Betse Ellis

Don't You Want to Go?

by Deanne Sole

17 June 2009

cover art

Betse Ellis

Don't You Want to Go?

(Free Dirt)
US: 21 Apr 2009
UK: Import

Betse Ellis’ fiddle music has an exploratory history. Classically trained on the violin, she tried jazz, experimented with sitar themes, then, after some exposure to old time Americana, co-founded a country group named the Wilders. “Tunes from the Golden Age,” asserts the group’s publicity. “Honky Tonk. Fiddle Tunes. Hoo-ie.” Her debut solo album is proof that Americana is still winning her over. There’s a muted, indie-folk feel to a track like “Another Night Gone”, but most of the time she’s attacking something traditional, something with strong teeth: a tune from the Ozarks, a piece of blues, or a tough “John Henry”, the bow heaving and mourning over the strings as Henry’s hammer does its thing. The African-American songs sound a little off at Ellis’ higher register—or not off exactly, but unfamiliar. Her “Mainz Waltz” is as courteous and pure-spirited as a country waltz should be, and her playing overall is assertive with a constant sprightly subterrain, as if the fiddler, even when she’s singing about dead railway workers, is always, at heart, fundamentally happy, or as if she’s just come to the fiddle straight from an excellent meal and is raring to go.

Don't You Want to Go?


We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work. We are a wholly independent, women-owned, small company. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing, challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. PopMatters needs your help to keep publishing. Thank you.

//Mixed media


Treasuring Memories of Paul McCartney on 'One on One' Tour

// Notes from the Road

"McCartney welcomed Bruce Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt out for a song at Madison Square Garden.

READ the article