From his gruff exterior, Ellsworth may seem like a blues shouter, but in fact the beard and tattoos mask a sensitive singer-songwriter. Dusk Dreams is a definite step up for the P.E.I. native after a couple of self-made solo outings, having been produced by David Barbe (Drive-By Truckers, Bob Mould) at his Athens, GA studio. Barbe's work adds a comforting sheen to Ellsworth's bittersweet ballads, creating an overall hushed vibe close to how Doug Paisley might sound fronting Lambchop. The no-rush approach is something Ellsworth sounds entirely comfortable with, as it gives his resonate voice plenty of room within the strains of piano and pedal steel guitar, which carry the melodies of Dusk Dreams' ten tracks. But it is the conviction Ellsworth displays in retelling familiar tales of love, loss and hope that will keep attention spans from drifting. Dusk Dreams is in many ways a skeletal album, but it's ultimately enough to establish Ellsworth as a notable new Canadian roots music presence.
May 22, 2012@jlibertyartists12781