I take my hat off to the person who came up with the idea of recording Nick Ellis’ new EP Grace & Danger inside the Crown Court at St George’s Hall. It was, in my opinion, a masterstroke, one of two on the EP (I’ll come to the second in a bit). For in the choice of location they’ve created a recording with a beautiful dynamic sound that a studio session could never come close to achieving. The physical space inside the historic, wood-paneled courtroom provides a virtual space for the songs to ease into, like feet slipping into a favourite pair of comfy slippers.
The EP showcases Nick’s accomplished songwriting skills, with pithy observations on society (The Grand Illusion), love and dating (Cooler Than A Cupid), a night out on the town (Electric Blue High Heels), and a walk through the city centre in the afternoon (A Walk Through The City).
And then there’s Mr Tibbs. Would it make me a bad reviewer if I were to say I’m not too keen on it? It pains me to say that about a track on an otherwise excellent EP, but I just can’t get my head around the unconventional chord progressions which for me are just a little bit too jarring for my ears. Other opinions are available, and I have to admit it becomes a little more palatable with each successive listen.
The second masterstroke was the inclusion of two instrumental tracks – The Lovefish and She Moved Through The Morning. Each of these gives Nick an opportunity to showcase his undoubted skills as a musician, and, once again, the courtroom setting perfectly frames these pieces, giving them space to live and breathe.
Grace & Danger is a fine 8 track EP that’s well worth investing in. Limited to only 500 physical copies worldwide you should grab your own copy from Mellowtone Records before they all go.
Nick Ellis ‘Grace & Danger’ EP launch is taking place at Leaf on Thursday 21st April, with support from Tom Blackwell, Roy (spoken word) and Beaten Tracks DJs. Doors open at 7.30pm, and £10 gains you entry plus a copy of the EP, or £5 without.
Graham Holland is the owner and editor of the Liverpool Acoustic website, and runs Liverpool Acoustic’s award-winning live music events with local musician Stuart Todd. In real life he’s a Web Development Officer, has been producing podcasts on a regular basis since July 2006, and runs a number of websites for other organisations. He lives in Wavertree with his husband and their cat Xiao Hei.