Ellis performs in the Radio Heartland studio

by Mike Pengra

Ellis performs a solo acoustic version of "Driving In This Storm" in the studios of 89.3 The Current, live on Radio Heartland. (MPR/Nate Ryan)
  1. Listen Ellis performs in the Radio Heartland studio

    Feb 5, 2016

"Writing a song is just like talking." That's what Ellis said to me as she was preparing to do this interview about her new album, The Guest House. The last five years of Ellis's life have brought boatloads of changes — the birth of her daughter, her marriage, and the loss of her dear grandmother, just to name a few. We all go through life changes, but Ellis says turning them into songs is how she deals with them and carries on her conversation.

If you've seen her perform live, you already know that Ellis is totally engaging. She exhibits a true sense of joy when she sings, which you can see in her intense smile and can hear in her voice and in her laughter. Ellis makes her audience feel as lucky as I was to sit a few feet in front of her and listen to her sing.

Ellis is releasing her ninth album, The Guest House in concert on Saturday, Feb. 6, at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis. Some dear friends will be helping her out, including Radoslav Lorkovic, Vicky Emerson and Desdemona.

Songs performed

"Five Hundred Crows"
"Driving In This Storm"
"Songs on the Sea"
All songs are from Ellis's album, The Guest House, releasing Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, on Rubberneck Records.

Hosted and produced by Mike Pengra
Engineered by Michael DeMark
Photos by Nate Ryan

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5 Photos

  • Ellis performs in the Radio Heartland studio.
    Ellis performs in the Radio Heartland studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Ellis performs in the Radio Heartland studio.
    Ellis performs in the Radio Heartland studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Ellis performs in the Radio Heartland studio.
    Ellis performs in the Radio Heartland studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Ellis performs in the Radio Heartland studio.
    Ellis performs in the Radio Heartland studio. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
  • Ellis's guitar case tells the story of a road heavily traveled.
    Ellis's guitar case tells the story of a road heavily traveled. (MPR photo/Nate Ryan)
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