At the time I wrote the songs for my second cassette album, "Am I Home", I was working as a caseworker at the Compass School in Jamaica Plain, a neighborhood in Boston with a clientel of emotionally charged inner city kids, most with behavior problems that had gotten them kicked out of the Boston public schools, and for some, into the Department of Youth Services. It was the hardest job I've ever had-- but, I was playing music at night at these open mikes-- the music and the friendships kept me positive on the hard days... The work was rewarding, especially in hindsight, and it gave me a glimpse of how hard the world can be for some people. I was 24 at the time. This came out about 8 months after "Urban Folk Songs".
Some of the music reflects the city and the kids I was working with, "New Light on Your Halo" and "Angel".... some early story songs appear, my first epic-- "This Old Car" about a run away father, and "Town Crier" about a small town homeless person I saw up in Maine, and some early stream of consciousness in "Am I Home," over two chords, about looking for yourself in a place or a person and "Poet Fool" about a musician who get's lost in themselves. The recording is green, we did it live at Tom Dube's little studio apartment in Boston. But, this album sold about two thousand copies around town, and convinced me that I could make a living doing this, if I could improve. I literally had no idea what I was doing on guitar, and was just learning as I was writing my own songs, and that's how I have learned ever since.
What a place Boston is, and was, for this kind of music. WUMB, WERS, the Old Vienna Coffeehouse, Nameless Coffeehouse, Passim, Folkways up in NH, The Iron Horse in western MA, all were very kind to me and the crowd I ran with-- Jon Svetkey, Jim Infantino, Brian Doser, Patty Griffin, Martin Sexton, Dar Williams, Vance Gilbert-- and all of us are out here pounding the roads around the country spreading the music from town to town still. Thanks to all of the above, and Emily Higgins, Ralph Jaccodine, Coeli Jaccodine, Don Conoscenti, Bob and Rae Anne Donlin, Dick Pleasants, Scott Alarik, Tim Mason, Bob Haigue, and everyone else I am forgetting from that time...
see you out there, and thanks again for taking this one into your collection... Ellis
The Players: Ellis Paul, acoustic guitar, harmonica, vocals Brendan Devitt, acoustic guitar Dennis Pearne, bass guitar, guitar
Produced by Tom Dube at Playtime studios, 1989 Mastered by Brian Doser, My Other Hat Studios, 2000