Bio: My name is Charles Ellsworth and I’m a singer songwriter from Salt Lake City, UT. I released my debut album “Charles Ellsworth & The Dirty Thirty” in March of 2012. I’ve also released various EP’s and Singles over the years. My album ‘Salt Lake City; A Love Story’ is a collaborative effort between myself and fellow singer-songwriter/long-time friend Vincent Draper. We are both from Salt Lake City, and we are not currently signed.
Vincent and I met at a barbecue a number of years ago. I had just moved back to Salt Lake to finish my undergrad after my Arizona based band Alaska & Me had broken up. I went to a barbecue my cousin had invited me to and Vincent’s old band the Small Town Sinners were playing an acoustic set. I really liked their sound and started to talk to them after their set. We’ve been pretty much hanging out and playing music together in one form or another since.
Genre: I grew up country music, but in junior high switched my attention to Punk Rock and sort of the Post Punk/Emo Revival of the late 90’s early 2000’s. I went through a phase that I really disliked anything twangy or country, but eventually as I grew older I started to realize the similarities between Punk and the Outlaw Country movement of the 1970’s and it eventually just became part of the music I listened to on a regular basis.
Evolution of the initial musical and thematic elements: I think Vincent and I have always had a “less is more” kind of approach to the music we make. When it came to making this record, we had the motto of ‘less is more, but if you are going with more, go with more Slayer. I think it kind of makes sense if you listen to the record enough.
Ideas about the album: In so many words I think we made the record we set out to make. It’s not perfect, it’s not super polished, it’s just two friends hanging out in a studio and recording songs. Vincent is a drummer as well as songwriter, and I played bass in my old band, so we live-tracked the bass and drums together. That was a really cool experience, being able to vibe off each other and take visual cues based on each other’s behaviour to really lay down the backbone of the songs. Everything else just builds itself up from there.
Reception: We’ve only released a handful of tracks, but so far people seem to have nice things to say about what they’ve heard. Whether it was at a show, or on our soundcloud.
Preference; live or studio: Apples and Oranges. It’s just like anything with life; anything is exciting if you surround yourself with the right company.
Next step; live or studio: Vincent is trying to finish school, so he’ll be playing around the Salt Lake Valley, and getting out as much as he can. I’ve got a national tour booked for this fall (’13) with another friend/songwriter Shadow Puppet and hopefully as much time touring and playing out as possible in 2014. Not sure about international, but if it’s a possibility I’ll definitely take the shows abroad.
Future plans: Just getting in front of as many people as possible; traveling, spreading the music, getting into weird situations. Those are things that I love doing, and I’ll continue to do it.
Lyrics, themes and concepts: It’s kind of funny that the album is called “Salt Lake City; A Love Story” but only one of my songs is about Salt Lake. All of my songs on the record, except the title track, are about my wanderings and experiences that have come from them. The album, for me, is named after Salt Lake because that’s where I’ve called home, where I’ve many times longed to be, while writing all of the songs.
Composers: I wrote half of the songs on the record, Vincent wrote the other half. We each played all of the guitars, drums, and piano on our songs. We also did most of the vocals, but called some friends in to play other instruments.
Inspirations: Townes Van Zandt. Calexico. Neil Young. Chuck Ragan. Lucero. and many others. Too many to name.
Preference; cater to the audience or music for its own sake: It’s important to know who your target market is. The type of people that will like your songs, but there’s no point to be making music that you aren’t excited about. It’s all about balance.
Greatest Accomplishment: So far? I’d say this record.
Anything else? We just really want people to hear the record, so if anyone doesn’t have the money to purchase it somewhere, let me know. I’ll send you the tracks for free as long as you agree to share it with friends/ write a review on iTunes, etc. We’ll figure something out.
Photo by Heidi Gress.