Like the dark earth of his Iowa origins, Chad Elliott's life has served as fertile ground for music. Elliott has turned love, loss, fatherhood, divorce and homelessness into lyrics. He performs more than 200 shows each year. He has cultivated more than 1,000 songs in his career while also honing his skills as painter, sculptor and children's book author/illustrator (Wilderman’s Treetop Tales).
Elliott’s early career demonstrates a love of folk, roots and singer-songwriter music. He has worked with many greats and shared the stage with artists of the highest caliber, including Odetta, Tom Paxton, Loudon Wainwright III, R.L. Burnside, Greg Brown, Bo Ramsey, etc. Today, his songwriting has made a marked shift to Americana.
On his 20th album, “Wreck and Ruin”, Elliott dives into his love of roots-rock, soul and blues music with a rocking band behind his artfully crafted songs. Producer and drummer, Ken Coomer (Wilco, Uncle Tupelo) lined up the best rhythm and lead players in Nashville to create Elliott’s greatest album to date. Guitarist and bassist Kenny Vaughan and Dave Roe, legendary Nashville players, add the needed touches to rocket Elliott’s songs into a new arena of hard driving Americana.
The title track of “Wreck and Ruin” was conceived after the Moore, Oklahoma tornado of 2013. Elliott didn’t think too much of the song at the time he wrote it and put it aside. Its lyrics spell out a hopeless situation of a family expecting twins (Elliott being a twin himself). As the mother goes into labor the family finds itself in the back of a broken-down Chevy as a tornado bears down on the land. Nothing is left standing, except the family, now with two babies named “Wreck” and “Ruin.”
One year after writing the song, on Mother’s Day, 2014, Elliott and his family were celebrating at his mother’s home in Iowa. His hard-working, single mother raised four children alone. No one minded when festivities closed early so his mother could attend a Lyle Lovett concert. Two hours after Elliott and his wife and children left, a tornado leveled his mother’s house. Thankfully, no one was home. It could have been worse - the whole family would likely have been home, kids and all, if not for that Lyle Lovett concert. Elliott dusted off the “Wreck and Ruin” song to feature on this album, adopting the motto “Lyle Lovett Saves Lives.”
Chad Elliott has learned not to ignore the machinations of fate, but to pay homage to them. He writes them into songs and carries their lessons with him on tour across the country.
Awards and Honors
2015 Unsigned Only Competition- Semi-Finalist - Americana
2014 Newsong Contest - Midwest Finalist
2013 Top 25 Albums on brokenjukebox.com - So Sang the Crow
2013 Iowa Blues Challenge - Winner Solo/Duo
2013 Rising Star - Finalist
2012 Show Me the Music Song Contest - Finalist - Americana
2012 Int. Folk Alliance Conference - Official Showcase Artist
2011 Iowa Motion Picture Awards - Best Original Music Score
2011 Mixies Award - "Most Creative Tour" - One Horse Town Tour
2009 International Songwriting Contest - 3rd Place Winner - Americana
2009 Woody Guthrie Song Contest - 1st Place Winner
2008 Kerrville New Folk - Finalist
2006 Folkalley.com’s - Open Mic Winner
2006 Just Plain Folks - Top 20 New Folk Songs
2015 - “Wreck and Ruin”
2013 - “So Sang the Crow”
2010 - The Den Sessions - 10 Volume Set
2009 - "Redemption Man"
2008 - “Swiftsure”
2006 - “Humbled At My Door”
2004 - “Bowl of Stars”
2004 - “Starling Songs”
2003 - (homemade) “Bowl of Stars”
2001 - “New Young Destination"
1999 - “Greener Grass” One Man's Junk