You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your ReverbNation experience.
Singer-songwriter Jeff Ellis has always written about what he knows so its fitting that his fifth solo release and second for NewSong Recordings is based on his most recent experiences in the US Army Reserves. Ellis has served three deployments with two overseas since enlisting in 1998. He based the story that ties together The Line on his personal experiences as a Staff Sergeant and the ones relayed to him from his brothers in arms. His most suscint and powerful release yet, The Line is also his most stylistically diverse. While a common theme ties the material together, The Line crosses creative boundaries from acoustic roots to gritty garage rock to polished, heartfelt pop.
"The Line is about coming home," says the recent transplant to South Charleston, WV, "It is the story of a soldier's journey, from blind patriotism to the realization that war is not black and white. It's a world filled with various shades of grey." The Line explores the deep, complicated emotions which every soldier who has served experiences to some degree, each in their own way; remorse, regret, loneliness and disenchantment, alongside pride, faith and unwavering dedication to a greater good. Yet the breadth of the emotions conveyed throughout the entirety of The Line are not that of a soldier alone but of those indirectly impacted by war- families, friends, leaders and voters.
The Line is patriotic in a real way- encompassing the complex world of conflict from the societal differences to the inevitable reaclimation of returning home from battle, and dealing with perspective that few can truly understand. The Line is made up of seven songs, an instrumental introduction, and two acoustic versions included as bonus tracks.
Available for purchase through digital outlets iTunes, Amazon and CD Baby, Ellis pressed a limited edition 100 copies of the CD for sale at upcoming shows throughout the region (full list below). Since releasing The Forgetting Place in March 2010 while on a two-week leave of duty from Iraq, Ellis opened for revered folk singer Todd Snider and emerging country artist Corey Smith.
After an instrumental intro, the album begins with "For You," the song that was a catalyst for the album. "For You" lays out the motivations of those who serve in plain terms and was inspired by a real-life incident where a fellow soldier got upset over a restaurant that didn't have a military discount. "We got into an argument about why we do this," Ellis recalls, "For benefits and 'atta boys' or a greater sense of patriotism? Most don't do it for handouts."
Like his previous three efforts, Ellis again recorded in Athens, OH with producer and engineer Eddie Ashworth (Sublime, Pennywise) at MDIA Sound in the Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University. They called on an all-star group of regional musicians to capture the broadened soundscapes of The Line, including longtime collaborator Bud Carroll on electric guitar ("In My Time of Dyin' ") and Athens based singer Jess Kauffman of Duke Junior & the Smokey Boots ("Hard Times"). “Over the course of the last four records I’ve seen Jeff deepen and grow as a writer and singer," reflects Ashworth. "He was gifted at both to begin with, but on The Line he has truly come into his own. Although the songs are inspired by his experiences in the service, what makes this a truly moving listen is Jeff's incredible talent for making personal observations resonate universally. Even if you have no connection with the military, these songs resonate."
It was the songs of Ellis' first war-themed effort, 2004's A Front Seat For the End of the World, that brought him to the attention of acclaimed producer. Since then, Ellis released two more full-length albums, "Covering the Distance" in 2008 and "The Forgetting Place" in 2010. In 2008 Ellis was a finalist in the Mountain Stage NewSong contest for performing songwriters and he has made two appearances on the internationally syndicated radio show.
For more, email: firstname.lastname@example.org