Rory Ellis
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Rory Ellis


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The Rushes **** (4 star review)
written by Jeff Glorfeld
The Age, March 9th 2006

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.

Which might be why he tends to keep a lid on things, really only cutting loose on a couple of numbers, the rocking Road of No Return and the deeply moving My Old Man's Coat.

Rory Ellis is one of those quintessential Australian singer-songwriters with buckets of talent, heaps of stories to tell, and impossible to pigeonhole. He's got bluesman in him, some soul belter, red-dirt country and home-grown folkie.

The songs tend to move at an amble, as if the man just won't be rushed. But songs such as Domestic Overload, Up Stumps and the splendid I'm Not Gone speak of a restless spirit.

Ellis is buttressed by the magnificent guitar playing and production of Dave Steel. Special treats include Kerri Simpson singing on two tracks, and the man whom Ellis most resembles in vocal style, Chris Wilson, on harmonica. Steel's old Weddos mate Mark Wallace adds accordion to a few tracks.
- The Age

written by Nick Argyriou
"On The Record"
Inpress Magazine, March 15th 2006

Drysdale's favourite son returns with the follow up album to his previous releases, 2000s debut Ride and his live in the studio album Road Of The Braver Man in 2003 - a record rich with old school country twang and spirit. Recalling Ellis' time spent in the underworld of 1980's Melbourne specific to his time experiencing first hand, the madness of these times.

Rory Ellis has a booming voice, which resonates throughout The Rushes and along with his acoustic guitar, the big man stamps his authority over some very soulful storytelling. These are tunes that fuse together engaging tales about Ellis' time spent or more 'surviving' in the hardest and most dangerous of times, and the total package and feel of the album recalls another of Melbourne's finest blues musicians, Chris Wilson (who incidentally provides his signature harmonica sound throughout the recording). The Rushes is enhanced musically by the involvement of multi instrumentalist and former Ellis collaborator, Dave Steel (Weddings Parties Anything), a prolific producer of the past 20 years, having worked with artists ranging from Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter to Tiffany Eckhardt. Steel provides a range of instrumentation to The Rushes in order to frame certain parts of the album - not overpowering the essence of spirit of the intended meanings by Ellis, but giving them added texture and space to breathe, with his use of Dobro, lap steel, mandolin and electric guitars.

Road Of No Return chugs along like a fast moving blues train with Steel's interchangeable guitar sounds working their way into Wilson's frenetic harmonica solos, which then expand into some impressive didgridoo by fellow Dave Steel cohort Glen Romanis. Ellis eases into the track Underworld. exploring his eclectic past, his vocal moves from a rumble to a growl and is helped along by Steel's delicate use of the piano and threatening movements on the electric guitars. This is an impressive body of work by Rory Ellis and complements the blues and roots music of 21st century Australia nicely.
- Inpress Magazine

Road Of The Braver Man - "Album Of The Week"
written by Natalie Vulic
Beat Magazine, April 9th 2003

To put it simply, I have been blown away. As I sit here in front of my computer, having just finished listening to Road of the Braver Man, I have to admit my life has been enriched. Ellis is a man that has a story to tell and he knows how to tell it, a man that is an important person in the Australian music industry right now. Rory Ellis has seen some shit and has lived to tell his story, combining the sounds of the acoustic guitar, accordian, mandolin and dobro to create an urban folk masterpiece worth owning a copy of. Big Picture opens the album with Ellis’ booming voice and mild humour as he asks whether his life would have been better off if he had chosen a different path.Maybe a pop star, a legend on screen/ if only I had a head of hair like James Dean.Luckily, Ellis didn’t take that path!

Union Hotel is an honest insight into working at a local hotel known for its seediness and crime, where getting out alive after each Saturday night was Ellis’ victory. Although it’s hard to pick highlight tracks because they are all gems in their own special way, two that stick in my mind are Railway Parade and album closer The Million Dollar Question. The former focuses on harsh realities, with Ellis singing matter-of-factly down on Railway Parade/ when you’ re gone you’re history. The latter is a compelling look at life through the eyes of an innocent child, who asks dad the tough questions about life. What do you tell a child who asks why the news on television is always so sad?

Ellis’ lyrics bring to the surface questions that most of us think about but rarely seek answers to. Combined with music stripped back to its roots, with bluesy guitar solos that touch the heart and soul, Road of the Braver Man has the depth and spirit lacking in today’s music.

Throughout the album Ellis sings about another world, one that many of us are not exposed to on a regular basis. We learn about a side of Melbourne that most of us choose to forget about, the side where dark and troubled characters try to survive the hell that is living on the streets. We hear about people with harsh exteriors that are really lost souls struggling to live each day the best they can.

After listening to Road of the Braver Man, you learn more about life than you would listening to sugar-coated pop songs sung by kids that are still living a sheltered life with mum and dad. Rory Ellis, you are a poet that deserves to be heard, a man that deserves to be praised.
- Beat Magazine

Ride **** (4 star review)
written by Lyall Johnson
The Age EG Section, March 9th 2001

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 thedepths of the human experience to come up with a sophisticated, inspiring album of predominantly earthy ballads about life on the streets, a daughter who never quite made it into the world, and, of course, love and loss. A pleasing blend of folk and urban rock, Ellis's music is underpinned by acoustic guitar, but nicely peppered with interesting slide guitar riffs, Hammond organ and the odd violin.Ride has probably the best production ona local CD I've heard in some time, and is a credit to producers Ellis, local industry icon Dave Steel and engineerMichael Letho. Ellis's fine voice is backed by some of Melbourne's best musicians, including Steel on electric guitar, Stuart Speed on bassand Ashley Davies on drums.
- The Age

The Rushes by Rory Ellis
written by Phil Daniels
Folking, 26th July 2006

Since I started writing album reviews I don’t think I’ve ever longed for an album to be released quite as much as I longed for this. Seeing Australian singer/songwriter Rory Ellis give a taster of things to come on this record at his live shows just heightened my anticipation. So, when he called to say it’s in the mail, the postman couldn’t come quickly enough.

Was it worth the hype……..damn straight!

This guy oozes ability. His songwriting is personal and brings to life the places he’s seen and things he’s experienced. The lyrics paint such a vivid picture that you are just transported into his world, you are seeing the things through his eyes and feeling the things that he felt. The musical backdrop only enhances the imagery conjured up by the lyrical content, and one of the main reasons you feel this imagery in such an inspiring way is Rory’s vocal delivery. He has one of the most expressive voices I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to. The style of his writing and composition is delivered with a vocal of a man who has definitely lived his songs. Weathered and gravelly for a number of songs, his voice then suddenly becomes sultry and soul filled to bring out different qualities in the material.

The brilliant ‘Road Of No Return’ is an instant standout with its infectious groove, lap steel guitar licks and quality use of the Didgeridoo to end. However, once you have listened to this record a number of times you’ll grow to love every track. The one that is really sitting at the top of the tree for me at the minute is the fantastic ‘The Underworld’. Rory has written a number of songs about his brushes with the gangster culture of his native Melbourne, and this is another. In true Rory Ellis style, he draws on the experiences and paints the picture, with minimal acoustic guitar accompaniment to just highlight the atmosphere. It is these brilliant individual pieces of work combined that make this album very special.

I thought it would take a lot to top the last album. I’m still not sure which one would win if I had to seriously choose. What it does demonstrate though is that Rory Ellis is producing material of such a high standard that his last two records have fallen into my favourites of all time. This man needs to be heard, he needs to be noticed and he deserves to have a lot a success. Not many artists can consistently release material of this quality. If he doesn’t make a very big name for himself in this industry, it’ll be a huge crime. Please see that it happens, you’ll be very happy you did!
- Folking UK

Rory Ellis is a big bear of man from Australia. Accompanied by a marvellous slide-guitarist, he gave us some of his own songs. He has a deep growl of a voice that seems to come out of the very ground itself. Think of Chris Rea, but a lot deeper voiced. He played two of my favourite songs of his most recent album – “The Rushes” and “Road of No Return.” The latter closed his set – a slow song ending in a blinding steel guitar solo and a gentle hum of feedback from Rory’s guitar, reminiscent of the whirr of tyres on tarmac - BBC Scotland

"What a bloody festival, ladies and gentlemen," was Aussie singer-songwriter Rory Ellis's gobsmacked verdict. "Do you guys do this every year?" Ellis was another standout of 2008's line-up, wrapping shades of Satchmo, Springsteen, Tom Waits and Chris Smither in his epically rugged voice. - The Scotsman

Next up was Australian Rory Ellis. He produced a spellbinding performance,
playing guitar and singing his own songs, some inspired by his life in Melbourne,
in a deep gruff, gravelly voice, expertly accompanied on slide guitar by Tim "The Professor" Hackett.
In the darkened hall with coloured lights illuminating the stage, Ellis sang of dives frequented at 3.00am,
of doomed relationships of povertyand grinding hard work.
A powerful brooding prescence, the bald headed Ellis belted out his throaty messages about Railway Parade,
where as you remove your body, your shoes stick to the carpet, and a strident Dylanesque
compostionabout a couple being taken "from heaven to hell" and another about finding no common ground.
The outstanding "Old Man Butterfly", a song about a war veteran begging on the bus, a man glimpsed and
forgotten about, was particularly passionate.
The soulful desperate rendition seemed to echo from the wood panelled stage and around the hall as the audience
listened intently.His influences, he said later, ranged from Johnny Cash to Elvis, to opera and all were apparent,
as well as blues and rock, in a performance that was all too short and could easily have headlined the show. - The Shetland Times

Ellis accompanied by Tim Hackett on slide guitar, was superb.
As MC Mhari Pottinger told us, "What a voice". And he was also
"How many of you have ever been in love?" he asked the audience.
Not surprisingly very few hands went up. "well I was in love once,
and thought i'd write a song about it.
all fairly predictable you think, but what followed was one of the
most commanding vocal performancesof the festival.
deep rich and passionate. - The Shetland Times


Road of the braver man
The Rushes
Two Feathers
Perfectly Damaged




“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