Dennis Ellsworth claims that his latest album, ‘Modern Hope‘, is inspired by English folk-rock. He certainly replicated some of the speed of the early contributors to that genre, the Charlottetown-based artist worked with his old friend Leeroy Stagger, who acted as producer and a standout cast of musicians, including multi-instrumentalist Scott Smith, drummer Geoff Hicks and bassist Jeremy Holmes. They set up at Vancouver’s Afterlife Studios (formerly the legendary Mushroom Studios) in April 2022 where they recorded the entire album live off the floor in only four days. Pretty good going.
But does the undeniably lovely and gentle ballad ‘Hold You Close‘ really sound like classic English folk-rock? Well, Dennis Ellsworth went on to explain what he means by being inspired by that music: “I had been listening to a lot of Bert Jansch, John Martyn and Nick Drake, and I wanted to write melancholy acoustic based songs in open tunings. So Leeroy and I gave ourselves some parameters, booked the studio for a week, and I started writing. At first, nothing was coming. Writing at home during the day is not usually something I can make time for because of a busy family life, but after I wrote ‘Moving To Space,’ I felt like I’d found the vibe. For the next three weeks straight I’d write between the hours of 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. and text voice memos to Leeroy. I wrote the last song, ‘What A World,’ after watching the Kenneth Branagh film Belfast on the flight to Vancouver, and Leeroy and I finished it once we got together. When the album was completely done, everything just felt exactly as it was meant to be—natural and not overwrought.”