Jeff Ellis review…August 22, 2014…

JEFF ELLIS

LEARNING HOW TO LIVE

WHERE YOUR MEMORY CAN’T BE FOUND–NO ONE GOES HOME (TILL IT’S ALL GONE)–LOVERS WERE MADE FOR DAYS LIKE THIS–WHEN SHE COMES A’ KNOCKIN–ALREADY MADE UP YOUR MIND–MINING TOWN–HANGING AROUND–ALWAYS HARD TO SAY GOODBYE–NICKEL AND DIME–LEARNING HOW TO LIVE–LULLABY

For Jeff Ellis’ latest release, “Learning How To Live,” he took a couple of years to write and hone the songs to get the “feel” for them he was seeking.  And, during that time, he also did a lot of growing up himself.  The twelve originals that make up this set takes the listener literally down life’s (sometimes rocky) road along with Jeff.  He is the vocalist and guitarist throughout, altho many guests appear, as these tracks were recorded over the aforementioned span of a few years, and were done in the home studio of Jeff’s longtime friend, Eddie Ashworth, himself a veteran of the alternative and indie rock scene.  These songs grip you with their opennes and honesty as Jeff looks at life, love, and redemption thru the eyes of a young man coming-of-age.

Scathing guitars blast right out at you in the leadoff rocker, the tale of a broken love affair that has Jeff seeking that place “Where Your Memory Can’t Be Found.”  At the other end of love’s spectrum, beautiful days that are meant to be savored and not wasted is the theme of the tender “Lovers Were Made For Days Like This.”

Lovers and their constant struggles to stay together are a recurring theme of this set.  A girl with a penchant for coming and going has a true friend in Jeff, who’ll “always let her in, When She Comes A’ Knockin.”  Another song that looks at the power of friendship is the one that has Jeff’s spirits being lifted with “a bottle in tow, and an extra cup,” and “No One Goes Home, ’till it’s all gone.”

We had several favorites, too.  A soldier being deployed who has only his dreams to get him thru until he gets home finds it “Hard To Say Goodbye.”  A very cool song about living within one’s means is the poignant “Nickel And Dime,” teaching the lesson that “happy is the man who needs less than he’s got.”  And, corporate greed with no regard for the consequences is the story behind the demise of many a “Mining Town” across America’s heartland.

Jeff Ellis really shoots straight from the heart on “Learning How To Live.”  The lessons of life imparted within this set will have you wishing, as did we, that this set could’ve been longer….Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow, Nashville Blues Society.

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