Posts Tagged ‘Dennis Ellsworth’

has a conversation with a prostitute about Phil Spector, writes a song about, you know how these things go. At least those of you who joined us at Shakespeares last night do. Who needs fancy dress when you’ve got Case Hardin, Dennis Ellsworth and E.R. Thorpe for your evening’s entertainment? Big thanks to them and those who came along to the Bard’s Bar.

WagonWheel Presents… returns to The Greystones for our next show on Wednesday November 11th. Wild Ponies return to Sheffield with added drums this year for a full trio show. Support comes from The BearCats. You can read a full preview for this show here. Maybe we’ll see you then?

WWP 31.10.15

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but thanks to everybody that joined us last Thursday at Shakespeares, especially of course to M.G. Boulter, Adam Myers and Arcana Valley for providing some fine musical entertainment.

It’s been a busy week since then but normal service is resumed this coming Saturday. We return to the Bard’s Bar to kick off the tenth year of WagonWheel shows in the company of Case Hardin, Dennis Ellsworth and E.R. Thorpe. You can read a full preview for this show here. Maybe we’ll see you there?

WWP 22.10.15


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made for double the fun last night in the company of Amelia Curran and Dennis Ellsworth. Indeed when you add in an opening set from Ash Gray it all came to an exceptional evening of live music at The Greystones. Thanks to them and those of you who were there to enjoy it with us.

WagonWheel Presents… returns to The Backroom on Thursday March 26th with another Transatlantic double bill. We welcome Josh Harty and the Kelley McRae duo back to Sheffield. M&J Blues open the show. Ticket details can be found here.

Our next show however is at Shakespeares. As usual for the last Saturday of the month, we’ll be in the Bard’s Bar on February 28th with Big Convoy, Bob Collum & The Welfare Mothers and Micky Denny. You can read a full preview for this show here. Maybe you’ll be there too?

WWP 08.02.15

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those at The Greystones with us last night certainly enjoyed more than 15 minutes of being so. A fabulous set from Jeffrey Foucault and Billy Conway after a fine start to the show from J. Tilley. Thanks to them and you if you were one of the lucky ones there.

WagonWheel Presents… returns to The Backroom this Sunday, February 8th with a double bill of Canadian singer/songwriters when Amelia Curran and Dennis Ellsworth bring their respective new albums to Sheffield. Maintaining the transatlantic theme, Ash Gray opens the show. Advance tickets are available here. You can read the full preview for this show by clicking here.

Maybe we’ll see you then?

WWP 03.02.15

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On Saturday October 31st, WagonWheel Presents… welcomes Case Hardin to Shakespeares. Following front man Pete Gow’s solo appearance at Tramlines this summer, the full band join us as they hit the road to promote their brand new album Colours Simple. Making a welcome return from Canada we also have singer/songwriter Dennis Ellsworth and opening the show will be E.R. Thorpe. Advance tickets priced at £6 are available from http://www.wegottickets.com/event/330635 or entry on the night will be £8. Doors open 8pm.



Case Hardin

‘Colours Simple’ is Case Hardin’s fourth long playing record, but it’s really a record of three’s…  it’s the third made by the core band of Tim Emery, Jim Maving, Andy Bastow & Pete Gow and their third as recording artists for Clubhouse Records.

It is also – more prosaically – the third Case Hardin record with the word ‘three ‘ in a song title.. ‘Three For The Road’ (Some Tunes For Charlie Spencer – 2007), ‘Three Beautiful Daughters’ (PM – 2013) and now ‘These Three Cities’…. a casual recounting of a bar-stool conversation with a Dubai prostitute over the merits of Phil Spector as a record producer… we’ve all been there?

Case Hardin take their name from Boston Teran’s noir thriller ‘God Is A Bullet’ (Pan 2000). In the finest tradition of naming groups, it came about by virtue of being little more than a character name in the book songwriter Pete Gow was reading when the call came through that they had secured their first gig; necessity was, as is so often the way, the mother of invention on that day.

But can the name and the naming be written off so casually? To ‘case harden’ means to toughen by experience…. and the ‘Gow, Emery, Bastow, Maving’ nucleus of Case Hardin has toughened its look, toughened its direction, its sound and toughed it out through various musicians who came and went over the years.

2012’s ‘PM’ album stood, in the critics eyes, as a high point. A benchmark for a band firmly ‘in the pocket’, providing perfectly poised musical vehicles for the work of a  songwriter who unmistakably ‘arrived’….

It seems Case Hardin is all about the story and the telling of that story. In concert Gow’s songs are carried by the power of that band, unswervingly dedicated to being in the service of those songs.

A Case Hardin live show is a multi- faceted beast. Gow solo? A duo? Acoustic or a full tilt four piece, sometimes augmented by regulars and pick-up musicians alike. Each night the songs are different, they have to be… framed for the audience… or the band… or the mood… often all three.

No biography on Case Hardin can be completed without a mention in dispatches for those who served… Hana Piranha, Adam Kotz, Del Skinner, Paul ‘Billy Bob’ Thornton, Ian Cadge.

Without whom etc, etc

a band that does subtle every bit as well as it does full-on, the results are mighty, mighty indeed R2 Magazine

Incredible… Case Hardin rock harder than mostMaverick Festival 2015

Pete Gow is a songwriter like no otherQ (Roots Album of the Month)




Dennis Ellsworth

It was the height of the grunge era. Dennis Ellsworth was a bored, semi-rebellious, and occasionally stoned teenager. While he should have been paying attention to his high school curriculum, he began writing songs in the back of the classroom.Before long, his notebooks contained far more lyrics than schoolwork.

At first, the pages just held the material he’d shout out as the singer in a punk rock band. But as the years went by, he taught himself to play guitar, and in 1996, while living in Edmonton, he bought a 4-track and started recording demos. They were weird and they were terrible!

In 1997 he moved home to Prince Edward Island and went to university. While in his second year, he joined some old friends and formed The Rude Mechanicals, a pop/rock band that became a big hit on campus and beyond.

After graduation, The Rude Mechanicals moved to Toronto. As the band’s frontman and primary songwriter, Dennis began to find his true path setting stories and feelings to the music he created. During this time, he was also a member of a fun-loving, oddball band of rogues who called themselves The Little Pilgrims. And toward the end of his Toronto years, he founded the group, Battery Point, which took its name not only from the neighborhood where he’d grown up, but also from a limited release solo folk recording that he completed just before leaving the big city.

In 2008, back in P.E.I. after six years away, he formed the popular Americana group, Haunted Hearts. Within two years they released two albums Thank You, Goodnight and Howdy, both extremely well received, and both winners of Music PEI Awards, including New Artist and Alternative Recording of the Year in 2010, and Country Recording, Songwriter, Group, and Album
of the Year in 2011. Following this initial burst of productivity came a lull, during which Dennis repackaged and officially released as his first solo effort (the Battery Point folk record he had made while living in Toronto) and he called it Chesterfield Dweller of the Year.

From this point on, Dennis’s solo career became his focus and his priority. Between 2011 and 2014 he wrote, recorded and released an EP and three full length albums, and was again recognized with Music PEI awards.

Dennis’s 2012 release Dusk Dreams, produced by David Barbe (Drive-by Truckers, Sugar) at the Chase Park Transduction Studio in Athens, GA, won him Roots Contemporary Recording, Songwriter and Album of the Year.

Dusk Dreams was quickly followed up with Hazy Sunshine, produced by The Skydiggers’ Josh Finlayson and recorded in the heart of Canada’s winter at The Tragically Hip’s Bathouse studio on the frozen shores of Lake Ontario. Hazy Sunshine displays Dennis’s depth, range and development as a songwriter. Not only did it bring in 2013 Music PEI awards for Roots Contemporary and Male Solo Recordings of the Year, it also generated attention, interest and praise in both Canada and the UK.In 2014, (the year of its UK release), Hazy Sunshine made the Telegraph Journal’s top 40 country records of the year, Square Roots Promotions top records of year and the Lazy Brighton Blog’s top 20 records of the year.

Where Dusk Dreams featured one co-written song (with British rising star John Smith), Hazy Sunshine featured two (one written with Josh Finlayson and Andy Maize from The Skydiggers, and the other with Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip). The success of these endeavors encouraged Dennis to consider writing more songs with others and to begin writing for other artists, as well as himself.

Invitations to participate in a number of professional songwriters’ workshops confirmed his satisfaction with collaboration and he has since signed a publishing deal with Chapter 2 Productions in Toronto, ON.

It was the fall of 2014, and Dennis began preparing to record again, turning once more to his Dusk Dreams team in Georgia. With David Barbe producing, the crew recorded and mixed ten songs over eight sunny southern autumn days and nights. The result is a lush, timeless gem, with hints of Americana, folk, and roots-rock. It showcases an experienced songwriter hitting his stride. Romantic As It Gets will be released in September 2015 on Busted Flat Records.

Dennis Ellsworth has written songs in an impressive variety of styles. The depth of his already strong sense of melody and craftsmanship is evident in each new effort. In 2014 Ellsworth
was named one of Canada’s top ten new artists by the judges of the CBC Searchlight Contest. He also performed at the Lincoln Centre in New York City as one of twelve finalists in the International New Song Contest.

The coming year will be full of great new plans and opportunities. Following the release of Romantic As It Gets, Ellsworth will tour in Canada twice, will re-visit the United Kingdom, and will make his career debut in continental Europe. There will be lots of co-writing around the world in the years to come. It’s a bright and beautiful road ahead.



***E.R. THORPE***

The Listeners

Having called time on The Listeners, E.R. Thorpe embarks on a fully solo career.

Thorpe was born into music – her mother taught her to finger-pick, introducing her to the music of PJ Harvey, Sandy Denny, Susan Vega, Roy Harper and Bob Dylan along the way; Her father Kevin was well respected on the blues scene for his albums with Out Of The Blue; And her aunt managed Welsh psychedelic legends Man.

Despite this heritage Thorpe has shaped her own evocative sound. Sometimes wilfully naive, sometimes considered and precise – her choice of chords is particular and unusual and her finger-picking weaves a strange atmosphere – the likes of which you’d more likely find in a Lynch film or a novel by Bolano than in the sculpted folk of her inspirations. And like those who inspire her – Nick Cave, Patti Smith, William Blake, she loves to muse on nature & religion: God, the devil, good and evil, and like the Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood she tries to tell it like it is – to reveal both the beauty and the devastation of life: Red Dust portrays human insignificance under darkening skies; Dinner For One traces the fading past of a destroyed relationship; You wouldn’t think that it took years for Thorpe to accept her own arresting voice and lyrical vision. Time well spent in distillation perhaps: This is music that is close to the source. These are songs, born of tradition, alive in the present day, revealing & fragile, executed spare and sharp.



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On Sunday February 8th, WagonWheel Presents… brings not one but two fine Canadian singer/songwriters to The Greystones stage. Both touring brand new records as they return to Sheffield will be Amelia Curran and Dennis Ellsworth.

Maintaining the international theme, from Austin, Texas via New York but now residing in Sheffield, Ash Gray opens the show. Advance tickets priced at £9 are available from http://www.wegottickets.com/event/298853 and the venue (12-6pm) or entry on the night will be £11. Doors open 7.30pm for an 8pm start.



Amelia Curran

Amelia Curran received her first Juno Award for Hunter, Hunter in front of an adoring hometown crowd in St. John’s, NL, in April 2010. The album, which solidified Amelia’s reputation as an heir to Leonard Cohen’s songwriting throne, also received a total of four ECMA nominations, 4 Music NL awards, 3 Music NS awards, a spot on Exclaim’s Wood, Wires & Whiskey coveted year-end and a place on the 2010 Polaris Long List. With the release of Spectators in 2012, Amelia was once again nominated for a Juno Award for Roots and Traditional Album of the Year. The album is a meditation on frailty, restlessness, time and its finitudes, and is both storm and harbour to Amelia’s celebrated lyricism. The record received rave reviews, and found its way on to many Best Of 2012 lists across Canada.

They Promised You Mercy is the newest collection of songs by Amelia Curran, Canada’s master contemporary songstress. On this album, Amelia’s knife-sharp lyrics find peace and even cheerfulness amidst lush layers provided by producer Michael Phillip Wojewoda’s nuanced studio vision. The album is a poised, focused and consummate work that showcases Amelia’s singular songwriting talent. They Promised You Mercy raises the lyrical bar yet again with its unrivaled eloquence.  They Promised You Mercy was released by Six Shooter Records on November 4, 2014.




Dennis Ellsworth

Dennis Ellsworth is a prolific songwriter. Lately he’s gotten into rhythm of writing, recording and releasing an album a year. In between records, he travels around the planet singing songs characterized by a kind of dark optimism that’s informed by early influences such as Roy Orbison, Neil Diamond and Kris Kristofferson.

Ellsworth can’t pinpoint what first prompted him to pursue music, but recalls singing ‘Forever in Blue Jeans’ in front of the mirror while brushing his teeth as a child. Since making the leap from the bathroom to the barroom, Ellsworth has toured Canada extensively, made inroads into the US and built a substantial following in the UK. In all, he’s released six records; all recorded live in a house or studio; two with his side project, Haunted Hearts, as well as Chesterfield Dweller of the Year (2009), the Strange Boat EP (2011), Dusk Dreams (2012) and his latest, Hazy Sunshine, in 2013 as a solo artist.

Although he’s refined his sound and approach to writing over the years, some things remain constant. One is an acoustic guitar he rescued from 1970’s era cottage in the Catskills; a guitar on which he’s written almost every song he’s put down on tape and believes has a lot to do with his gift for songwriting. Another is the emphasis he places on collaboration with the musicians he brings together for each album and the importance of allowing their unique voices as players to influence his songs.

Produced by Skydiggers guitarist, Josh Finlayson, and recorded over five days and wine filled nights at The Bathhouse, near Kingston, Ontario, Hazy Sunshine is a perfect example of how positively special that collaboration can be. “When I set out to make this album I wanted to isolate myself in the winter in rural Canada, and for that to contribute to the sound of the record, but we went in a different direction,” he says. Although Hazy Sunshine represents a departure from Ellsworth’s past records; Dusk Dreams in particular; never before has the Charlottetown-based singer/songwriter released an album as heavily informed by his belief that, no matter how rough things get, if you lose hope you lose the ability to effect positive change.

The result is a seamless blend of modern East Coast folk and rock and roll with shades of classic Americana, roots and country haunting the edges; a set of songs that anyone who’s questioned their place in the world will find their own experiences reflected in.

While Hazy Sunshine dwells heavily on the necessity of remaining positive, it’s fuelled by the kind of dark optimism that’s always driven Ellsworth’s songwriting. “I’m hopeful but I’m not a firm believer,” he says, bluntly. There have been times that music has saved him, and times that it’s let him down, but aside from his beautiful and loving wife and their cat Winsloe, music has always been his truest friend and companion.

If you need him for anything, he’s probably out for a stroll with his wife. Either that or he’s on the road and maybe playing in your town tonight and, if so, you should be at his show.



***ASH GRAY***

Ash Gray

At long last Texas songwriter Ash Gray finally gets around to releasing his debut solo album. The title Once I Got Burned is hopefully not a comment on his nigh-on twenty year career fronting The High-Class Family Butchers and Ash Gray & The Girls, or holding down the lead guitarist’s job in various rock bands in Austin and New York. But it does see a shift away from the gypsy punkgrass of the Butchers and the psych-pop of The Girls as Ash turns in an album of stone Texas country-rock.

Born in the US to parents form Yorkshire, Gray first began to make inroads into the UK music scene when he assembled the Anglo-American ‘punk-grass’ band, the High-Class Family Butchers during a late-90s sojourn in London. Achieving notoriety (and not-inconsiderable airplay) with their back-porch covers of pop classics and guerrilla-gigging, the Butchers have continued over the years with a flexible line-up including members of Menlo Park, The Ralfe Band and folk poster-boy Seth Lakeman’s band. For a time they even included Harper ‘Son of Paul’ Simon, oddly enough.

Relocating to New York with short-lived hard rock throwback band Cycle Sluts From Hell, Gray began shifting gears after realising that his female guitarist KG was a great harmony singer who blended perfectly with his backing vocalist Helen. He formed Ash Gray & The Girls in late 2008 as an acoustic trio, with him on vocals and guitar and these two singers. After some fine-tuning and the occasional personnel-change, the band launched the album Born In The Summer with a four-night stand at SXSW in Austin in 2012. Returning to the UK at the end of last year, Ash is currently residing in Sheffield, the land of his forefathers. The circle remains unbroken.

Consistently high quality and faultlessly performed.” **** R2 magazine

An excellent uplifting album that reaches back to the sounds of the summer of love but twists it enough deliver a set of tracks that are home in the present.” Beat Surrender



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a pun like ‘staggeringly good’, but that’s exactly what Leeroy Stagger and his band were last night. Fabulous support from Dennis Ellsworth too. Thanks to them and those that made it out to The Greystones to enjoy it with us.

The next WagonWheel Presents… show at The Greystones is on Friday August 16th with Boss Caine, Dave Woodcock, Joe Solo and Richard Kitson, four reasons not to miss this one.

Before then though it’s our Tramlines show at Shakespeares on Sunday July 21st, you can find all the details on that one here. We hope you can join us then.

WWP 09.07.13

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