Ellis Paul doesn’t just write songs… he’s a reporter armed with an acoustic guitar covering the human condition and documenting the hopes, dreams, loves, losses and innermost secrets of those he observes. He turns their stories into luminous and thrilling pieces of music that get under your skin and into your bloodstream. Paul’s 20th release in a career spanning 30 years is 2019’s The Storyteller’s Suitcase, named Album of the Year by the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance (NERFA). Much like the artists who have influenced him, everyone from Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and undoubtedly his greatest inspiration, Woody Guthrie, Paul weaves deeply personal experiences with social issues and renders them as provocative works that are as timely as they are timeless.
Over the course of the pandemic, both to stay connected and maintain his sanity, Ellis hosted a weekly livestream show that he dubbed the Traveling Medicine Show. Inviting weekly guests and incorporating weekly themes to generate song selections provided him with the opportunity to learn how to play some of his favorite songs. Those songs morphed into a pandemic project album titled “Ellis Paul’s Traveling Medicine Show, Vol. 1” that included songs such as “Vincent” (Don McLean), “Boys of Summer” (Don Henley), “Over the Rainbow” (Arlen & Harburg), as well as “Angel from Montgomery” by John Prine – to whom the album is dedicated. The album also included one new original song: “California”. The album was recorded entirely in Ellis’ home recording studio. When released to radio, the album rose to #3 on the Folk Alliance International (FAI) Folk Chart in February, 2021. The success of the weekly Traveling Medicine Show culminated in the 1st Annual Traveling Medicine Show Festival held on May 23, 2021. The Festival featured 12 singer-songwriters in a 5-hour livestream show. But he is happy to get back on the road, playing some of his favorite venues, greeting fans…and is thrilled to be returning to WoodyFest.