Reviews

Dennis EllsworthDennis Ellsworth
Album: Romantic As It Gets
Label: Busted Flat
Tracks: 11
Website: http://dennisellsworth.com/

It seems that nowadays almost anyone can buy a cheap guitar and record an album as a singer/songwriter. As a family of part-time music promoters we tend to get a lot of these make-shift troubadours sending us CDs accompanied by a request for a gig. The fact is that sadly many of the albums we receive just aren't any good. In 2012 we were sent 'Dusk Dreams' - the debut album by Dennis Ellsworth and let me tell you it is sublimity in it's purest form. Soon after we booked him up for a gig and he's been coming back for us each year since.

Now onto the current release, 'Romantic As It Gets'. The third full-length studio album by Ellsworth brings back his trademark soft and dreamy brand of laid-back Americana.

Everything that Dennis writes seems to be able to hit you right in the heart, no matter the subject or tempo of the song. He can fill you with warm-fuzzy love-y feelings as in 'Stay True', or he can send you to sleep with the the slow waltzing of 'Dancing All Alone'.

Romantic As It Gets sees the return of the pedal steel guitar that was used heavily on Dusk Dreams. I don't mean that country-style steel that you might hear at the Grand Ole Opry; I'm talking steel you won't even feel. By that I'm saying it took me around four or five plays through before I noticed that Dennis was being accompanied by steel. In fact I'll go as far as saying that the bonus track, 'Sweet Decay' has the most heart-wrenchingly beautiful piece of pedal steel I've ever heard - check it out.

This new release also sees Ellsworth experimenting with some dream-like guitar and organ tones, which can be heard in 'Full Moon Blues' and 'Skyline River Valley Dream'. I often wonder how Dennis manages to make such sublime records, and I think it might be due to how laid back he is. If you ever get the chance to go and see him play, you'll find out what I mean. The whole band on this record sound so relaxed they may as well be tucked up in bed with a mug of coco. Even the drummer sounds as if he is laying down!

There are quite a few artists coming out of Dennis' homeland of Canada, with their own brand of Americana. I would say that Ellsworth is in a league of his own though, invoking a kind of lucid and retro-inspired snapshot of a Canadian landscape through his music. You won't find any angsty folk ballads or angry whiskey-driven country songs here, just a sweet nectar of soft and beautiful Americana genius.

Lloyd Brown
http://www.squarerootspromotions.co.uk