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Ellis Paul with Darryl Purpose
The Brokerage, Bellmore, NY
July 12, 2000

Ellis Paul made his Long Island debut recently to a less than stellar crowd at The Brokerage (Nassau County’s answer to the city’s Bottom Line), yet despite the poor turnout it was easy to see that Paul is one of the brightest stars on the singer-songwriter scene today. Brokerage manager Jay Reilly confessed that he may have brought Paul to Long Island "a tad early" and his words may indeed prove prophetic. To this reviewer, it is only a matter of time before the name Ellis Paul becomes a household name, thanks in large part to the hot Jim Carrey hit movie "Me, Myself And Irene" where Paul’s punchy song, "The World Ain’t Slowin’ Down" is the title theme. One young woman in the Brokerage show audience, who had obviously seen the film, told Paul and the rest of the crowd that the song was perhaps "the best thing in the movie." Clearly Paul has a few fans on Long Island already. The lanky, Maine-born-and-raised songwriter opened the show with some of his more recognizable tunes, including "Here She Is" and "3,000 Miles," followed by "Did Galileo Pray"—one of Paul’s more obscure compositions but a bright spot on his recently released double CD of live performances. In between, Paul debuted a hauntingly beautiful new dirge written with Darryl Purpose that is so new the pair have yet to name it. It drew a great response. Problems with a buzzing sound system occasioned Paul to unplug and perform the rest of his show standing amid the 30 or so people at nearby tables, a habit he is given to whenever the venue is intimate and the audience sparse.

Purpose came out to join Paul, still unplugged, in stunning renditions of "Conversation With A Ghost" and "Seventeen Septembers." The pair finished with a beautiful, heart-wrenching performance of Neil Young’s "Comes A Time." Back for an encore, Paul took the stage, plugged back in and closed the show with "Translucent Soul," the title of his most recent studio album and a tuneful song he wrote for his former roommate and close friend, singer/songwriter Vance Gilbert. A great show from a great performer who deserves a return engagement on Long Island, where he no doubt found a small but enthusiastic new group of fans and friends. The bear-like Purpose, who just happens to be Paul’s present roommate, demonstrated a nimble Travis style picking style, opening with a lovely ode to an aging bicycle repairman known as "Mr. Schwinn." Purpose then gave a rollicking version of his "Last Great Kiss of the 20th Century" and "A Most Dangerous Game," two of the stand-out tunes on his woefully under appreciated recent live studio album, "Same River Twice." Purpose is yet another major songwriting talent whose music more folk enthusiasts should make a concerted effort to get to know. They won’t be sorry. —Ralph DiGennaro

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