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Music Review - `Rambler Pacifico` by Matt Ellis (bm)

Matt Ellis - Rambler Pacifico  (click on image to watch video)

 04  March 2019



California-via-Australia rocker Matt Ellis harnesses Laurel Canyon conviction and Heartland heart on his latest full-length album, Rambler Pacifico. That’s not to paint it as a nostalgia trip, as Ellis selflessly shares more than his musical tastes on this deeply introspective set of songs.

His latest collection of honest-to-goodness folk-rock tunes begins with the whip-smart “Isolationist Blues.” It teases an album that honors past sounds without ignoring our current socio-political situation. This political stance transcends partisan saber-rattling and revives the common man protagonist from so many Country, Folk and Rock songs.

From there, hometown headlines get co-opted for “Some People,” “The Kids of America” and other songs grounded in personal beliefs and propelled by rock energy.

It’s not just a political rallying cry, as Ellis sometimes turns the lens on himself. The peak of his lyrical introspection, “Oh My Magnolia,” features wife Vavine as Ellis’ duet partner. Together, the couple shares a deeply personal story written for their infant daughter. Vavine was 39 weeks pregnant when she cut her vocals for the song.

Although Ellis mostly concerns himself with the here-and-now, he pays homage to the greats with a cover of Pete Seeger and Lee Hayes’ “If I Had a Hammer.” The advance single pairs Ellis with guest vocalist Kam Franklin of The Suffers. Together, the duet partners blend Ellis’ spiffed-up take on Laurel Canyon folk-rock with the timeless message of a worker’s anthem.

In all, Ellis adds to the forward-thinking, tradition-honoring Americana fray—not with outsider country music, but with a sound that’s more akin to the blue-collar storytelling of Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp and others known equally with folksy brains and rock brawn.


Bobby Moore




Bobby Moore







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