Mike Ellis

Mike Ellis


I write acoustic story songs. Some of my songs are humorous, some are personal, and some are as unique as the characters and situations they describe. My songs do not take sides, they just show life in all its imperfect glory and tragedy, and leave it for the listener to decide.


My music comes from the heart and from the people and experiences that have colored my life. I have enjoyed a passionate love affair with music since I was little. I spent many a Sunday morning throughout the 80's tracking and predicting the American Top 40.

I got a Fender Stratocaster at age 13 and learned how to play rock 'n' roll listening to my Dad's Zeppelin, Doors, Beatles, Creedence, and Cream albums. In the early 90's, I played in a grunge band called Underdog. We had a very small local following but we did our best to capture the angst of the age. Through my 20's I opened up to many different styles of music including hip-hop, R&B, reggae, latin music, sacred music, jazz, blues, just about everything.

Up until the past 5 years, I mostly enjoyed playing other people's music. But as I came into my 30's and started listening to the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Steve Earle, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Lyle Lovett, the Indigo Girls, Jackson Browne, Ani DiFranco and other great "story singers," I realized that I had something to say musically as well.

In my day job, I am a social worker, and I have had the privilege to see both the best and the worst in human beings through my work. Songwriting has been an outlet for trying to make some sense of, or at the very least, honor the difficult paths that many of us have to walk to stay alive. I am grateful to all of the amazing people I have had the privilege to know and for the ways their stories have touched my life. Through my music, I hope to share those gifts with listeners, and in doing so, open their hearts as well.


The Road Home

Written By: Mike Ellis

There's a storm comin' baby
It's the Big One, people say
And I heard your daddy's voice, child
Said we best be on our way
He said, sugar, best be on your way

I ain't goin' nowhere, Mama
This has always been my home
The 7th Ward, New Orleans
Is all I've ever known
It's the only home I've ever known

I know, I feel the same way
I hate to leave all this behind
But Katrina is the real thing
And we don't have that much time
That hurricane could be here any time

Now don't you worry, Mama
You been watchin' too much news
And anyway our busted car
Ain't gonna be much use
No that old thing ain't gonna be no use

They're sending buses, honey
And we're gonna get on board
So get your stuff together
It's time to leave the 7th Ward
I know it's hard to leave the 7th Ward

I don't wanna end up somewhere
In some God-forsaken place
Around here at least I'm someone
Out there I'm just a face
Out there I'm just one more stranger's face

I've said all I can say, son
I can see your mind is made
So I pray the Lord will hold you
In His arms and keep you safe
Shelter you from harm and keep you safe

Well, she held me close and she kissed me
And I felt her tears explode
I said, all right I'm comin' Mama
I can't let you go alone
I know you'd never make it there alone

When the Greyhound left the station
I held Mama's hand in mine
And we looked back at the 7th Ward
Like it might be the last time
It felt like it would be the last time

And I guess that we were lucky
We got out just before the storm
But now we're stranded here in Houston
Been two years since we left home
And it looks like it's a long road home
Yeah it's gonna be a long road home

Runaway Brain

Written By: Mike Ellis

You're a renegade kid
You're the Prince of Pain
You're a Southern son
You're against the grain
You're Billy the Kid
You're Jessie James
And you were born with a Runaway Brain

Runaway Brain, Runaway Brain
You were born with a Runaway Brain

You wear your family
Like a ball and chain
Everyone you love
Is in jail or insane
You're either bound for glory
Or you're bound for shame
There's just no tellin'
With a runaway brain

Runaway Brain, Runaway Brain
There's just no tellin' with a Runaway Brain

You're a mystery child
You're fire and rain
You're a little Darth Vader
And a little Bruce Wayne
You're part Hell's Bells
And you're part Penny Lane
You could be anyone
With your Runaway Brain

Runaway Brain, Runaway Brain
You could be anyone with your Runaway Brain

Your thoughts run wild
Your mind won't be tamed
It gets you to do things
You can't explain
You say you're sorry
And you take the blame
And you try to catch up
With your Runaway Brain

Runaway Brain, Runaway Brain
You try to catch up with your Runaway Brain

Well the honest life
Is hard to maintain
With those fools and demons
Always callin' your name
Maybe one of these days
You're gonna make a change
But for now you just ride
With your Runaway Brain

Runaway Brain, Runaway Brain
For now you just ride with your Runaway Brain....