Dennis Ellsworth is a highly talented singer-songwriter who is not averse to baring his soul in a modest style. He has chiselled out a decent following in the UK over the last couple of years and the release of his new album ROMANTIC AS IT GETS is more power to the repertoire. Issued once again on the Busted Flat Record label, this new cut sees Dennis return to the location of one of his previous recording successes with the hope of continuing his ascent into markets across North America and Europe. Dennis headed back to Athens, Georgia to hook up with the team behind his 2012 successful release DUSK DREAMS and the early vibes from the new album suggest another winning ticket is in his hand.
Awards have been bestowed upon Dennis in his Prince Edward Island home on Canada’s maritime east coast and it is surely only time before wider national and international reward is forthcoming. Like so many effective roots artists, Dennis hovers over influences from the country, folk and rock sectors to hone a sound echoing across the spectrum and finding praise in the constitution of music housed within the wide-reaching Americana movement. This new record is heavily tilted to the sentimental side of music making with clear evidence of seeking tender emotions and if anything blurring any perceived boundaries between masculinity and femininity. There is a refreshing intelligence to all ten songs on the record which are expressively blessed with an instant appeal and palatable façade.
There is a ghostly wave of pedal steel across the tracks to supplement the usual piano, organ and guitar pieces which underpin the sound. This starts off in the exquisite opener ‘Shakin’ on the Plank’ rampant with an influential melody and peaks a few tracks later with the utterly sublime ‘Skyline River Valley Dream’. In an era of contrasting running lengths, Dennis chooses to keep this record on the shorter side with thirty five minutes of music, but this is ample time to get across the mood and finesse of an artist perfectly at ease with his craft. ‘Stay True’ is one of the tracks with a message and its sentiment could also apply to a singer-songwriter exercising self-belief in their work.
The point in the record where Dennis gets right to the heart of his tender side resides in the lullaby strains of ‘Shines the Sun in Your Mind’ where the sounds of steel and piano collide to serenade the listener. ‘Ghost of Love’ in the record’s early stages is another representative of the subdued emotion with the honest endeavour of searching for answers. ‘Beauty and Sad’ is where the record moves into higher impact mode with a strong melody throughout, commencing in the opening bars and carrying over into the chorus. ‘Full Moon Blues’ is reflective of the album’s shorter songs and successfully merges effective piano and percussion into its transmission as a quintessential Dennis Ellsworth track.
‘Mercy Doll’ and ‘Make it Alright’ reflect the rockier side to Dennis’s music with the former kicking in through a fuller drum sound. The latter is among the numbers with a more listener-friendly chorus and responsible for this record having few obstacles on the path to the keen ear. As indicated earlier, the record is thoughtful and poignant in its construction with no finer example than the closing track ‘Dancing All Alone’. At this point the ultimate question of ‘do you still belong to me’ is asked as the chasm of love is dealt with.