Jammin Java welcomes the acclaimed singer back to Virginia

For those wondering what they can expect from the upcoming Ellis Paul show at Jammin Java this Saturday, the noted guitarist said one thing was very clear: “Fans can expect one happy Ellis Paul being on the stage again,” he said. “I’m so excited to play again after so much time off and it’s starting to feel like old times.”

During the pandemic, Paul transitioned from a touring artist into an “online” artist, performing a lot of shows by way of the internet, trying to keep things going as best he could.

“Three times a week, I was doing livestream shows,” Paul said. “For people who were subscribers to my music, I did something special for them, be it new songs, old songs, cover songs, even one-on-one VIP things.”

He admitted he was pretty scared in March 2020 as to what was next once his full calendar started to become empty and his means of income dried up. But beginning in June of this year, Paul was back playing some outdoor shows and this fall he has transitioned to clubs again.

“I’m going to be sticking my toe in for the rest of the fall and I don’t expect to be doing the larger number of shows that I normally would be doing until next year,” he said, choosing to play some of his favorites in the meantime. 

That’s why he wanted to be sure that Jammin Java was on his shortlist, and he’ll play there on October 23 at 6:30 p.m.

“I love the intimacy of the club; it feels like a listening room and it’s like people can almost touch you there,” Paul said. “The guys who run it have just put a lot of thought into making it an environment that feels like a conversation, which makes it different than a lot of other venues. I just love playing there.”

Over 30 years in the biz, Paul has released 20 albums, including 2019’s “The Storyteller’s Suitcase,” named Album of the Year by the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance.

It’s been decades since Paul has had this much time at home, and why he found some solace in the downtime, he knew that it was not where he needed to be and dreamed of playing in front of the live crowds again.

“Being back on stage and having people clap has been wonderful,” he said. “Knowing that I can make some money in real time has created a lot of elation. I’m not a bad internet artist, but my music is meant to be heard with real people in a room at the same time.”

Paul chose this career, he noted, because he never had the attention span to write a novel, but he always had a knack for writing a three-minute song. 

“It works with all the things that I love—language and music, and it’s all wrapped up in this one art form,” he said. “I feel like I’m creating visual pictures of a story that are flashing by people’s eyes, so there’s sort of a movie-making value to songwriting I see when I’m writing. It just fits in to the backpack of everything I loved as a kid.”

During the 18 months stuck at home, Paul found it hard to write anything new, drafting only a couple of tunes, but over the past month, he’s found his inspiration again and has written five songs in that time.

He also recorded an album of cover songs this year, titled, “Ellis Paul’s Traveling Medicine Show, Vol. 1,” discovering the tunes while doing the online shows this past year. 

“One of the main things that happened during these online shows is I became a better musician because I learned other people’s music for the first time in my life, and that was really valuable to me,” Paul said. “I’ll touch on a couple of those songs at Jammin Java. But mainly, I’ll be doing a collection of songs from my back catalogue. They haven’t seen me for a while, so I feel like I owe them what they want.” 

Paul will be recording a new album of original stuff this December and expects that to be out in 2022. Until then, he’s just excited to be back in action.


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