Singer-songwriter Ellis plays LU

Meghan McCallum

Last Tuesday, Oct. 5, a film and testimonial program was presented by the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. The film, called “In Our Own Voices,” was shown as part of a nationwide campaign to spread awareness about mental illness.Ellis, a singer/songwriter known for her “heart-centered folk rock,” will perform this Sunday in the Underground Coffeehouse. The Office of Multicultural Affairs is sponsoring this free performance.

She has previously visited Lawrence though SOUP, and this year’s show is expected to be just as successful as the others. According to Liz Matelski, head of the Diversity Center and an Ellis fan, the concert may draw dedicated fans from all over Wisconsin.

Ellis’ feel-good, socially conscious music is well known for creating an intimate atmosphere at live performances. Between songs Ellis often shares jokes and stories from the road. Her fans are often well acquainted with her contagious laugh.

Ellis usually plays at coffeehouses and college campuses throughout the Midwest, although she has performed at several large festivals in the area. She has also been voted Best Musician in the Twin Cities five times by readers of Lavender magazine.

Born in Texas, Ellis moved to Minnesota as a teenager. She taught herself guitar during high school and started her own indie record company when she was 16. She continued with music through college, playing in the band Bobby Llama, which in 2000 won Sam Goody’s Best Unsigned Band in America competition. Since then, she has recorded five albums.

Her most recent album, “Evidence of Joy,” was released last September. On her website, Ellis held a contest that resulted in a few dedicated fans actually helping in the production of the album. She is currently promoting the CD, which includes crowd favorites as well as new tracks.

Come see Ellis perform this Sunday, Oct. 10, at 9 p.m. in the Coffeehouse, and don’t forget to bring your smile.