James Ellsworth & The Dynasorrows
Heart on Sleeve
Who is James Ellsworth? I'd never heard of him before his album showed up at my door, but then again I'm a hermit with a long and grizzled beard. But somehow Ellsworth has honed his songwriting and guitar playing to a masterful level and managed to hook up with some of the area's most prominent players, all the while avoiding my baleful eye, creating the album
Heart on Sleeve
just to spite me.
Neal Young has been a very strong influence on the music of James Ellsworth, forming a firm roots rock foundation. With 19 tracks, including a handful of brief instrumentals, there are quite a few songs to choose from. Of special interest is "If I Had A Life," where a catchy acoustic guitar riff, both rugged and melodic, is backed by Felix Moxter on viola while Ellsworth alternates between lyrics of "If I had a car like you" and "If I had a girl like you". "Heart On Sleeve" is based on a rockier rhythm but no less restless, mixing picturesque lyrics such as "Poured my soul out to her / The sun slipping into hiding" with an urgent, recurring melody that will stick in your head for days. Another dark song is "Shot Your Dog" where gritty blues guitars accompany edgy lyrics of "She watches me in my sleep / Dissecting what I'm dreaming."
Other songs are given over to lighter fare, such as the intoxicating "Damage," where viola, finger-picked guitar and lyrics of "You can damage a man by taking away his pride" come together for a soft rock classic. "Psilocybin Top" is a wonderfully flowing song full of nostalgia, giving the listener a cascade of childhood imagry while "Breathe" brings on a touch of the night with a mournfully mellow horn and acoustic feedback forming the perfect backdrop for its melancholy melody. One of the best songs, "Cold Wet Mess," fits neither camp, going instead of a plucky, spritely rhythm, memorable melody and Crosby-Stills-Nash-and-Young vocal harmonies.
By surrounding himself with a bevy of Fort Wayne's best (dubbed The Dynasorrows) Ellsworth has fleshed out his eclectic Americana songs with the richness his strong songwriting deserves. Between Dan Halferty, Duane Eby, Felix Moxter, Dave Kartholl and Sarah Ellsworth, there is an amazing breadth of experience that can't help but to lift these songs to classic status. The crisp, clean production by Monastic Chambers further allows the songs to breathe and take their own creative paths. Stop by Wooden Nickel, Borders, Convolution Records or JE Company in Kendallville to find out just how good roots rock can be.
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Josh Johnson — Comedy at Calhoun Street Soups, Salads & Spirits, Fort Wayne, 7 p.m., $10, (260) 456-7005
Vince Gill — Country at Embassy Theatre, Fort Wayne, 7 p.m., $39.50-$79.50, 424-5665
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Community Orchestra — Mussorsky's Pictures at an Exhibition at Auer Performance Hall, Rhinehart Music Center, IPFW, Fort Wayne, 7:30 p.m., $4-$7, 481-6555
Open Mic Night — Variety at Checkerz Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 7-10 p.m., no cover, 489-0286
Scratch N Sniff 2.0 w/1/4 Kit Kurt — Variety at Deer Park Irish Pub, Fort Wayne, 6:30-8 p.m., no cover, 432-8966
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Fort Wayne Karaoke — Karaoke at Latch String Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 483-5526
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/TJ — Variety at Office Tavern, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., no cover, 478-5827
Three Rivers Karaoke w/Rob — at Wrigley Field Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 485-1038
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41st SOCA Student Exhibition — Works from students currently enrolled at USF’s School of Creative Arts, daily thru April 30, Weatherhead Gallery, USF Rolland Art Center, University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Fort Wayne Artist Guild Exhibitions — Works by Alice Siefert at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Jennifer Caudel at Allen County Retinal Surgeons, Anita Trick, Citizens Square (2nd and 3rd floors), Darlene Selzer Miller at The Einhaus Group for Women’s Health, Patricia Weiss at Heritage of Fort Wayne, Emily Jane Butler at Ophthalmology Consultants (Southwest), Linda Binek at Ophthalmology Consultants (North), Carolyn Stachera at Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Wayne, John Kelty at ResCare Inc. Adult Day Service, Wiletta Blevins at Town House Retirement, Karen Bixler at Visiting Nurse Hospice and Barb Yoder and Karen Harvey at Will Jewelers, thru April 30, fortwayneartistguild.org.
Glass: A Medium in Art and Automobiles — Dale Chihuly blown glass and fiberglass auto, daily thru Sept. 8, Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, Auburn, $7.50-$12.50, 925-1444
Outdoor Sculpture Invitational — Fifteen outdoor sculptures from regional artists, daily thru April 30, School of Creative Arts campus, University of Saint Francis North Campus, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Rhoda Gerig: The Hope of Eagles — Photographic images of eagles, daily thru June 4, Clark Gallery, Honeywell Center, Wabash, 563-1102
Spring 2017 BFA Exhibition — Exhibition of works by IPFW graduation seniors, daily thru May 3 , Jeffrey R. Krull Gallery, Main Library, Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, 481-6709
Spring 2017 BFA Exhibition — Senior thesis projects from Bachelor of Fine Arts candidates Brenda Drayer (sculpture), Derek Hibbs (printmaking), Ellen Mensch (painting), Nathaniel Morris (sculpture) and Kyle Snodgrass (sculpture), daily thru May 7, Visual Arts Gallery, IPFW, Fort Wayne, 481-6709