In 1989 Matt Ellis and his family took a Greyhound Bus trip across the United States, from L.A. to New York. Matt’s father, Frank, wanted to see the country from a locals perspective, far from the Disneylands and guided tours. It proved to be a life changing experience for the 15 year old, Australian born, Matt. Back home he had just started singing in a band, but on this trip he became a songwriter. And thanks to his brother Sean, the whole journey was captured on home video.
Ellis remembers; “A few years ago I was asked, “When did you become a songwriter?” If I had to put a date on it, this trip was it. I was seeing new things from a different perspective, but wasn’t really aware of it at the time. I’d often go to the back of the bus, grab a seat and plug into my walkman and tune into local radio as we drove. Sometimes I’d be sitting next to an ex-con, just out of jail. Sometimes it was an immigrant on the way to a new life, and back then, everyone was happy to share their story.”
“Greyhound 89” comes from Matt’s fifth album, “The Greatest Escape”. Often described as a “coming of age” album, the 12 songs were written shortly after the loss of Matt’s father, and recorded as Matt was turning 40. It was a time of deep reflection for the songwriter, and you can feel the weight in each song.
Matt personally dug through six hours of home movie footage, editing the base footage himself. With the help of his friend and Cinematographer, Jordan Levy, the pair then projected the edit against Matt’s garage, for the final layer of performance footage. J.D. Narro color graded the final composition, which is now available on YouTube.
“The Greatest Escape” was released on October 21st, 2014. By December, the album was the second most added new release to Americana Radio, sharing the position with “Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes”, Produced by T-Bone Burnett.
The 12 songs, Produced by Matt and Mixed by Craig Schumacher at Wavelab in Tucson, Az, have a new, tougher sound that recalls the Australian Singer/Songwriter’s early rock roots. Ellis’ sound has evolved effortlessly over the past decade blending Country, Rock and Folk in the tradition of Tom Petty, Neil Young and Ryan Adams. It’s a sound that’s opened doors to a wide audience for Ellis, with the new album attracting airplay on BBC Radio 2 in the UK, RTL in France, Triple J in Australia, KCSN in Los Angeles and many more.
This is the final video to be lifted from “The Greatest Escape”. Ellis is now making way for a duet single release with Singer/Songwriter and friend, Paul Chesne. The single, titled “They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To”, will be released later this Summer.