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Sweet Mistakes

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Album Review

During an uncharacteristically long four-year period between major-studio releases, Ellis Paul quietly offered this web-sales-only assortment of new recordings to his patient fan base. "This is not a concept album," he warned in the liner notes, "This is a collection of demos, ideas, experiments...with noises and choices that might not survive onto a label album." At the core of the album are four tracks recorded at an Atlanta studio that subsequently burned down, taking the master recordings with it and unexpectedly turning Paul's unfinished demos into finished products. But it's doubtful that extensive alterations would have been necessary. All four songs are reasonably polished and richly produced folk-pop efforts. The title track especially seems radio-ready and instantly ranks among Paul's best. (It was, in fact, used as is in the Gwyneth Paltrow comedy Shallow Hal.) The techno and hip-hop-influenced "Martyr's Lounge" and "The 20th Century Is Over" are risky experiments for Paul, but they are both surprisingly successful. Other experiments, like the anthemic remix of "3,000 Miles" and the Jayhawks-style countrified "Roll Away Bed," are less noteworthy. But such daring stylistic excursions are balanced by the fine, straight-up folk arrangements on "Kristian's Song" and "Medicine." On the whole, the record leaves the impression that Paul is getting even better as a writer of philosophically optimistic, tightly melodic contemporary folk music, while losing none of his command over that dynamic silken tenor.

Customer Reviews

Exceptional Even For Ellis Paul

If you have found this review, you are clearly not one to settle when it comes to music. And although I'm not really the roadie type and don't have "musician infatuations," if anyone were to convert me, it would clearly be Ellis Paul. I have been a fan since living in Boston in '96-'98, and have seen him perform in small venues all along the East Coast. If you haven't discovered Ellis Paul yet, this is a great album to gain exposure to him; you can't go wrong with any song. His lyrics are absolute poetry: lyrical, insightful and unexpected at every turn. Listen to his music. Read what he writes. Be forever changed.

Its just that simple!

Ellis Paul is absolutely one of the coolest artists I've ever met! His music is hypnotic and he is a genuinly nice person. He is truly my favorite folk singer. His album "Essentials" is just that, but "Translucent Soul" and this album all have great tunes. Home is such a great song Love song. If you EVER get the chance to see him in person, you will not be sorry! Angel in Manhattan is one of my favorite songs. Great night out with a loved one!


A great CD.. the perfect blend of pop and folk acoustic.


Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A troubadour, a singer/songwriter, a folky, and a storyteller -- all are fair labels for this artist, but they do not quite suffice. However, the tattoo of Woody Guthrie worn proudly on his arm is a good starting place from which to grasp Ellis Paul, for it is from the Woody Guthrie tradition that he hails, and Maine as well. Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, and James Taylor are also listed among his influences, and their spirits seem to occasionally grace his work. With an acoustic guitar in hand, he weaves...
Full Bio

Top Albums and Songs by Ellis Paul

Sweet Mistakes, Ellis Paul
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Customer Ratings