Nick Ellis is a Liverpool-based singer and guitarist who released his debut album Daylight Ghosts via Liverpool label Mellowtone Records in November 2016.
Ellis blends streetscape narrative-noir with a classic British acoustic approach. Using a blend of rhythmic attack and finger-quick lucidity, his sound has been described as “a conversation between Elvis Costello and John Martyn”. On his songwriting Ellis says:
“I see my songs as chapters and scenes, my albums as movies and books. Except, in this film, these stories are true”. Ellis has a strong urge to give a voice to the voiceless,
“I try to write from the stance of the ignored, unloved, the defeated, those on the fringes of society who are isolated socially due to such challenging everyday issues like mental health, education, opportunity and confidence. Hence, the title of the album, Daylight Ghosts”.
Ellis is greatly inspired by masters of musical story telling such as Gil Scott-Heron and Townes Van Zandt, writers such as Kerouac and the Beats, and exemplary articulators of gritty social commentary directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach.
Daylight Ghosts was recorded in one six-hour stint on a cold, dark Sunday evening in January 2016. As Ellis explains “we wanted it to be as pure as possible in single takes. If anything, the room itself – Liverpool’s St. George’s Hall Crown Court Room – brought more to the songs than we could have possibly imagined. All that wood, stone and marble awoke a century’s worth of ghosts. Sounds danced with the room; characters came alive; streetscapes suddenly became three dimensional and words hung as heavy as the very hearts of those who had once stood in that room to be judged, condemned and even worse, sentenced to hang. In fact, the last British man to be sent to the gallows (21 year old Peter Anthony Allen – 13th August 1964, Walton Prison, Liverpool) was done so from that very court room. The weight of history in that room cannot be described, only felt and Daylight Ghosts is a document of that very essence. Times may change, but history never fades.”
This naked honesty and directness is felt in every note of the album, a testament to Ellis’ virtuosic talent as an instrumentalist and singer, as well as his incredible ability as a communicator.
Following the triumphant EP Grace & Danger in April 2016, Ellis now presents the final piece in the puzzle: “this music, these stories, have lived themselves into songs. Some are like discarded photographs, found upon the floor. Some like a strange encounter with a strange old face. Others, like those forgotten people who appear from out of nowhere and go straight back into it. Like Ghosts, Daylight Ghosts”.
Artist’s/Label website: http://mellowtonerecords.com
LIVERPOOL 4th March – District. The Key Card Launch.
MANCHESTER 18th March, supporting Ian Prowse, with Ceremony Concerts
(Ian is formerly singer/songwriter with Pele, and also Amsterdam)
LIVERPOOL 1st April. Super Weird Happening at the Florrie.
LIVERPOOL – 22nd April – Jacaranda Records (Mellowtone Records Party, Record Store Day)
MANCHESTER – 22nd April – The Castle