Hailing from Savannah and now based in L.A., for her new EP, Ellis and husband Gio Loria went back south to Alabama to record at the legendary Fame studios. Tapping into the spirit of the location, the result is soulful rather than soul, Ellis playing lap steel as well as singing, with Loria on guitar, dobro and bass and Sean Dunn and Patrick Ferguson from Athens band Five Eight on electric guitar and drums, respectively.
There's two originals and two covers, the former kicking things off with the title track, a slow swaying country soul number on which Loria also plays organ, that recounts story of Tennessee's Singing River, to where Native American Teh-La-Nay journeyed back, after being forced from her tribe to live on a reservation in Oklahoma as part of the Indian Removal Act. The second self-penned track follows, the gospel folk coloured "Evolve Or Die", a new version of the as the title track of her 2008 release, both recalling classic old school southern country.
Fitting then that one of the covers should be a walking rhythm reading of Patsy Cline classic, "Walking After Midnight", Ellis on burnished lap steel and Ferguson brushing the drums. The remaining cut, "Desperate Tonight" is an old Five Eight number written by Mike Mantione, taken at a slow waltz with a softly sad vocal as she sings "I've chosen my weapon and it's silence, complete with my trusted friend arrogance" in a manner that recalls Emmylou. It's a pity they didn't have time to lay down more tracks, but this just proves the saying that good things often come in small packages.
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