ELLEN BRITTON Ellen Britton
I saw this woman sing at a house concert recently, and she knocked me right out. Big pure voice without affectation, rock solid classic songs, and a really sharp guitar player, too. There was something about her songs that made me think they were more like ones a piano player would write, which spoke to the depth of her musicianship. They weren't written around a limited knowledge of a folk guitar approach, or even the particularities of altered tunings, hardly. They were more from an R&B or Adult Contemporary trunk, real grown up standards, a beautiful batch of songs. What a lot of folk based songwriters just don't know is that to get there, you have to get really good on your instrument or write with piano players...
And Ellen Britton's done both of those, she's got a slew of good co-writers. Her husband Bobby King is a mighty fine touring and session bassist (who also plays piano and expert guitar on the record) and they co-wrote a handful. There are also tunes with hitmaker Stephony Smith, the prolific Lisa Aschmann, Kim Parent, and a couple with Sally Barris, whose new record we await.
Ellen's on the road a lot, playing guitar and singing with Pam Tillis, Martina McBride, Sara Evans, Jo Dee Messina, Lari White, Maura OConnell, and others. She also gigs and records as one of a female quartet called Queen of Hearts. In fact, she's been touring the country since the Britton Sisters did it in their teens. She's played all the big TV shows, and just did an in the round at The Bluebird Cafe with Vince Gill and Amy Grant. Now her prowess as a solo artist is powerfully revealed.
I'm very partial to the jazz ballad "Take Me to Heart." Kenny Malone is on drums and David Hungate (the Toto bassist in a previous lifetime) plays beautiful rhythm--there's a rare jazz appearance by session guitar ace John Willis, and the late and forever missed Roy Huskey Jr. plays upright bass. That's a treasure, as well as the fabulous cowrite with Bobby King, "Eighth Wonder of the World" and "I Wish I was a Train" which bears the strong stamp of folk pop diva Sally Barris.
Ellen Britton, we like the hell out of it. Listen for yourself on the clips page, and by all means, buy it here.