date published: May 19, 2008

5 questions with...

Ellis PaulEllis Paul
by Josh B. Wardrop

Singer-songwriter Ellis Paul spent more than two decades as one of the Boston folk-pop scene’s brightest talents. Now a resident of Virginia, Paul makes a welcome homecoming on May 24, performing at the free WBOS EarthFest concert at the Hatch Shell.

Q: Have you played EarthFest before, and what made you want to get involved this year?
I played the show about 10 years ago with Arlo Guthrie. I feel our culture is getting, thankfully, a lot greener, and I’m thrilled to be part of a day that’s all about taking care of our planet. There aren’t a lot of other ones out there available if this one goes bad (laughs).

Q: What precipitated your move to Virginia after 20+ years in the Boston area?
We moved to be closer to my wife’s parents—with two young kids and me on the road a lot, it was really important. But Boston still feels like my homebase—I’m here to perform probably once a month.

Q: You built a successful music career while living in Boston. Were you ever tempted to move to New York or L.A.?
No, because I never really thought of my career as a commercial entity—more like a cottage industry. I didn’t want to go up against Bruce Springsteen. Boston was a great place to be a working folk singer.

Q: Your new disc, The Dragonfly Races, is geared toward children and families. What nudged you in this direction?
I wanted to give my daughters, who are 1 and 3, an album to grow up with. And I wanted it to be something parents could listen to without going nuts!

Q: When you make it back to Boston, what are some things you just need to do?
I love to walk along the Charles River Esplanade—the Cambridge side has a particularly good view. I’ll go to Club Passim to see live acoustic music. And there’s a tapas restaurant in Somerville called Dali that’s terrific.