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Finding the light: Ellis Paul tells stories through song

Folk singer Ellis Paul is touring in support of his album, “Chasing Beauty.”

Folk singer Ellis Paul is touring in support of his album, “Chasing Beauty.”

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Ellis Paul finds light in telling stories through music. That has been the folk singer’s mantra for more than two decades.

“My songs are more melodic now,” he says during a recent phone interview. “When I first began to write, the songs were more wordy and I’ve since become comfortable with editing.”

Paul’s current album, “Chasing Beauty,” is not too different from his previous releases. The album is chock-full of stories told through song.

Getting to the finished product did take some flexibility. Paul is constantly on tour and had to carve out time to write.

“I write on airplanes or in hotel rooms,” he says. “Anywhere I could find a moment for myself to think. I needed to feel comfortable before anything started.”

Music wasn’t always a calling for Paul. As a boy, he found his escape in athletics, working out as a runner and testing his mettle in the open spaces near his home. He became a star competitor, and enjoyed the advantage of traveling across the country after being given opportunities to compete.

“I was lucky to be able to travel for competitions all over the U.S., and to see places I once could only dream of,” he says. “The Olympic Stadium in Los Angeles, the endless plains of Texas, the Kansas prairie, the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming. Every trip was funded by a hat the town passed around on my behalf, and it never came back empty.”

No one ever told Paul he had to follow in his family’s farming tradition.

He would write, paint, play trumpet and sing in the school choir.

“I never had anyone tell me I had to be a farmer,” Paul says. “I had plenty of people telling me how my hard work and talent could take me places. That’s enough to get you dreaming, and enough to make you believe those dreams are within reach.”


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