Charles Ellsworth & The Dirty Thirty - Self Titled
Record Label: A Wandering Man Production
Release Date: March 16, 2012
Country & Folk music made in America is always a difficult thing for us Europeans, as most of us are conditioned by TV shows and the media in general to believe that there is the Hill billy/Red neck variety of Country music. And Brad Paisley. Both so very much American, that a European audience might find a difficult to get into it.
And then there are songwriters like Charles Ellsworth.
The kind of songwriter who can make some as American as country music sound universally appealing. The few, but brilliant records that make us realize how great the genre really is. And what a great record Charles’ debut record has turned out to be.
Opening track “Mama Can’t Sleep” opens with country picking and soon, Charles starts crooning his tale of leaving home early, hardship in life and family. A well-crafted story that will hit home with most people who had similar experiences, whether they be riding rail road cars in New Orleans or Buxtehude.
While the song might seem reserved at first glance, it develops a solemn yet soothing atmosphere with every listen.
“Mike calls it “A saviour complex”” is another fine example of Charles’ song writing talents, a fast paced, upbeat country song with slide guitars and female harmony vocals that will stay in your head for a long time after the first listen.
As far as outstanding tracks go the album is chock-full of them, “Nothing To Hide (give me attention)” stands out as one of the best. The song starts of slow but later picks up pace and while the band plays an eerie but beautiful mix of Americana and Country, Charles’ croons darkly to ensure goose bumps .
“All my tin Soldiers” is not only a sad, yet perfect example what great music a man and a guitar can produce.
It is also serves a fine example for Ellsworth’s talent as a lyricist, as he sings lines such as:
All my tin soldiers they died one by one / I was shocked and amazed at what my hands had done
I didn't think of their families back home / their wives with blue eyes, babies in the womb
“All These Desert Nights” is reminiscent of Calexico at their finest: A fast paced Americana song, with sombre melodies and throbbing baseline and a generally dark and sad atmosphere.
An atmosphere that is only intensified by Ellsworth’s grandiose vocals and lyrics.
When i just want to read by the light of your eyes / while we howl at the moon and chase the stars from the sky
but these desert nights are so damn cold / you're and ocean away and I’m all on my own
The rest of the record is made up of darkly brilliant songs about love, life and the accompanying hardships that will speak to everyone who has ever had the chance to experience this thing we call life.
What Charles Ellsworth has created with his début record, is something many songwriters even after they have released man a record can only dream of: a record concise in atmosphere and artistic brilliance, which showcases a man with great skills at the beginning of a hopefully very successful career.
Everyone with even the faintest interest in Country, Americana or Folk music should give this record a go you won’t regret it.