As most people know, I generally review original material and singer/songwriters. However, there are some folks in our industry who have been around for so long that without them, we would have never had a country music scene and who tend to sound as good as they did when started out more than a couple of years ago. They sing because they love doing it, because they believe in the words and the music that they are delivering and because they were there when it was all just a bit of a dream and not the big and flourishing and evolving situation that it is today.
Gary Ellis has been honoured in Tamworth in one of the biggest ways and he carries on singing and playing and mixing it with young and old and in between. He is traditional country, he is an old cowboy who sings it like it is without bells and whistles and all the trimmings. He is straight up and out there.
He does mainly covers, but they are not always ones that you would expect. Apart from Storms Never Last ( a classic that has been sung by many and was written by Jessie Colter) and Fly Like A Bird (interesting choice but a well known song) most of the tracks are not in the obvious cover category.
One of my favourite songs is the current single and it was going to have to be a good version to impress me, because I hold the Travis Sinclair/Sara Storer song written by legendary Garth Porter as a very sacred song. It is a good version. He is well helped by Tessa Libreri of Destiny Oz fame.
There are some interesting choices apart from Boz Scaggs’ Fly Like A Bird, like Lyle Lovett’s Farther Down The Line and Norma O’Hara Murphy’s Warwick Gold Cup. As with most country music albums with covers, there has to be a Johnny Cash song, but it is usually Folsom Prison Blues or Ring of Fire, here it is Tennessee Flat Top Box. It has that old Johnny Cash rhythm.
This is the kind of album that goes down well on a Sunday, or at an outback pub or hall. There will be those who will get up and do a turn or two on the dance floor, or tap their feet to old classics.
The songs not only have that good old country sound but they cover all of the old familiar ground of love, horses, old cowboys, family, rodeos, battlers and the road.
Gary keeps the old things alive. In a music genre which has many types, legends like Mr Ellis remind us all where it began.
I’ll be home soon with Tessa Libreri
Do it all over again
Farther Down the Line
Happy Birthday my darlin’
Saddle up and ride
Tennessee Flat top box
Storms Never Last with Janaka
Believing in Me
You’ve got her eyes
Warwick Gold Cup
Smell the rose and read the card
Fly like a bird