…riding on a big, blue world

“Boston-style songwriting refers to the introspective and literate breed of singer-songwriter so prevalent in the modern folk music landscape,”  affirms Ellis Paul who has long been positioned at the head of the class in this particular school of folk-pop music that “bridges the gap between the modern folk sound and the populist traditions of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger.”

“(It’s a style that) grew out of Boston’s thriving folk scene with its dense collection of colleges, college radio stations and listening rooms,” he adds, noting that Boston-style songwriting “tends to be more about lyric than melody, is intimate and thoughtful but also relevant, often addressing social issues.”

Paul Plissey was born (in 1965) and raised in Presque Isle, Maine (deep in Aroostook County, the largest county east of the Mississippi and northernmost land-area in the Continental U.S.) where he played trumpet in the high school band and was state champion as a 5K runner.  That got him into Boston College on a track scholarship where his 10K time remains one of the best in BC history.

His running aspirations all ended with a knee injury during his junior year so Plissey taught himself to play the acoustic guitar to pass the time and began to write songs with the help of a “Hits of the 70s” songbook. Upon graduation, he began to perform at open mic nights around Boston, while working with inner-city kids. After winning a Boston Acoustic Underground songwriting competition, he received national exposure on a Windham Hill Records compilation, settled on the stage name, Ellis Paul and made the leap to professional musician.

Since his debut record in 1989, Paul has released 17 albums and plays nearly 200 dates a year on the club and coffeehouse circuit, bringing that Boston-style to a venue near you. “Each song is supposed to be like a little three-dimensional world,” he concludes.  “I’m hoping to invite them in, have them make out the details and the reasons for being there and apply them to their own lives. But I’m also hoping to entertain them.”

Today’s selection, long an Ellis Paul standard, comes from his sixth (1998) album, “Translucent Soul”.

 LISTEN TO TODAY’S SELECTION – Wednesday 28 March

The World Ain’t Slowin’ Down

 I found you sitting on a suitcase crying

Beneath my feet

I feel the rumble of a subway train

I laugh out loud

‘Cause it’s the one thing I hadn’t been trying

The train came in breathless

The passengers restless

You say, “Baby, you’ll never change”

You gotta’ get gone, you gotta’ get going

Hey, the world ain’t slowing down for no one

It’s a carnival calling out to you

It sounds like a song

Hits you like scripture

You paint the picture

With colors squeezed from your hand

Weren’t you the kid

Who just climbed on the merry-go-round?

Hey look, the world ain’t slowing down

Hey, hey, the world ain’t slowing down

Hey, hey…

Out on the sidewalk,

Pigeons do the moonwalk

I’ll be dancing like Fred Astair

The lampposts are rocking

The whole town’s talking

Like a fool in a barber’s chair

And I get the sensation

The joy and frustration

Like being caught by a tropical rain

Freedom can numb you

When there’s no place to run to

It feels just like Novocain

You gotta’ get gone, you gotta’ get going

Hey the world ain’t slowing down for no one

It’s a carnival calling out to you

(It’s calling out to you)

It sounds like a song

Hits you like scripture

You paint the picture

With colors squeezed from your hand

Weren’t you the kid

Who just climbed on the merry-go-round?

Hey look, the world ain’t slowing down

Hey, hey, the world ain’t slowing down

Hey, hey…

 You packed up all your handbags

Throwing off the sandbags

I let go and you stepped free

I didn’t want to lose you

You said, “You didn’t choose to

It’s just how your karma came”

But thanks for the vision

And the twenty-twenty wisdom

It hit me like a southbound train

 You gotta’ get gone, you gotta’ get going

Hey the world ain’t slowin’ down for no one

It’s a carnival calling out to you

(It’s calling out to you)

It sounds like a song

Hits you like scripture

You paint the picture

With colors squeezed from your hand

Weren’t you the kid

Who just climbed on the merry-go–

Weren’t you the kid

Who just climbed on the merry-go–

Weren’t you the kid

Who just climbed on the merry-go-round

Hey look, the world ain’t slowing down

Hey, hey, the world ain’t slowing down

Hey, hey, it’s a big, blue world

It’s a big, blue world

Riding on a big, blue world

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