Ellis Paul

Don't automatically cast Ellis Paul into that Nor'easter folkie bin where your Tejas chromosomes probably tell you he belongs. No, despite his Boston ties, Paul is one of those sophisticates whose tunes have moved beyond the often cheesy platitudes of Yankee folk toward the heartfelt cotton candy platitudes of pop, to that inner land of poetic introspection where questions like “She loves a girl / what are you gonna do if you love her too?” are asked. Paul's is mostly a slick, urban music (the adjective “literate” always pops up). Often topical, Paul's work has been used in a dozen movies — the Farrelly brothers certainly have a thing for him. To his credit, he's not afraid to challenge his folkish fan base by rocking out or adding some hip-hop beats to his studio palette. His newest album, Essentials, which serves mostly as a career retrospective, will probably make the greater part of Paul's Houston set list.
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William Michael Smith