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MP3 Ellen Woloshin - Water Into Wine

Ellen''s unique sound is like a warm blanket for the soul. Someone you feel you know or will want to know when you hear her.

11 MP3 Songs in this album (39:50) !
Related styles: POP: Pop/Rock, POP: Folky Pop

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“The process of recording and performing music has been an important step in my personal journey. It has taught me that there is no greater gift than being able to do the thing you want to do. Therein lies the achievement…”

In immersing myself into the reality Ellen Woloshin has achieved with her latest CD, Water Into Wine, it’s clear that we are the ones who are the beneficiaries of Ellen’s gift. And by that I refer not only to her gift as a songwriter (with her co-writer, the inspiring Jennifer Dent) or as a consummate performer… but, more importantly, her gift to share the sounds she has in her head and in her heart.

For what we have is a recording that lets us know exactly who Ellen is. Ellen says that Water Into Wine is about “transformation and growth — the possibility of all things juxtaposed with their inherent difficulties.” But it’s more than that. It’s a recording full of the juxtapositions of modern life. It’s a work that is at the same time delicate and yet innately powerful; intensely personal while connecting to our universal condition; deceptively simple but full of all the complications involved in living in today’s constantly shifting world.

The purity of Ellen’s musical vision is the thing that immediately struck me in listening to Water Into Wine. There’s no grandstanding or tricks involved here. The songwriting by Ellen and Jennifer is profoundly honest — in Ellen’s words, “in credit to Jennifer, who gave me the courage to write and the motivation to take full advantage of the power of language.” And the sound of Ellen’s voice always offers a direct line to her emotions. Immediately from the first track, “Making My Way Back (To Free)”, we are instinctively aware that this is music coming from the soul. As Ellen sings of personal freedom and “following your inner voice,” her journey becomes ours as well.

But it is as the CD unfolds that we are subtly drawn in by Ellen’s gift to connect with our common experiences. There’s the exploration of loss in the haunting “Joanna”… the intricacies of coping with what is left unsaid in “The Words”… the drive to simply forge ahead in “Let It Go Now”. It’s not the manipulative, manufactured sounds we’ve, unfortunately, come to accept as the norm. This is music with real emotion.

Artfully produced by the masterful Kevin Bents (whose credits include Steely Dan, Phoebe Snow, Boz Scaggs), Water Into Wine is gracefully enriched by what Ellen calls “Kevin’s innovative production ideas that breathe new life into songs Jennifer and I already felt strongly about.” Kevin also contributed most of the instrumental tracks as well as backup vocals. In addition, Jon Gordon (whose credits include Suzanne Vega, Madonna) arranged and produced the last track, “You Break My Fall,” and played many of the instruments on that cut. The CD’s sound is fresh and modern, buoyed by the musicianship of Kevin and Jon as well as the wonderful Doug Yowell, playing live percussion and drums on most of the cuts.

Like Ellen’s first recording, Tried and True, we are also treated to Ellen’s personal take on “weaving great and cherished, well-known songs with my songs” — in this case The Beatles’ “We Can Work It Out”. And as in Tried and True (which received wide airplay, including appearing on the playlist of BBC Radio 2), Ellen expertly rises to the “often daunting challenge of delivering a new version that can stand on its own.” Ellen makes the song very personal and seamlessly incorporates a tune we already love with her own distinctive songs.

Ellen’s connection with music is simply a part of her. She grew up studying classical piano and started singing at the age of 16. When she decided to forego a classical career, Ellen quite naturally fell into the “family business.” The daughter of Sid Woloshin —the legendary Madison Avenue jingles man who wrote one of the most powerful ad tunes of all times, McDonald’s “You Deserve a Break Today” — Ellen found a way to use her talents by becoming one of the voices of McDonald’s when she was still in college. From there, Ellen sang and wrote jingles for the likes of advertisers from Crystal Light to Trump Towers (including making certain the entire country knew that “Nobody Cares for Eyes More Than Pearle”).

But it is as a singer-songwriter that Ellen has really distinguished herself. Ellen’s personal appearances have reached from the college circuit to gigs in her hometown of NYC at the famous Knitting Factory and as part of the “Battery Park Concert Series” to performances at the Bluebird Café in Nashville. Ellen has opened for such artists as Laura Nyro, Bill Stains and Jim Dawson. As a songwriter, “The Promise of Life” has been recorded by Dionne Warwick and Ellen has written material for Ben Vereen and LaToya Jackson. Ellen’s unique voice as a singer-songwriter is undeniable — and I am constantly in awe of her talent as well as her generosity as a good and true friend.

Water Into Wine is just the next step in the journey we all share with Ellen. She calls the process of creating Water Into Wine a “very intimate experience of letting my true feelings show — and stopping any instinct to guard or protect them.” Personally, I’ve always been grateful for the depth and breadth of feelings Ellen lavishes on her friends… including me. With Water Into Wine, Ellen reaches a new maturity as an artist and unleashes her vision to the world at large, instantly making us all her confidants. And we are all the better for it.

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