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Starts 08 May 20:00

Organizer: Rootsy

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Our Man In The Field was the result of an epiphany. In 2014, Alex Ellis found himself in the hospital under observation for intense abdominal pains. Worryingly, a tumor was discovered; a similar growth accounted for his father’s death in his 40s. As Ellis awaited treatment, he reflected on his dad’s life — hard work in a job he didn’t like and unable to enjoy the fruits of his labor — and realized he needed to make some changes to avoid the same fate.

Until then, Ellis had been an actor, with TV ads and other gigs keeping him afloat until the next audition, but nothing catapulting him to fame. Having just auditioned for one especially denigrating role, his health scare begged the question, “What do I want to do?” What Ellis thought of while bored and anxious in his hospital bed wasn’t acting, but playing his guitar and the freedom and expression that songwriting offered. Upon his discharge and subsequent recovery, he began writing and creating his aesthetic and sonic identity.

Ellis had actually written his first songs as a soccer-obsessed teen growing up in Northeast England, but never took music seriously until moving to London. There, he recorded a few efforts that a friend sent to BBC host Tom Robinson, who played them on BBC Radio 6 Music. This led to Ellis’ first live shows, followed by a return to the studio to make what became The Company Of Strangers, Our Man In The Field’s 2020 debut album.

Our Man In The Field now moves up to a new level with Gold on the Horizon, with songs that range from raw and barren in “Come Back To Me” — which showcases Ellis’ soulful vocal harmonies and a sparse arrangement of acoustic guitar and pedal steel — to the spacious mirror ball slow-dance of “Go Easy,” to the full, desert noir feel of horns, baritone guitar and backing harmonies that run through album opener “Feel Good.”

What informs Ellis is a lifetime of inspiration and the creative space to wait for something magical to happen. He acknowledges that his music “is probably the result of listening to a lot of my parents’ records when I was a kid: Van Morrison, The Eagles, The Carpenters and the like. Then, a little later, buying my own stuff like Paul Weller, REM and The Bluetones, before going through the inevitable Dylan phase and ongoing Neil Young/Creedence obsession.”

Performances by Our Man In The Field

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