Danny Ellis is a man of spirit who gives us much more in his music than just beautiful songs. Danny's CD 800 VOICES is a masterpiece. The songs are beautiful, moving, and healing to the soul. Danny's voice is heartfelt and honest, and all the other instruments on the CD join in a perfectly balanced production. Each song stands on its own, but together they create a current that sweeps us up in the story."
~ David Wilcox, Singer/Songwriter
"...800 Voices is full of marvelously crafted songs, packed with superb lyrical twists and turns and moments of wonderful insight. “The Twist Within The Tweed” offers a powerful metaphor for the anger that comes later, about being abandoned. The title track reveals with admirable empathy, and respect, how a battered trombone presented by Brother Joe O’Connor became a lifeline, as Danny was invited to join the Artane Boys Band. And “When Tommy Bonner Sang” is something else again: utterly, spell-bindingly beautiful, and deeply moving, it is a song about the way in which those who are lost can find themselves in the sweet sanctity of melody.
I could go on: there isn’t a song on 800 Voices that falls short. “The Artane Boys Band” describes with a dash of humour the agonizing scene on a trip to New York, where Danny finally meets his father: “Well he took the day off work/As he marched along beside us/A sad little man/Well I played so bloody loud/I nearly blew the Guiness from his hand”.” And the finale, “The Day I Left Artane”, in which the 16 year old discovers for the first time that the McIvors, twins that he has known only as inmates, are in fact his own brothers, hits you like a Mike Tyson uppercut. What sort of culture was it – what sort of a country was it – that we did this to children? In the end, as a kind of coda, on an album that is notable for the generosity of its perspective, there is room for anger. “Yeah they shattered our bodies”, Danny sings on “Innocence Back”, “And they scattered our minds/And they broke us and bent us/Till we were twisted as twine/Then set us all loose/Like rats from a sack/Now there’s no amount of money/Gonna buy us our innocence back.” No indeed. But Danny Ellis has turned the base metal of that raw experience into a very fine piece of art. An essential Irish album."
-Niall Stokes, Editor of “Hot Press”
800 Voices Commercial Arts/Universal ****
If musicality was the only bar by which an album was judged, then Danny Ellis’s debut would hold its own alongside such otherworldly voices as Brian Kennedy. But 800 Voices is much more. It’s a searing testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the depths to which that spirit can sink. Ellis is an Artane Industrial School survivor. His tales of childhood innocence shredded asunder, of the divine inspiration of a fellow inmate’s angelic singing and the characters who populated eight long years of his life, are every bit as compelling as the Ryan report. Ellis’s refusal to yield to a consuming bitterness elevates this chronicle to a place where the listener can savour the musicianship while never losing sight of the murderous mayhem that forged it. A musically healing and lyrically breathtaking debut.
Siobhan Long, “Irish Times”
"I am a huge fan of Danny Ellis, let me state that first and foremost. I think his record 800 Voices is brilliant, powerful, and visionary. It moves me deeply. I love it. I found it thru my friend Beth Neilson Chapman, who told me about Danny when I explained to her that I was trying to write a series of songs about my relinquishment to an orphanage by my mother on the day I was born. When I got Danny's CD, I was captivated, and listened to it literally dozens of times the first week. Our stories are different in many ways, but we share so much. I felt like I met a brother when I heard his songs. I sent him an e-mail and told him that, and thanked him for the visionary piece of work he'd created. I knew that the way he'd framed his story was brilliant, and I used his work as a beacon to guide me to my own. Today I consider him a friend.
Every song on 800 Voices stands on it's own, but listened to together as a body of work, they are a movie, a play, a visual experience as much as a musical experience. I wanted to try and do that in my work as well. Danny lit the way for me. Danny's songs have such heart, such brave beauty. He's found his way to peace, to love, and to deep seated kindness in the face of the worst kind of abuse and abandonment. Is there anything more amazing in this life? These songs are more than songs, they are diamonds created under pressure's that most people could not comprehend, and they will shine forever."
Mary Gauthier, Singer/Songwriter
The songwriting is sooo good, deeply heartfelt, expressive and eloquent. I''ve listened to the CD three times already and each song moistened my eyes but whatever measure of composure I had left was shattered by the devastating, heartbreaking twist in the final song; "The Day I Left Artane." It was a wrenching turn. How he handled such sudden and devastating news I'll never know. A tough story beautifully told and without any seeming bitterness. The production and musicianship are stellar.
Danny Doyle - Irish singer/songwriter
"...A riveting oral memoir ...filled with clear images of pain, hope and humor... may just be the most powerful storytelling through music and words I have ever experienced. "
Connie Reagan Blake - STORYTELLER