Quite simply, Kate Ellis’s intimate voice is a rare gift, possessing a warmth and beauty that is immediately captivating and carries us through her heartfelt songs. ‘The Story You’ve Been Told’ is no exception. Over delicate finger-picking, gentle foot-tapping rhythms and gradually building layers, Ellis’s vocal is smoothly engaging as she sings of a powerful truth: that we are moulded by stories, both those we tell about ourselves and those told by others. Those feelings, ideas and memories can hold us back and trap us into patterns and behaviours. If we can only cast them aside, we can move on and grow. She sings: “When you feel you’re breaking // It’s just your past unmaking,” perfectly summing up the theme.
The Louisiana-born singer-songwriter is known for approaching human themes of loss, love and hope with sensitivity. Through intimate, well-crafted songs and fine melodies, Ellis creates emotionally resonant music. Here at AUK, we described her debut, 2017’s ‘Carve Me Out’, as: “…a superb debut album and one that announces the arrival of a genuine talent.” The title track from that album was a direct response to her mother’s passing. During the intervening years, she has continued to write soul-searching, heartfelt songs while processing her grief, which leads us to a new record.
‘The Story You’ve Been Told’ is taken from Ellis’s brand new album, ‘Spirals’, described by Ellis as: “…a collection of songs that came out of a process of soul searching to quiet the thought storms in my head and find my balance in the world…to find a new understanding of ways to cope with the demons and dramas that can take over our minds.” Like many, Ellis has had to address depression and anxiety and this record reflects those feelings and how her life experiences have helped to shape and strengthen her. She continues: “I think people tend to find greater peace with their psychological demons as they grow older. You can deepen your understanding of your own psychology at any age, but watching your parents die, your children grow up, and experiencing a lifetime of love and pain in relationships perhaps gives you more perspective on these issues. There are many different kinds of songs and moods on this album and even the melancholy ones come with added life and hope – not just the pain of the human condition but the joy and peace that lies underneath it. This is the truth behind the songs that I hope people will be able to connect with and respond to.”
The new record, which is out today 18th February, was produced by John Reynolds (Sinéad O’Connor, the Indigo Girls, The Cranberries). His careful work helps to bring out the richness of Ellis’s singing and he shares: “Miraculously, out of lockdown came this beautiful album by Kate Ellis. She is a unique songwriter and deeply emotional singer.” Look at for the launch show at the Betsey Trotwood in London on 26th March and other UK dates throughout 2022 – with her well-crafted songs and beautiful voice, Ellis is a joy to catch live. In the meantime, check out ‘The Story You’ve Been Told’ and reflect on your own narrative. Enjoy.
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