Singer and songwriter Megan Rose Ellsworth experienced something familiar when she came out to Colorado from Oregon to attend the University of Colorado at Denver’s Music Entertainment Industry Studies program – she fell in love with the state.
Now as she releases “ELLSWORTH,” her debut album, it becomes clear that when she loves something, she puts her all into it. The album pulls stylistic elements from artists like Joni Mitchell and Phoebe Bridgers to create an intimate work that brings listeners in as close as a whisper for her searching stories about anxiety, growth and love.
We spoke with the musician about making the record, Denver’s music scene and more:
Interview edited for brevity and clarity.
Tell me about the approach you took to your debut album?
I started singing straight out of the womb. My dad taught me how to play guitar when I was 8 and I haven’t stopped since.
I wanted this record to be the culmination of my songwriting from college, high school, breakups, love, and dark places. This album is a look into my life as I grew up and through the often painful, awkward, and humbling transition into adulthood.
What was the recording process like?
The recording process was unlike any recording process I had before this. It was just me and my co-producer, Matt Hoffman, in his basement geeking out. With each song, we got better and better and he was a real support throughout it all. I feel so thankful for having such a great friend and mentor that believes in my music and wants to help me share it with others.
You write about fear and anxiety in several songs. What moved you to cover these topics?
I have panic disorder, anxiety, and depression and I am very open about that because, let’s be honest, a lot of people struggle with mental health. Songwriting has always been an outlet for me to express and grapple with these dark emotions that can make us feel so isolated and hopeless. Songs like, “Anxiety” and “Fight or Flight,” come from a raw and genuine place of fear and loneliness… and if just one person feels less alone when they hear my music, then I will have achieved what I set out for.
-Are you planning any performances to support the album?
I am a featured artist for Indie 102.3’s Local 303 for March, Women’s History Month, and I am honored to be among such incredible women. I am playing at the Lyric Cinema on March 21 in Fort Collins, and I am playing my album release show at Lost Lake on April 1.
-What do you wish more people knew about the Denver music scene?
The thing I love most about this community is the people. We are one big family, everyone knows everyone somehow and we are all here to support one another and collaborate. The human kindness amongst the Denver music scene is unlike anything else, it’s just beautiful.
“ELLSWORTH” can be found on numerous streaming services, and visit www.ellsworththefolksinger.com for merch and more information.
Arvada Center’s Amplify series expands in 2021
The Arvada Center’s, 6901 Wadsworth Blvd., Amplify Event series began in June 2020 following the murder of George Floyd. The series did such great work with marginalized communities through the arts that it was extended to feature arts leaders curating experiences that encourage dialogue through artistic expression, according to provided information.
Actor, director, and President of the Colorado Theatre Guild, Betty Hart will curate a new event at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 22. The event will feature everything from spoken word and song to instrumental music and dance.
There will be limited in-person tickets available, and the event will also be live-streamed. For tickets and information, visit www.arvadacenter.org/events/amplify-curated-by-betty-hart.
Clarke’s Concert of the Week – OATES SONG FEST 7908
John and Aimee Oates (of Hall and Oates) are producing the OATES SONG FEST 7908 livestreamed from Aspen to raise money for Feeding America. The show will broadcast at 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 20, for free with a donation option for viewers. Performers will include Dave Grohl, Jim James, Shawn Colvin, Michael Franti, Sara Bareilles and more.
The show will be streamed free and will include a donation component for viewers to support Feeding America, whose mission is to support food banks across the country. Visit www.nugs.net for the details.
Streaming style – ‘Without Getting Killed or Caught’
Guy Clark is one of the best songwriters to come out of Texas – or anywhere, really – and his death in 2016 took one of music’s sharpest pens. The alt-country star’s story gets the documentary treatment in “Without Getting Killed or Caught,” which is offering virtual screenings of the film followed by a discussion with country luminaries like Sarah Jarosz, Steve Earle and Andrew Combs.
Virtual screenings will be held six times from March 23 through April 25 at a variety of times. For a list of screening times and tickets, visit www.withoutgettingkilledorcaught.com/tickets.
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Clarke Reader’s column on culture apears on a weekly basis. He can be reached at Clarke.Reader@hotmail.com.