Rory Ellis

Rory Ellis

BandCountryBlues

Rory Ellis is the quintessential Australian singer/songwriter with buckets of talent, heaps of stories to tell, and impossible to pigeonhole. He's got blues man in him, some soul belter, red-dirt country and home-grown folkie.

Biography

BIOGRAPHY

“When the big fella opens up his chest and lets fly with that lusty, rumbling voice, even then it's as if he's pulling back on the reins in fear of what might happen to innocent bystanders - it's that potent.
Jeff Glorfeld The Melbourne Age

Rory has spent many years touring locally and internationally taking inspiration from suburban street culture, some of the seedier Melbourne pubs he has worked in, not just as a performer, regular glimpses of the Melbourne underworld, people he’s loved, lost, and from his own eventful life, rich in contrast. Audiences at Rory’s numerous festival appearances and more intimate performances have been captivated by his powerful vocal command and subtle acoustic instrumentation that bring the vivid stories to life.

Ellis launched his debut CD “Ride” in March 2001 to a four star review in The Age EG section by Lyall Johnson who challenged the readers "If you’re not deeply moved by this superb debut by Melbourne singer-songwriter Rory Ellis, it’s doubtful you’re human. Ellis, with his wonderfully deep, resonant voice, plumbs the depths of the human experience to come up with a sophisticated, inspiring album of predominantly earthy ballads about life on the streets"

Jackey Coyle of Rhythms acclaimed ’Road Of The Braver Man’ (released in 2003) "that the quality of Rory Ellis’s voice alone the richness of the timbre, the skill of his technique - that he conveys an irresistible charisma, and that’s not even counting his song writing skills. The first few verses I heard, I was done for - instant fan". Ellis’s particular style, that he calls "urban folk", was melded living in a boxing gym, honed playing in Melbourne pubs and polished gigging the festival circuit. He recorded this, his second solo album, over three days live in the studio with Dave Steel (guitars, accordion, percussion, mandolin and it’s celtic cousin the cittern). Jackeys enthusiasm continues "He is a master of light and shade, of knowing when not to sing in order to give full effect"

Armed with two highly media acclaimed albums Rory toured the UK in 2004 for the first time. He spent
3 months there performing over 60 hugely successful shows at venues and festivals alike.
So successful his time there he decided to return in November of that year to do another 16 shows.

On the back of those tours in 2004, 2005 saw the UK release of Rory’s third album, “The Rushes”, followed up by 7 months of touring all over the UK to promote it. This third tour of the UK saw Rory performing around 120 shows in 7 months. He performed at festivals such as Larmer Tree Festival, Fylde Folk Festival, Southsea Festival, Middlewich Festival, Broadstairs Festival, Great British R&B Festival, and many more as well as venues all over the UK including Londons famous Borderline, The Spitz and The Garage.

2006 saw the Australian release of “The Rushes” album and it received as much attention as the man who, to quote Jeff Glorfeld of The Age "is one of those quintessential Australian singer-songwriters with buckets of talent, heaps of stories to tell, and impossible to pigeonhole. He’s got blues man in him, some soul belter, red-dirt country and home-grown folkie.

Rory has been a regular at many Australian Festivals over the years including Port Fairy Folk Festival, National Folk Festival, Apollo Bay Music Festival, Blue Mountains Blues and Roots Festival, Maldon Folk Festival, Cygnet Folk Festival, Tamar Valley Folk Festival, Nannup Music Festival, Bridgetown Blues festival, Victor Harbour Festival, Yackandandah Folk Festival, Frankston Sea Festival, Skandia Festival, Queenscliff Music Festival, Thredbo Blues Festival, Barwon Heads Festival Of The Sea, Guildford Blues and Roots, Torquay Blues and Roots Explosion, St Kilda Festival, and many others.

In 2007 Rory spent a year at home to take a break from the O/S touring of the past few years in the main writing and demoing new tracks and touring around his home state doing shows at venues. He also performed at Thredbo Blues Festival, Skandia Festival, Guildford Blues and Roots Festival, Lake Bolac eel Festival, Maldon Folk Festival, High Tide Festival and Queenscliff Music Festival.
In late 2007 and into the new year, Rory started recording Two Feathers, his 4th studio album and it was completed it in March 2008. Another self produced album under the guidance of Dave Steel, (ex Weddings Parties Anything, Archie Roach) and now long time sideman and co-producer of the last 4 albums.

It was in April of 2008 Rory signed “Two Feathers” to UK label Villainous Records, taking Rory on his 5th UK tour to support its release. He again performed at festivals and venues all over the UK, some include: Shetlands Folk Festival, City Blues Weekend, Off the tracks festival, Middlewich Folk Festival, Glastonwick Festival, North Devon Festival, Larmer Tree Festival, Two Rivers Festival, Southsea Festival, Morwellum Quay Festival and Stokes Bay Festival. In late 2008 a

Lyrics

The Rushes

Written By: Rory Ellis

Lately i’ve been a little bit confused
found myself upon your mantlepiece
like that half burnt candle that went
out years before, that perfect shell
that hit the concrete floor

So pick me up put me back where I belong dust me off and wipe the dirt from off my face cause’ i’m a hardened soul with a weakened heart i’m a boat on a river whose motor just won’t start but if you treat me well we can make it to the edge where we’ll hold on to the rushes

It’s getting late again and I can feel the cold yeah the nights they come around so fast angry hearts needing peaceful time like the drunk
out on that street looking for his bottle of wine

So pick me up put me back where I belong dust me off and wipe the dirt from off my face cause’ i’m a hardened soul with a weakened heart i’m a boat on a river whose motor just won’t start but if you treat me well we can make it to the edge where we’ll hold on to the rushes

and if the water runs too fast the current gets too strong we will hold on

So pick me up put me back where I belong dust me off and wipe the dirt from off my face cause’ i’m a hardened soul with a weakened heart i’m a boat on a river whose motor just won’t start but if you treat me well we can make it to the edge where we’ll hold on to the rushes yeah we’ll hold on to the rushes yeah we’ll hold on

Road Of No Return

Written By: Rory Ellis

Driving down this long road feeling heavy white lines slapping on my face shadows from the trees they look like spirits is this the road of no return

Who’s that in the backseat looking at me please don’t you dare say a word truck driver dim your lights im blinded is this the road of no return
is this the road of no return

Somewhere north of Sydney
there’s three white crosses
and i’ve seen you all through driving eyes please don’t you wave at me yeah you’ll make me nervous
is this the road of no return
is this the road of no return

Black fella’ points his finger at me
black crows circlin’ me again
am I finding faith or losing everythingis this the road of no return is this the road of no return

Up on a hill mama's callin'
out on a rock her black son learns
so many people they never made it
thats when the wind starts to turn
thats when the sea starts to churn
thats when a tree starts to burn
is this the road of no return
is this the road of no return
yeah I can still see your face in the mirror yeah I still see your face in the mirror

Old friend

Written By: Rory Ellis


I’ll catch the train to the city
red blue or silver i’ll ride
under the clocks I remember
that taxi we flagged that december

Old friend I wonder which road you’re on
maybe we’ll crash at a stop sign
we’ll get out of the car and both kiss the tar
that we’re standing on
in an old country town in the middle of nowhere
old friend

Weekends spent shining the car
smoking two hundred cigarettes
and all the whiskey we swallowed
love those two hundred bucks a night benders

Old friend I wonder which road you’re on
maybe we’ll crash at a stop sign
we’ll get out of the car and both kiss the tar
that we’re standing on
in an old country town in the middle of nowhere
old friend

Saw the lights through our red eyes
talked the cheap end of white lies
yeah we sung in the carpark
Waltzing Matilda with me

Old friend I wonder which road you’re on
maybe we’ll crash at a stop sign
we’ll get out of the car and both kiss the tar
that we’re standing on
in an old country town in the middle of nowhere
old friend, old friend

My Old Mans Coat

Written By: Rory Ellis


My old mans coat was a big one,
the pockets so deep
and I remember every friday night
i’d run up to him and say
what you got in those pockets
is there a little something for me
but all I found was a TAB ticket
screwed up amongst his change

My old mans coat was empty
my old mans coat was damp
my old mans coat smelt like a bar room
as it slid from the back of his chair

Mum she waited at the station
till he staggered from the train
threw the dog in the front seat
did not have the nerve to kill the pain
and I sat in the backseat of the Datsun 1200,
just to drive the old man home
sound asleep by the driveway mum would
shovel him through the door

My old mans coat was empty
my old mans coat was damp
my old mans coat smelt like a bar room
as it slid from the back of his chair

Pay cheques seemed to get smaller
lay down a monkey on that sure thing in the first
keep the house on fifty dollars and
buy the kid some clothes
and I remember those friday nights
family holidays on a one arm
lost your shirt to keep up with the pack
you never did win it back

My old mans coat was empty
my old mans coat was damp
my old mans coat smelt like a
bar room as it slid from the
back of his chair

Domestic Overload

Written By: Rory Ellis


I get a little stirred up
when i’m at home
cabin fever
I been there too long
pack my bags
yeah im gonna hit the road
think I need a long drive
yeah I got domestic overload

I get a little itchy
on my two feet
think I gotta run now
i’ve got a friend to meet
i’m concerned about
my mind here
think i’m gettin towed
think I need a long drive
yeah I got domestic overload

Bye now darlin’
won’t be too late
I promise i’ll be quiet
in the old V8
yeah you’ll know when i’m home
cause’ i’ll smash the gate
but i’ll fix it in the morning
yeah I got domestic overload

Don’t care about the curtains
or the colour of the towels,
I wasn’t meant to make
these decisions
cause’ I dont know how
pinks not my colour
yeah I tend to wear brown
think I need a long drive
yeah I got
domestic overload

Bojangles

Written By: Rory Ellis


You take the high road and
i’ll take the other road and
i’ll be in StKilda before you
and i’ll meet you down where
the palm trees sway down by the
baths where Bojangles used to play
down by the road where you
spoke to God today

There ain’t no crime looking through
the glass and there ain’t no time like
the present to walk past
feathers and gowns men in gold chains
down by the baths where Bojangles
used to play down by the road
where you spoke to God today

Jesus get me out of here,
Jesus set me free rip me from
this pavement where the dancers
used to be

Now I walk along old Fitzroy St
hand in my pocket no shoes on my feet
Hey old girl do you remember the days
down by the baths where Bojangles
used to play down by the road
where you spoke to God today
yeah you spoke to God today
down by the baths where
Bojangles used to play

Passenger

Written By: Rory Ellis

I went down to the river, to listen to the final words of God, waited for the tide to turn, till I
heard his final sermon, loves been good to me this time, i’m free of the chain gang now, i’m on
the evening train, but i’m just a passenger.
Five o’clock in the evening, the sun belts hard on the thunderbolt, and every word still in my
head, I can remember all he said, loves been good to me this time, i’m free of the chain gang
now, i’m on the evening train, but im just a passenger.
On a holy ghost train to heaven on a silver rail to forever, time is now my friend, and all i’ve
lost i’ve found.
Driving’home in the moonlight, I see his face on the dashboard, I wish i’d loved like
that, and in my final breath I could say, loves been good to me this time, i’m free of the chain
gang now, i’m on the evening train, but i’m just a passenger.

Two Feathers

Written By: Rory Ellis

Daddy didn’t like the country, momma didnt like the sea, kid didn’t like the fruit that fell from the
neighbours blood plum tree, so i’d sit down on my tin roof where I thought that I could fly, waved
my arms above my head and I took to the sky, with two feathers in my fingers,
I thought that I could fly.
And i’d watch the sparrows flying, beyond the paling fence, I wished that I could join them so
i’d stand up and pretend, is it my imagination, can I really see the clouds when I sit down on
my tin roof in my royal paper gown, with two feathers in my fingers, I will never drown.
Now the dog ran from the back door, heard a mighty scream, who spilt that milk upon the grass,
who turned that woman green, now I sit down on my tin roof, where I thought that I could fly,
waved my arms above my head and I took to the sky, with two feathers in my fingers,
I thought that I could fly.
And i’d watch the world around me from my castle in the sky, watch the cars and the distant
kids from the corners of my eyes, now I sit down on my tin roof,where I thought that I could fly
waved my arms above my head and I took to the sky. with two feathers in my fingers, I thought
that I could fly, with two feathers in my fingers, I thought that I could fly.

Discography

Ride
Road of the braver man
The Rushes
Two Feathers
Perfectly Damaged

Set List

Waiting For Armaguard
Jesus Lane
Street Angel House Devil
The Gift
65 Pontiac
PC Love
Skeleton Hill
Not Much
Gravy Train
Flesh and Bone
Perfectly Damaged

Passenger
Bringin' Daddy Home
Home Tonight
Rollin' On
Two Feathers
Suburban Soldier
Work
Little One
No Love In This War
Take Me Away
Dear Satan
Wrong Side Of The Tracks
Darlin' Man

plus many others from the other 3 earlier albums