As a teenager, my family would pack up our minivan and make the trek from Toronto to Florida over our March break. These drives felt endlessly long and grey, but there was one silver lining — we would listen to a wide range of music, from jazz to rock n’ roll, dance, pop, folk, rhythm and blues, Celtic and Motown. The drive that stands out most vividly in my mind is one that was dominated by the entire musical repertoire of Roy Orbison. It is memories of this particular drive that Prince Edward Island born singer-songwriter Dennis Ellsworth evokes when I listen to his impressive body of work.
Ellsworth’s voice has a smooth, deep, melancholy quality reminiscent of Roy Orbison. Like Orbison, his lyrics and sound are darkly optimistic and have the effect of at once uplifting the listener while also calling to mind memories of love, heartache and nostalgia for experiences passed and dreams one longs for.
His music is self-described as Alt-country with a “seamless blend of modern East Coast folk and rock and roll with shades of Americana, roots and country haunting the edges.” As of late, Ellsworth has released an album a year and he travels and gigs extensively – his discography consists of six albums and he has toured across Canada, USA and the UK. His passion and dedication to music are evident in his prolific songwriting and the powerful way in which he puts his lyrics to music.
His most recent release, Hazy Sunshine (2013), is melodic and emotive, with Ellsworth’s hypnotic voice backed by a band that contributes acoustic and electric guitar, drums and violin. This artist is one to watch.
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