“Life” – Ellen River (2023) [english]

We are in a world that is totally interconnected and sometimes suffocating. But often these connections make me discover notes, poems and voices that I would have been impossible to find without “external” help.

Those who follow me know: all, or almost all, the artists I make you know, I discovered them in this way.

American friends or fan groups reporting new musicians, new releases and new songs.

I listen, by now, very little “mainstream” music and only of artists I have always loved: Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin, Rory Gallagher, Jimi Hendrix, Allman Brothers Band, etc… Just to mention the most influential in my understanding of music.

In our country, however, this underbrush of independent music that tries desperately to bring out his voice has much more difficulty to emerge.

Especially if the artist loves American sounds and, God forbid, decides to sing his poems in English.

I discover so many artists in the United States, that often I don’t have the time to venture into research that would certainly deserve more study.

There, hope and even the possibility of making it is more at hand. Not only Nashville, which however remains the center of musical dreams of 90% of musicians, but now the clubs that are references in the independent circuit are really many and distributed in all states. There are also many wonderful festivals that are real showcases for local talents.

I’m not saying that it’s easy to do it or that spreading a word in an avalanche is like saying it, but surely you have a better chance of trying to do it successfully.

In my Instagram profile I use these connections for some collaborations that allow me to spin my articles and, even in that way, I use the space to bring to the knowledge of Italian ears my favorite artists.

In this way, thanks to the collaboration with the page called “Book ‘N Roll Club” (http://www.instagram.com/booknroll_club/ ) once a month about I do a post “showcase” for an artist that I think deserves to be discovered.

It was in response to one of my posts that this artist came to my knowledge. I was amazed that an Italian knew one of my favorite songs of the great Ray Wylie Hubbard and in addition, looking through his page, I discovered that she was a musician: I had to know more.

Here I am to tell you about a girl from Emilia with an artistic name very blues and that with her wonderful voice made me travel in the land of my musical dreams.

Ellen River was one of those discoveries that will remain in my speakers for a long time, not one of those listenings passing by that leave you nothing.

As I told her after the first listening, I had this feeling: her voice is a cure for souls, just like that of the American artists I adore and I told you about in my articles (Jade Marie Patek, Morgan Wade, Kayla Jane or Nikki Lane, to name a few).

Ellen is on her second solo album (actually there is also a first album of 2014, “Otis“, but you won’t find it in the streaming services) and after the excellent Lost Souls of 2018, reaches artistic maturity, despite being very young, with a work that I dare say monumental: this Life.

Monumental because a double disc, long, 27 songs for almost 1 hour and a half of fantastic American music.

Don’t panic, the puck flows away like a race on Route 66 with the sun on your face and the wind caressing you.

A musical journey that starts from the swamps of Louisiana and reaches the dust and the desert of Texas, without forgetting to stop in the mountains of Kentucky and the noise of the city of Chicago.

Ellen’s music is really a kind of tour operator of America that we learned to love and appreciate.

Ellen River belongs to that world and I wish her, one day, to be able to prove it on the other side of the Ocean: I am certainly a voice like hers, accompanied by her nontrivial lyrics and strongly linked to true life, of love, suffering and rebirth, would be perfect for a nice concert at Gruene Hall in New Braunfels, Texas. Place where all the greatest American songwriters performed.

The voice of Ellen River, since the first song Blues For G, reminded me a lot of the timbre of the great soul singers passed by Muscle Shoals, but with the freshness of a young Alanis Morrissette.

A combination that makes it personal, inspirations yes, but with a strong character and never banal.

This piece is swampy, dragged, blues with a sticky soul. What a start!

Honorable mention for the guitars played by Boris Casadei and the perfect sound directed by Gianluca Morelli of the Decklab studio in Rimini, co-producer of the album together with River.

Not least are the other players: Rodolfo Valdifiori on bass, Diego Sapignoli on drums, Stefano Zambardino on piano and accordion, Marco Maccari the fantastic banjo, Enrico Giannini with his hammond, Alex Valle with the pedal-steel, Enrico Guerzoni on cello and Luca Falasca on violin.

I didn’t tell you about the songs not because it wasn’t worth it, but because in this trip they are all worth tasting. Just look at the cover of the album where the sunny smile of this girl transmits optimism: here, her record and her poems are like that.

Optimism despite life sometimes reserves you ugliness and difficulties that seem insurmountable. Songs for daydreamers and I’m one of them.

The single and title-track is this: solar, dragging and damn beautiful. The powerful and intense voice of Ellen River does the rest in a piece from the oscillating trend between folk and rock. If I had to frame the sound would be a personal interpretation of the music of Morgan Wade, one of the best independent artists of recent years.

Intense rhythm and bluegrass atmospheres are those touched in Make It Right, where the banjo and accordion sounds take the stage.

There is obviously space for the western atmosphere and in the instrumental Resonance there is a personal and original tribute to the great Ennio Morricone.

Original because the artist inserts as a carpet in the distance the noise that comes out precisely from the “magnetic resonances” and imagines the duel between the machine that represents pain and suffering and the music and melody that try to make their way, to be heard, to live.

I didn’t mention all the songs, but I think this would be enough to find a reason to listen to the 27 pieces of this beautiful record. It’s talent and genius, not common.

A beautiful long and enriching journey, a journey that Ellen River makes through her experiences, but that could very well be autobiographical for all those who will listen.

This is the secret of the independent music that I love and that this artist has inside her soul: to talk to ordinary people about stories of real life in which to recognize themselves and with which to make their own personal catharsis.

A voice that you will not forget easily and that, if you love the great American and English voices, you can not put in your playlist.

I said and I repeat: the voice of this Emilian girl is a medicine for the soul and I hope, one day, to attend a concert, since not only is she very good, but she is also in the American way super active with her live around her region and not only.

And one day, who knows, since I’m a daydreamer I imagine her at the Exit In in Nashville make even the land where his music belongs to dream.

Good listening,

Trex Willer by http://www.ticinonotizie.it

(in Ticino Notizie web site you can find original italian version of this article)

Pubblicato da Trex

Sono un blogger e scrittore appassionato di musica indipendente americana. Scrivo gialli polizieschi e ho inventato il personaggio del detective texano Cody Myers.

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