Rory Ellis

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Rory Ellis

Rory Ellis is one of Australia’s best-kept secrets. The Americana icon has released seven albums since 2000, toured the world playing an illustrious list of festivals, and shared a stage with the likes of Canned Heat and Richie Havens – all whilst being a family man. He’s now back with a new five-track EP ‘Rah Rah’ blending his soulful voice into a vibrant and unique release.

“The whole song writing experience for me is really about capturing a bit of everything. I’ve done the dark side and various topics over the years – everything from when I worked at the Sacred Heart Mission to the last album, which was about my mum, an album called Yellow. This one [Rah Rah] comes from the perspective of being at a really happy place in your life, and I guess it’s a bit more upbeat for that reason,” Ellis says.

His time doing voluntary community work at the Sacred Heart Mission was the biggest influence for his debut solo album ‘Ride’, which was released in 2000 to immense critical acclaim. Since then it has been a constant cycle of touring and releasing albums gaining more recognition with each addition – which have all been independently released.

“I think there is something really dignified about doing it by yourself, and not relying on other people’s money,” he says.

“For the most part for guys like myself we sell our product at shows – so there is really no need for major label intervention. I feel that’s becoming more so the case, even now, the industry has changed a lot and the independent scene seems to be even stronger.”

Over the years Ellis has worked hard to establish himself as an underground hero of the alt-country and Americana (blend of folk, blues and country) circles and has built himself quite a reputation in England, in particular. First touring the UK in 2004 he has returned every year since for an extended tour.

“It is a really good place because you could go there and play a gig and people who may have never heard of you would turn up purely out of interest. There was a lot of interest in live music there at the time and even now,” remarks Ellis.

After the release of Rah Rah, Ellis is already working on his next full-length album titled One Skin to be released at the end of the year. This release he’s experimenting with new sounds by incorporating a chromatic harmonica.

“The thing sometimes sounds like an accordion, sometimes sounds like a clarinet, sometimes it sounds like a trumpet and sometimes it even sounds like a saxophone – it’s quite bizarre. It’s going to be a really interesting album, I’m really loving it at the moment and I think it’ll be one of my best,” he says.

Rory Ellis is about to embark on the Rah Rah East Coast tour, making its way through Bendigo for a show at the Golden Vine Hotel. When asked about the show Ellis responded, “[I’m] absolutely keen, I love Bendigo it’s a great town. I try to do the odd show up there from time to time but it’s been quite a while, so I’m really looking forward to getting back there.”

He also warned Bendigo punters to expect “a lot of great music and a lot of fun, with one of the finest guitar players in the country sitting next to me [in reference to Andrew Toner, Ellis’ touring guitarist].”
Written by Alex Callan

When & Where: The Wesley Anne, Northcote – July 22, The Golden Vine, Bendigo – July 23 & The Westernport Hotel, San Remo – July 24