United States

Aug
25
Charles Ellsworth @ Quarters Arcade Bar

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Aug
18
Charles Ellsworth @ BERG'N

Crown Heights, New York, United States

Crown Heights, New York, United States

Aug
14
Charles Ellsworth @ Our Wicked Lady

New York, New York, United States

New York, New York, United States

Aug
02
Charles Ellsworth @ Catskill Brewery

Livingston Manor, New York, United States

Livingston Manor, New York, United States

Jul
31
Charles Ellsworth @ Muchmore's

Brooklyn, New York, United States

Brooklyn, New York, United States

Jul
28
Charles Ellsworth @ BERG'N

Crown Heights, New York, United States

Crown Heights, New York, United States

Jul
19
Charles Ellsworth @ Catskill Brewery

Livingston Manor, New York, United States

Livingston Manor, New York, United States

Jun
23
Charles Ellsworth @ BERG'N

Crown Heights, New York, United States

Crown Heights, New York, United States

Music

Press


"Charles Ellsworth Expands in Cesaréa"

It just goes to show what a great producer can do. I've given Charles Ellsworth a bump before, but his newest album, Cesaréa, is a leap and a bound above the songs I heard last year. Ellsworth ditched SLC for Brooklyn, as so many do, but perhaps putting himself closer to the action (see my Patreon musing) helped him realize he had a lot more skin in the game. Certainly, every song in Cesaréa is played as if it's the band's last.

The songs themselves are rough-hewn jewels. Ellsworth demonstrates an observant eye and sly sense of humor. "The Town Where I'm From" (Ellsworth originally hails from Arizona) and "California" paint a nuanced picture of blue collar boredom. Ellsworth doesn't portray a bombed-out shithole nor a "good old days" utopia. It's just what it is, and explains why he got the hell out. The latter half of the album explores the twists and turns of relationships that bend and break, but "Hold On To Me" stands out as a tender reminder that nothing worth having is easy to come by. While Ellsworth provides strong bones, it's producer Bob Hoag's (Courtney Marie Andrews, The Format, Gin Blossoms) touch that gives these songs a spacious urgency that gives these songs the drive of American Aquarium and the expanse of John Moreland's acoustic work. Ellsworth has a lot to be proud of here, and I'm impressed enough with the scope of the album to put it up there as one of my favorite albums so far this year. - No Depression


"Charles Ellsworth’s Cesaréa: A Journey Reflecting Journeys"

Cesaréa is a ten song journey, a blend of western influences and the tales of a true road dog told with a mature lyricism. From the scent of pine trees and small town life in the opening track “The Town Where I’m From” to the simple “In My Thoughts,” listeners are invited into authentic and vulnerable world of Charles Ellsworth via his third full-length release as a solo artist.

There are no mistakes in who crosses someone’s path in life. “Right around the time I turned 22, I was in Las Vegas with a group of some of my oldest friends. On one particularly hungover/still drunk afternoon, I was talking with a friend about how neither of us knew exactly what we wanted to do with our lives. He was about to head to the Peace Corps for a couple years, and I had just gone through a bad band breakup and had decided to go back to Utah to finish my Bachelor’s degree,” said Charles Ellsworth, when asked about the origins of his latest album set to drop May 26th, 2017. It was prior to his emotional musical breakup that this listener first crossed paths with Ellsworth and heard his story. Swearing off music to focus on film, this wandering man was was truly born, more open to the possibilities of life.

Ellsworth grew up in logging country of Arizona’s White Mountains where families are generationally embedded into the land. This simple life instilled in Ellsworth the value of hard work and sacrifice. These values show in songs like “California,” an uptempo Americana folk trip about moving on. Long a favorite at live shows, this mix has created a beast with soaring guitar work from Jon Rauhouse. The beautifully arranged waltz of “Hold On to Me” shows the trust that Ellsworth has in producer Bob Hoag at Flying Blanket Recording (Courtney Marie Andrews, The Format, Gin Blossoms) in Mesa, Arizona. Another song first heard live, this song has been brilliantly transformed into a lush ballad with an elegant tempo and instrumentation: a barn dance for two with the rest of the world listening.

Every path in life comes full circle, allowing the traveler opportunities to get lost along the way. Originally meeting and working with the producer Bob Hoag, the intentional life was born without any realization of the destination at that point. Ellsworth’s friend that joined the Peace Corps gave him a parting gift. “At some point I told him I just wanted to write, play music, and travel the world. I didn’t care about money, I cared about a life spent creating from outside my comfort zone. He suggested that I read The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño. I read it in the final week of the summer before starting school again. It immediately became one of my favorite books, and without realizing it at the time, influenced most of my decisions that have led me to now.”

Being on the road of life is the only way to find new experiences outside one’s comfort zone, in true Tom Waits fashion. “50 Cent Smile” is the first single off Cesaréa. The song is a connection to the man that was and the man that moved to Brooklyn, New York, after years of touring with a guitar. Ellsworth toured with and without his friend Tres Wilson (AKA Shadow Puppet), wandering from Salt Lake City north, west, east, and south to all parts in between. “50 Cent Smile” is a song mirroring the western freewheeling mentality that was inspired by John Steinbeck’s classic East of Eden. Lyrically the song taps into the questions that are posed in the classic American novel, exceptionally relevant in the world today.

“I re-read The Savage Detectives while in the studio last year and was blown away by the fact that I was still doing what I wanted to all those years ago. I decided to name the album Cesaréa after one of the characters in the book. While the album isn’t necessarily about the book, the album wouldn’t exist without it,” says Charles Ellsworth when asked recently about his upcoming album.

“Growing Up Ain’t Easy” and “Dyre Straitz” have a totally different feel for the singer. Giving voice to a more mature musician coming from a place outside of his comfort zone, it’s like the first time you ride the A Train from north Manhattan to south Brooklyn: the thirty-one mile stretch is a lifetime of change. Solid instrumentally, the resonance in Ellsworth’s vocal delivery has matured as well.

Some tracks on Cesaréa have been years in the making, having appeared in other incarnations on previous releases. “Always Looking Twice” is one of those uptempo moments of greatness that happens on this album. A new instrumentation that includes piano, movement and familiar images flickers like a crooked smile at long time fans. With its sprinkling of the road, this song sets up at the entrance to the American songbook.

Heading full circle and out of the album, “Sunday Shoes” is the connective tissue for the lyrics. The arrangement and vocal delivery gives a western strength to a song that has been evolving for years on the road, with roots in the logging country of the Arizona White Mountains where Ellsworth is from. Sprinkled with piano, the city is part of the landscape and the mountains part of the foundation in the music of Charles Ellsworth. There is a strength and confidence in his lyrical craftsmanship, an undeniable thing that cannot really be taught. Like Jason Isbell‘s highly anticipated The Nashville Sound and The American West’s The Soot Will Bring Us Back Again, this album comes out of experience that shape artistic sensibilities.

Now on the third section of his quest, like The Savage Detectives, musician and songwriter Charles Ellsworth is narrator of this story. He combines solo, acoustic, live, and collaborative releases that have culminated in the masterwork of Cesaréa. Ellsworth is destined to join the collection of folk country troubadours that are part of the American songbook.–Lisa Whealy - Independent Clauses


"REVIEW: CHARLES ELLSWORTH – CESARÉA"

Charles Ellsworth’s Cesaréa is a 10-track album that explores the Western-rock atmosphere, fusing elements from Americana-style music to folk, alt-country and even psychedelic rock.

Cesaréa opens with “The Town Where I’m From,” a relaxly paced cowboy’s ballad. The song begins with soft acoustic picks as Ellsworth admits that the town where he’s from, “It gets lonely as hell / But it don’t cost too much for a beer and a well.” The drums make a debut about a minute into the song, maintaining a relaxed, rolling rhythm, as the electric guitar interjects a minute later with a happy-sounding, psychedelic country twang.

“Sunday Shoes” is a work song. It opens only with a dramatic kick drum and Ellsworth bellowing, “Don’t you lay me down in my Sunday best / I’m a working man / And that’s how I’ll rest / Faded blue jeans / And holes in my boots / Don’t you send me off to heaven / In my Sunday shoes.” With a pause, he goes on to repeat a series of guitar breakdowns. He moves between low notes, slowly transitioning guitar chords and often distant-sounding lyrics.

While Cesaréa feels mostly country-Western, tracks like “In My Thoughts,” start and begin similarly, with a slower, softer, acoustic approach, but no drums until the song suddenly becomes less country and more psychedelic, with high-pitched notes, often drawn-out alongside quick drumming. The beat slows, focusing on the vocals, and picks back up for the chorus.

Tracks like “California” and “Growing Up Ain’t Easy” begin similarly. They quickly dive into rock elements, which demonstrate Ellsworth’s musical versatility and talent for making psychedelic rock, fit into a country-rock song.

Ellsworth builds narratives that are moving and relatable. He released the single “50 Cent Smile” earlier this year, which is a country-folk love song. The drums are the foundation for the consistently played electric guitar, which gives the song a bluesy twang. The simple chords and steady percussions frame Ellsworth’s lyrics: “When I found your halo it was lying in the grass / Covered in dirt and broken up with cracks.”

Like a cowboy, Cesaréa has both a soft and a badass demeanor, with a few tracks somewhere in between. Ellsworth delivered a unique and well-constructed album, which fuses the best of country-rock sentiment and folk-rock frenzy. –Liza Corrigan

CHARLES ELLSWORTH
CESARÉA
Burro Borracho
Street: 05.26
Charles Ellsworth = Townes Van Zandt + Tom Petty - SLUG Magazine


"Singer-songwriter Charles Ellsworth to play Aspen and Carbondale over Thanksgiving weekend"

Charles Ellsworth staked out a musical claim as a bard of the West during his eight years in Utah.

The singer-songwriter also became a familiar face on the music scene in the Roaring Fork Valley and most everywhere else in the mountains, as he toured relentlessly.

He returns to both Justice Snow’s in Aspen and the Black Nugget in Carbondale for free concerts over Thanksgiving weekend.

Ellsworth’s past few concerts here have been stripped-down acoustic affairs, taking a cue from the outlaw Americana sound on his 2015 EP “Wildcat Chuck Charles” and his stark “Salt Lake City: A Love Story,” a split release with singer-songwriter Vincent Draper.

Those records and those intimate performances showcased Ellsworth as a remarkable songwriter and an observant storyteller in the western folk tradition — an heir to the likes of Townes Van Zandt — peppering his compositions with place names and the loneliness of dusty roads.

This time he’s bringing a bassist, a drummer and a more rock-heavy set.

“I’ve been working with a new band since the last time I’ve been in that area,” Ellsworth said recently from home in Brooklyn before heading west for a 10-day tour through Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Utah. “So the sound has changed a little bit. It’s a little more dynamic, trying to be a little bit more melodic and full-sounding.”

He has a new record in the can, due out in late February, featuring the new band and plugged-in approach.

On “Salt Lake City: A Love Story,” Draper and Ellsworth each played four original songs and covered one apiece of each other’s. The song cycle about Utah and the west was a farewell for Ellsworth before he moved to New York City.

“I’d grown up in Arizona in a really small town in a tight-knit community and Salt Lake City was the big city for me,” Ellsworth said. “It took a couple years to come into my own. I knew at that point, when we made it, that I had plans to leave. I just felt my time had run its course there. And I wanted to document how I felt about the city at the time and pay tribute to this place that, over time, had become my home and opened its arms to me.”

Living in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn has been a dramatic change for the 29-year-old.

“When I first moved here,” he recalled with a laugh, “my friends were like, ‘Why did you move to New York City? You’re pretty much a redneck. What are you doing here?’”

The move has exposed him to international musicians and the diverse styles that call New York City home, which was part of what drew him there. Steeping himself in that rich scene, he’s expanding his palette beyond the Johnny Cash and Bruce Springsteen and outlaw country that has so heavily influenced his work.

This early winter tour through the west is something of a test run for the new material due out in the spring. After that, Ellsworth said, he’s planning to spend much of the year as a road warrior — touring for months at a time and getting his new songs in the ears of as many listeners as he can.

“I feel like this new record is by far the best thing I’ve ever done,” he said. “And it’s the most work I’ve ever put into a record and I want to make sure it gets out to the right people.” - Aspen Times


"“Wildcat Chuck Charles” an EP by Charles Ellsworth"

Pack up your suitcase, grab your guitar, you’re following Charles Ellsworth. Confidence, comfort, and soul pour directly from his gut into this beautifully arranged EP, titled “Wildcat Chuck Charles”. From Brooklyn to the Arizona pines you can tell he’s learned a thing or two roaming the country on his own.

The record resonates whistling winds, rustling leaves, and long dusty drives with no destination. It seems each song starts small and daunting, but parallel to a trip across country, they learn their lessons and pick up lots of little things along the way. And suddenly here are these wide ambient soundscapes showcasing a genuine human spirit and a hyper-determined heartbeat on a mission; hypnotizing you to listen deeper and deeper still.

Lyrically, the EP is Vedder-esque in terms of the dark, introspective dynamic, and soothing, mid-rangy approach. When paired with the smooth and trebly electric lap-steel, it becomes a dreamy equation. Such simple transitional wisdom as “I watch the world pass, foot heavy on the gas” and the melodies carving clean away, you can feel the long roads disappearing behind you, right where they belong.
The second song on the record “Could Have Done Better” is a bite at love. It’s familiar territory, but the way he phrases “She was the apple of my eye in the eye of the storm” gives you that whirlwind affect of a broken heart but for a valid reason, to trek on and find your true calling before settling down. The female backing vocal puts amazing emphasis on this bittersweet point.

There are a lot of heavy cruxes and grim imagery buried in Ellsworth’s elegant bouquet of blues and rock music. “Arizona Pines” gives you the guilt, and “Grandfather Pine” gives you the grit to keep on marching. That’s the way of the road I suppose, and Charles is braving it as we speak. So if there’s a vicarious experience I could suggest, it’s listening to “Wildcat Chuck Charles” as many times as it tells you to, and inviting the man himself to perform and tell stories for you and your friends in your living room. - Switch Bitch Magazine


"Local Review: Charles Ellsworth – Wildcat Chuck Charles"

Every one of Ellsworth’s albums sounds like the backing track to a heart-wrenching montage of a man crossing the U.S. in an old, rusted-out Chevrolet, sipping whiskey and wiping tears. Husky vocals complement bluesy, country rock n’ roll well. A careful balance of twangy, folk acoustic guitar and slithery, lamenting electric guitar creates a stable profile of the last 60 years of nostalgic Americana in one, neat package. “A Packed Suitcase” is heavily minor and melancholic, a stifled mourning of love lost. “Arizona Pines” features a swarming slide guitar and alludes to the dark, hurtful cavern within every human spirit. Heavy vocal harmonization builds into the chorus like a melancholy sermon. The relatable simplicity of this album makes for an emotional journey. I laid on my couch listening and weeping, and when it was over, I had a fuller understanding of not only myself but of humanity as a whole. - SLUG Magazine


"UTG PREMIERE: CHARLES ELLSWORTH – “A PACKED SUITCASE”"

There is something about melancholy music that pairs with fall like pumpkin spice lattes or hoodies, only with more of an emotional connection. It’s not that we believe people love being sad when they see leaves change colors, but something about the transformation happening in nature does lead many to reflect on their own lives. They think of the summer and how they felt alive, or they prepare for the winter and the difficult conditions it may bring. They think of everything that was and hopefully will be again, but they know not everything will go as planned, which is where music comes in.

Charles Ellsworth is currently preparing for the October 16 release of his new EP, and today the incredible singer-songwriter has partnered with UTG to share a new song titled “A Packed Suitcase.” As you may be able to decipher from the title, the song tackles love lost and the lingering pain it brings. It speaks to memories of days you thought would last forever, and the way you can still feel the joy they brought rattling in your soul. It does all this and more against top notch production led by a simple series of chords. You can stream the track below.

When asked to comment on “A Packed Suitcase,” Ellsworth offered:

“I wrote the opening line to ‘A Packed Suitcase’ while traveling solo through the PNW [Pacific Northwest]. One of those overnight drives where you suck down cigarettes like they’re necessary to life, and in a sense they are.”

If you love what you hear and decide you need more new music from Charles Ellsworth then you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of Wildcat Chuck Charles when it drops October 16. We promise you won’t be disappointed. - Under the Gun


"Charles Ellsworth – Wildcat Chuck Charles EP"

The first intonations on Wildcat Chuck Charles, the new EP from journeyman folk artist Charles Ellsworth paints a vivid mood from the outset. Telling tales of starless winter nights, the windswept Carolinas, and liquor to numb the pain, “A Packed Suitcase” hews close to folk tradition with its theme of traveling across the country to escape some inner turmoil. Yet Ellsworth’s distinctive tone manages to bring the song and the EP’s other three tracks a feel all their own.

Ellsworth’s world-weary baritone is a sort of devil’s brew of The National’s Matt Berninger crossed with Marcus Mumford. His timeless-sounding voice adds hints at experience beyond his years, and helps lend the tracks an air of gravitas that bolsters their ability to stand out amidst of a glut of similar contemporary folk singers. However, that is not to say that the songs themselves would be unimpressive without Ellsworth’s voice — to the contrary, his songwriting consistently excels throughout, generally working in dark hues that are well suited to his vocal talents. Clever lyrical turns abound, as Ellsworth seems to paint himself as a sort of wise sage of the road:

“Well I heard a man say
That life was just pain
So I pulled back the hammer
And I blew him away
I left the room before the rattle was heard
I couldn’t help but think that he got what he deserved”
— “Arizona Pines”

While Ellsworth tends to generally stick in one musical lane, he knows where his strengths lie and focuses on honing them throughout the brief runtime of Wild Chuck Charles. The fact that the listener is left wanting more is a testament to his ability to craft meaningful, well-rounded folk songs that simultaneously feel timeless and very much of our time. In our modern culture of instant gratification and short attention spans, we could use more voices like those of Charles Ellsworth, a man who has no qualms about using slow buildups and subtle inflections to make an impact. One hopes he will win over many more converts who are willing to slow down with him. - You Reviews


"MD Interview: Charles Ellsworth"

I usually do my interviews a bit differently but on this one I decided to keep it in the question and answer format. I feel it really captures Charles’ essence and the honesty behind his words. Charles Ellsworth recently released his EP entitled Wildcat Chuck Charles and it’s a hit from beginning to end. The truth behind his words is very captivating and the stories he tells almost make you feel like you’ve lived them too. I have to say I hadn’t listened to his music before but after listening to his EP and conducting the interview he’s someone I can add to my list of new faves.

1. How did you get your start in music?

I started piano lessons at an early age, probably 7 or 8 years old. I quit as soon as I could. My parents forced me to practice every single day, and I hated it. I’ve always hated being told what to do. I picked up drums around the time I quit Piano, After a few months my parents and siblings hated me playing drums in the house, so I switched to guitar. I’ve been playing in bands since I was probably 14 or 15 years old. I played bass in a band called Alaska & Me towards the end of high school and the beginning of college. We got the chance to tour the West Coast a couple of times and I was addicted to being on the road. When that band broke up I decided to go solo and hit the road as soon and as often as possible.

2. Where did the inspiration for your newest album come from?

The new record consists of songs that didn’t fully fit with the full length record I’ve been working on for the past couple of years. These songs were more of an inner dialogue. I started them as early as five years ago, but finished most of them while in the studio. With the exception of Arizona Pines, they were all more ideas than songs when we entered the studio. I chose the songs I did for the EP because I can remember back when I started writing most of them I had a very real idea of what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be. I’m still doing what I wanted to do but I’ve strayed a lot from the latter over the years. This EP was kind of a coming to terms with that.

3. How would you describe your sound in one sentence?

If the ghost of John Wayne rode a buffalo through the desert while tripping ballz.

4. Are there any upcoming shows or new albums in the works?

I’m in a weird transition mode at the moment. I’m working on finding more shows in Brooklyn until the end of the year and then I’ll be focusing on hitting the road a lot next year.

I’m also hoping to go into the studio to record my next full length in late February/early March.

5. Looking back on your career are there any moments that stand out that were pivotal moments for you?
I can think of three.

The first was about five years ago. I was in college full time at the University of Utah and I was also working two jobs. I didn’t have much time to sleep and when I found time I was an insomniac. I’d lay in bed staring at the ceiling for hours. One of these nights I picked up my guitar and started playing a really simple chord progression with some distinctive hammer-ons. After a few hours I had written a song. I woke up the next morning and played through it to see if it was any good. It was the song Arizona Pines and It’s still one of the my favorite songs I’ve ever written.

The second was when I was on tour with my buddy Tres from Shadow Puppet. Due to poor planning and the fact we were about a thousand miles from anyone who knew our names, We’d had a handful of shows cancel on us. We were between Buffalo and Boston with nowhere to go and not much money between us. We decided to drive to Albany and play an open mic at a place called Hudson River Brewing or something similar. We signed up, played three songs, and by the end of it had sold a little bit of merchandise. The folks there were insanely supportive and helped us get to Boston for our next show. That was one of the first times I really felt like I was halfway decent at the whole music thing. A nice break in the constant clouds of self doubt.

The third was getting to open up for Ben Nichols and Rick Steff from Lucero here in Brooklyn. The crowd was great, and I got to bullshit with a couple of my heroes that night. I got to share the stage with them, and they said some really nice things about my set, and gave me some great advice. It was one of those nights I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

6. Who are your musical inspirations?
Real people dealing with real world problems. The ones out there fighting the good fight.

7. Where do you see yourself in the next two years? At The Grammy’s…Valeting Kimye’s Minivan.

To be honest I’m not sure. Hopefully playing music that I love for people who enjoy the music that I play. Can’t really ask for anything more than that. - Modern Diversity


"Quick Hits: Charles Ellsworth"

I find the self-aggrandizing crowd screaming that attends most live records tiresome, so I don’t cover many of them. However, Charles Ellsworth‘s Live from the State Room has such great songwriting contained in it that I must commend it to you. (It also doesn’t have that much audience howling, which I appreciate.) Ellsworth is a guitar-and-voice troubadour, gifted with a melodic sense in his hands and throat. The ten songs of State Room show him breaking out his solo material first, then transitioning to a full-band set-up later. It allows him to show off his poignant lyrics and weighty vocals in an intimate setting first, then gently augment that core sound. “The Past Ain’t Nothin” is the highlight of this section, a tune that unspools several emotional narratives linked by a vocal motif. It hits home to me, musically and lyrically.

Once the band joins in, the poignant elements of his sound get amped up, notably on “In My Thoughts” (which IC had the privilege of premiering). A swooping cello and tasteful drums underscore the gravity of the tune. “Fifty Cent Smile” is another standout, built on train-rhythm drums and one of the most memorable vocal melodies of the record. Even with a full band, Ellsworth never lets the sound get weighed down; many of the lovely tunes keep a fragility about them. (A notable exception is the noisy “Take a Walk,” which is “about having anger issues.”) Live from the State Room is that rare live record that feels like a real experience captured on tape; it’s a great introduction to Ellsworth’s charms for the uninitiated. You can get now as part of his “Not a Kickstarter” campaign. - Independent Clauses


"Charles Ellsworth Tour Kickoff"

Ellsworth hit the stage alone for the first song, and then was joined by Electric Cathedral as his backing band. Although known as a singer/songwriter whose music is in the realm of Americana-inspired folk, the addition of the band really fleshed out his sound and took some of his songs that had only been heard before with just Ellsworth and an acoustic guitar to a new level of greatness. What was so endearing about his music was not only in the chord structures and the way he would combine them, but the way his voice interacted with those melodies. With a very clean, distinct sound, there’s an honesty to his voice and lyrics that not only made you empathize with those involved in the subject matter, but also carried the listener to the same emotional place that is the core of each song’s setting. Throughout the show he mentioned a new album he’d just mastered and will be releasing this year. Whether or not he employed the same group of backing musicians, or none at all, I can’t see the release being a disappointment to anyone. - SLUG Magazine


"“Salt Lake City; A Love Story” by Charles Ellsworth and Vincent Draper"

Charles Ellsworth and Vincent Draper‘s Salt Lake City; A Love Story is a triumph for American songwriting. The pair spin ten stories that stretch out across the deserts of the southwest, blending outlaw grit with a raw streak of self-awareness.

The format could best be described as an “un-split.” Ellsworth and Draper, who are best friends, alternate songs on the record, but the songs share a sonic palette and instrumentation. Ellsworth’s voice is the more conventional of the two–a breathy baritone clear and strong enough that it wouldn’t be out of place in a straight-ahead pop-country outfit. Draper’s attack is deep and mournful, a highly ornamented bass that shows versatility when he jumps an octave and a half to belt harmonies on the title track.

Each man’s voice and a bright acoustic guitar sit squarely at the center of any given song, backed at various times by crackling drums, lilting cello and fiddle, a clanging Telecaster, and vocal harmonies by Josaleigh Pollett. Salt Lake City‘s production is stellar: it bounces manically from stripped-to-the-bone stillness to lush washes of compressed cymbals and strings. Ellsworth and Draper are credited with bass and drums, respectively, and their chemistry as a rhythm section is impressive. The tone for the orchestration across the board is definitely dramatic, but not overdone.

What sets this pair apart from the legion of young practitioners of Americana is the diversity of influences that come through on the record. For every anthemic moment that brings to mind Waylon or Bruce, there’s an entangled strain reminiscent of Mount Eerie or The National that drifts up from beneath a shadowy shroud.

The same contrast emerges lyrically. Ellsworth writes with an approach that’s full of big ideas (“She said believe in yourself, ’cause there ain’t no one else. But I’m still holding on to this love I know that you felt when I held you in my arms.”) and builds narratives that are moving and relatable. Draper’s lyrics are perhaps the bleaker of the two, driven by endearing detail. Both explore the care and feeding of personal demons, travel, and uncertainty.

All things considered, this is a hidden gem: 43 minutes of melancholy country-folk songs with no filler, written and executed with precision. If you’re feeling down, pour a glass of bourbon and give it a listen. - Independent Clauses


"SXSW Overflow 2013: Day Seven (Charles Ellsworth)"

No, he’s not doing anything mindblowingly new, really, but Charles Ellsworth (who apparently also plays with a band called “The Dirty Thirty,” although maybe not tonight) does an able, thoughtful kind of countrified folk, understated and melancholy while staying smart and literate. He brings to mind Band of Annuals or a more beaten-down Folk Family Revival, neither of which are bad things, at least to me, and his voice is refreshingly strong and soulful and non-gritty, for once.

I’ll admit to being slightly biased, seeing as the guy’s from Pinetop, AZ, up in the mountains near where my uncles used to live (rest in peace, Uncle Derry), and I just got back from Arizona myself, but even still, the guy’s good. Oh, and he’s seriously into YouTube, it seems, uploading little clips of every damn performance he does to his account, including one from last freaking night up in Austin. Here’s a good one, from a Colorado Springs show: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uk0MXizATfc

And yeah, I’ve gotta admire a performer who just ignores the won’t-stop-jabbering crowd and does his thing, come hell or high water. - Space City Rock


"Charles Ellsworth & The Dirty Thirty - Self Titled"

Country & Folk music made in America is always a difficult thing for us Europeans, as most of us are conditioned by TV shows and the media in general to believe that there is the Hill billy/Red neck variety of Country music. And Brad Paisley. Both so very much American, that a European audience might find a difficult to get into it.

And then there are songwriters like Charles Ellsworth.

The kind of songwriter who can make some as American as country music sound universally appealing. The few, but brilliant records that make us realize how great the genre really is. And what a great record Charles’ debut record has turned out to be.
Opening track “Mama Can’t Sleep” opens with country picking and soon, Charles starts crooning his tale of leaving home early, hardship in life and family. A well-crafted story that will hit home with most people who had similar experiences, whether they be riding rail road cars in New Orleans or Buxtehude.

While the song might seem reserved at first glance, it develops a solemn yet soothing atmosphere with every listen.
“Mike calls it “A saviour complex”” is another fine example of Charles’ song writing talents, a fast paced, upbeat country song with slide guitars and female harmony vocals that will stay in your head for a long time after the first listen.
As far as outstanding tracks go the album is chock-full of them, “Nothing To Hide (give me attention)” stands out as one of the best. The song starts of slow but later picks up pace and while the band plays an eerie but beautiful mix of Americana and Country, Charles’ croons darkly to ensure goose bumps .

“All my tin Soldiers” is not only a sad, yet perfect example what great music a man and a guitar can produce.
It is also serves a fine example for Ellsworth’s talent as a lyricist, as he sings lines such as:

All my tin soldiers they died one by one / I was shocked and amazed at what my hands had done
I didn't think of their families back home / their wives with blue eyes, babies in the womb

“All These Desert Nights” is reminiscent of Calexico at their finest: A fast paced Americana song, with sombre melodies and throbbing baseline and a generally dark and sad atmosphere.
An atmosphere that is only intensified by Ellsworth’s grandiose vocals and lyrics.

When i just want to read by the light of your eyes / while we howl at the moon and chase the stars from the sky
but these desert nights are so damn cold / you're and ocean away and I’m all on my own

The rest of the record is made up of darkly brilliant songs about love, life and the accompanying hardships that will speak to everyone who has ever had the chance to experience this thing we call life.

What Charles Ellsworth has created with his début record, is something many songwriters even after they have released man a record can only dream of: a record concise in atmosphere and artistic brilliance, which showcases a man with great skills at the beginning of a hopefully very successful career.

Everyone with even the faintest interest in Country, Americana or Folk music should give this record a go you won’t regret it. - AbsolutePunk.net


"From SLC to NYC"

There are songs that live in dark alleys, with pain-stricken lyrics of human struggle laid over minor tonality. This kind of vulnerability and openness presents the listener with the topside of a rock, evoking an eagerness to find what’s under that rock. With a broken-in baritone voice and simplistic acoustic guitar as his foundation, singer-songwriter and folk-blues act Charles Ellsworth digs at this phenomenon with a raw clarity.

“When I’m working on a song I try to take the simplest approach to capturing what I felt in the moment of inspiration,” Ellsworth explained. “Once I feel I’ve successfully broken it down to its simplest form, I can try to dress it up a bit. That’s most likely why I start writing most of my music on just an acoustic guitar and then bring in other instrumentation.”

Ellsworth’s recently released EP, Wildcat Chuck Charles, was recorded earlier this year in Salt Lake City, his former base before moving to Brooklyn, New York. The four tracks are dark in timbre, downtempo yet luster in their ease. Pondering of the human spirit while crisscrossing the country is not just subject matter for Ellsworth, but a lifestyle he’s committed his adult life to.

“I think that spending as much time on the road as I have, you are forced to learn to let things happen and accept your lack of control,” Ellsworth said. “It’s a life centered around movement and how to properly approach that constant state of change. It’s the same when I’m at home in Brooklyn. My roommates and I joke about how living in NYC—you have to learn that you aren’t stuck in traffic, you are traffic. It’s all a sort of exercise in being present in the moment. The people I’ve met on the road, as well as the places I’ve visited most certainly influence what I write. There is no lack in characters or scenes with which to tell stories, and being a stranger passing through allows a kind of freedom to distort the reality or creatively fill in the gaps.”

Ellsworth has released four albums since 2011’s The Shepherd Lane Sessions, and is currently offering a download of his entire catalog for only $10 via CharlesEllsworthMusic.com. In early 2017, he’ll be releasing a new album and plans to be on the road for most of the year including his first string of international dates. For Ellsworth’s upcoming Town Square Tavern show, he’ll have a band in tow and will also play a handful of tunes solo. The difference between the two is substantial.

“Usually if I’m playing with a band we will have practiced and structured out the set a lot more. I find being prepared only helps when an opportunity of improvisation comes up,” he said. “You can’t over practice when it comes to getting multiple musicians on the same page. My solo shows are usually a little more free form. I’ll have a list of the songs that I want to play and a general idea of what I want to say, but I kind of feel out the crowd more. It keeps things interesting for me when I’ve been playing every night for several weeks or months.” - Planet Jackson Hole


Discography

Rose Door (2018)
split ep w/ Matt C. White
   - Rose Door
   - Morning Glory Fool
   - Blossom In The Sun
   - Foxglove In A-Major

Cesarea (2017)
   - The Town Where I'm From
   - 50 Cent Smile
   - Growing Up Ain't Easy
   - Dyre Straitz
   - In My Thoughts
   - California
   - Hold On To Me
   - Take A Walk
   - Always Looking Twice
   - Sunday Shoes

Wildcat Chuck Charles (2015)
   - A Packed Suitcase 
   - Could Have Done Better
   - Arizona Pines
   - Grandfather Pine

Live From the Stateroom (2014)
   - Mama Can't Sleep
   - The Past Aint Nothin
   - Salt Lake City A Love Story
   - In My Thoughts
   - Fifty Cent Smile
   - Take A Walk
   - Sunday Shoes
   - California
   - Train To Vienna

Salt Lake City: A Love Story (2014)
split album w/ Vincent Draper
   - Stuck Out In Texas
   - Jacksonville
   - Salt Lake City: A Love Story
   - If I Saw Blood
   - Back In Town
   - California
   - Danger & Blush
   - Train To Vienna
   - Next Time
   - Drugs In My Blood

Another Log on the Fire (2012)
   - Another Log on the Fire
   - Coffee Run & Cigarettes (acoustic)
   - Move It On Down (acoustic)

Charles Ellsworth and the Dirty Thirty (2011)
   - Mama Can't Sleep
   - Mike Calls It A Savior Complex
   - Coffee, Rum, And Cigarettes
   - Arizona Pines
   - Move It On Down
   - Drugs In My Blood
   - Nothing To Hide (Give Me Attention)
   - All My Tin Soldiers
   - These Desert Nights
   - Education Of A Wandering Man

Shepherd Lane Sessions (2010)
   - Last I Heard Last I Checked
   - Gamblin' Man
   - Headed Straight For Hell
   - Tell The Lord Your Plans

Photos

Bio

Charles Ellsworth gained an appreciation for a simple not so distant past in the White Mountains of Arizona where he was born and raised. Schooled in Salt Lake and transplanted to New York he has spent the better part of the past five years on the road playing music in each of the lower 48 states, sleeping on floors, couches, and in the van, coming home from tour to stay just long enough to set up the next tour. Ellsworth attributes no small part of his work ethic and life style to the words of one of his favorite writers, Roberto Bolaño, “Make new sensations appear... subvert daily life... give it all up again. Hit the road.”

His vivid lyrics and near-familiar melodies weave to tell stories of heartbreak and loneliness while shining a light on the perseverance of the human spirit. Charles has subtle way of exploring the idea that even when all seems lost, there is always a sliver of hope. Declan Ryan of Independent Clauses called his and Vincent Draper's split release Salt Lake City: A Love Story, "a triumph for american songwriting…blending outlaw grit with a raw streak of self-awareness." His ability to go from a stomp-your-boots anthem reminiscent of Springsteen, to a simple love song in the vein of Townes Van Zandt assures that it won't be long before his name, lyrics, and melodies are stuck in music lovers head's everywhere.

Band Members