In the years since his last Yellow Dog Records album — acclaimed outing, God’s Tattoos — William Lee Ellis earned a PhD in ethnomusicology and is a professor at a New England college. His musical yearnings never left, however, resulting in this new album. Backed by talented friends in current home state Vermont and abroad, the former Memphis-based songwriter and fleet fingerpicker calls on global players with ties to Madagascar, Ghana, Kenya, Scotland, and elsewhere.
The album’s originals and arrangements draw on a diverse palette from blues, spirituals, and country to Ghanaian high life, Chinese yueqin, and Malagasy guitar. Played on an array of instruments from fretless banjo and slide guitar to Ghanaian percussion and Chinese yueqin, the original tunes of Ghost Hymns offer an expansive view of tradition, visiting blues, gospel, high life, and more in a singular journey.
Godson of bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe and son of onetime Blue Grass Boy and banjoist/composer Tony Ellis, Ellis fils began life living and breathing roots music. Conservatory training followed as did immersion in the fabled fingerpickers of country blues and street gospel — notably Rev. Gary Davis — leading to three renowned releases in the early aughts. Ghost Hymns is a welcome comeback.
Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic and its catastrophic effect on musicians, Bandcamp is waiving its share of artist revenues on Friday March 20 — and Yellow Dog Records is following suit by passing every dollar of its March 20 Bandcamp sales to its artists.
[ Here is the link to the store for today’s sale! —> music.yellowdogrecords.com ]
Covid-19 has single-handedly erased months of show dates from the calendars of jazz and blues musicians, rock bands, Americana groups, singer-songwriters… musical artists of every stripe. It happened with brutal speed, an utter demolition that has equally threatened established careers and burgeoning ones. Not only are paid gigs lost, but so is the chance to sell merchandise, a crucial source of artist income. And so now is the time to help these artists weather those losses while they wait for their touring lives to resume.
Music platform Bandcamp, which powers the Yellow Dog Records store, has been selling digital downloads and physical releases for music artists since 2008. Like all online sellers, Bandcamp keeps a percentage of sales it generates – and, like all record labels, Yellow Dog Records keeps a portion of its artists’ record sales. To raise awareness around the pandemic’s impact on musicians everywhere, both Bandcamp and Yellow Dog Records will pay artists 100% of record sales and downloads ordered through Bandcamp on Friday, March 20, 12:01am to 11:59pm.
Need to round out your recent Christmas album? Missed that Claudettes digital-only release back in 2017? And what better way to bond with little Suzie (is she 4 already?!) by listening together to the ’ award-winning children’s album while regaling her with stories of how you met her dad in the front row of one of their shows, back in the day… Or use the opportunity to try something new from our catalog. On Friday, 100% of it goes directly to the artists!collection with her
We’ll all need to support one another to get through the challenging days ahead. On Friday, music fans can direct a little targeted support to a music community that needs it now. Please visit the Yellow Dog Records store at music.yellowdogrecords.com, or the broader Bandcamp ecosystem at bandcamp.com to show musicians that we value their art and are with them 100%!
P.S. Whether or not you can help with Friday’s fundraiser, please help the cause by spreading the news! Forward this email to a friend, repost/retweet, or shout from your quarantine balcony to remind people that musicians are among those that need our help, right now.
We’re proud to announce that The Claudettes are now being booked in North America by the good folks at Mongrel Music!
We’re just as excited to announce that they are now managed by Guy Eckstine and his Iconique Music Group. Guy has a fascinating history and quite a brilliant career as an A&R executive, artist manager, record producer, new media maven, Grammy board member, corporate consultant and musician. He has produced and Executive produced over 45 records, four of which have won Grammy Awards, including “The New Standard” by Herbie Hancock. Read more about him here.