Andrew Ellis

Andrew Ellis



Andrew Ellis has one of the most valuable things a folk singer can have: world-weary, believable vocals. His deep, gravelly baritone recalls some of the greats, but like Steve Earle or Johnny Cash, it’s distinctively it’s own. A veteran of the local scene, Ellis recently released Post-Scarcity, an excellent collection of gritty Americana tunes, with Lucky Lemont. We caught up with the troubadour to talk about his current projects, his grandfather’s contributions to electronic music and the motto he tries to live by. 


Tell us more about some of your past projects?

Last year, I released the album Post-Scarcity. This was an all acoustic disc of heartbreaking folk songs. 


What current projects are you working on?

I'm in the compiling stages of a poetry book that will be released, hopefully, within the next month. I will. also, have a 7" vinyl album released this summer, and another full length disc out by the end of the summer.


What advantages does being in Northwest Ohio/Toledo offer your efforts?

There has been such overwhelming support from friends, fans, and bar/venue owners in Toledo. I have the luxury of playing 5-6 nights a week. Also, cheap real estate keeps my overhead low. I'd need a day job if I lived in Nashville, LA, or NYC.


Tell us about one of your greatest successes.

It's hard to mention success without mentioning my family. Being a good father, and husband, will always be my greatest success.


Tell us who or what gives you inspiration?

 I try to keep myself open, to be inspired by anything, because waiting for inspiration doesn't work. You need to choke the shit out of poetry, till it gives up the ghost. 


Tell us about your background.

I was a violent, misdirected young man, with no formal education, and a serious alcohol addiction that almost killed me, several times. Although this is embarrassing to say, I think, it's necessary for people to understand what I am.


Do you have a motto or favorite quote you try to live by?

"If you don't want to work 9-5, you need to hustle 24/7.”


Favorite place for local culture?

There's not one defining culture in Toledo. We are, as much, agriculture as we are city, drug dealers and cops, priests and prostitutes, ghetto and suburbs, white, black, brown, yellow, Muslim, Christian, etc. Local culture could be found at the Toledo Club, or Cherry Street Mission. I've had friends at both. And even though their locations are only several blocks away, the culture is vastly different but somehow both decisively Toledo.


Toledo’s “best kept secret” is . . . 

It's work ethic. 

My favorite place to chill locally is . . . 

The Village Idiot. 

My favorite natural space in the Toledo area is . . . 

The Maumee River. 


When I’m not working hard, I can always be found at . . . 

Home. I know it's not exciting, but I'm at the bars every night when I'm working.


If you could change anything about the current landscape for creative, progressive people . . . 

I urge all artists, in Toledo, to produce. Manufacture sellable works to prove that you can support yourself on your own merit. There are few things as rewarding as this.


Any exciting collaborations (past or present) you would like to tell us about?

My success has been an amalgamation of folks. From my wife, Mary Ellis (Pull the Trigger Booking), handling my booking/touring, to Angel Alonzo shooting my photos, to Andrea Ankenbrandt (DreamUp Graphics) doing my graphic design, and Little Elephant Recording Studios. Since I'm not on a label, finding competent artists, like these, are a necessity.


Name one person (living or deceased) who you would love to collaborate with.

Merrill Ellis, my grandfather. Music professor at University of North Texas, creator of the Center for Experimental Music and Intramedia, composer of synthesizer music, and helped design the second synthesizer made, with Robert Moog.


3 words that best describe me or my work are . . . 

Honest, well-crafted, unique. 


My biggest vice is . . . 

No way am I answering this. 


I’d like to see __________ in Toledo.  

Less crime. 


What’s the last dream you recall having? 

Not sure, but I'm sure it would be inappropriate.


The last lyric that moved me was . . .

"There's nothing in the world, so sad, as talking to a man. Who never knew his life was his for making." -Ray LaMontagne


One movie character I identify with is . . . 

Henry Chinaski from "Barfly" 


The best gift I’ve ever received was . . .

My children.


I want my last meal to be _______________. 

With friends and family.


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