Ellis Paul, the Guerilla Warfare Troubador

Ellis Paul says it’s guerrilla warfare out there in the music industry since the paradigm changed away from major labels, but he’s thriving in the new circumstances.

“It used to be kind of one path to developing your career, and now it’s more like guerilla warfare,” he said recently by telephone.

In 2010 he showed how this new paradigm works when he raised $100,000 from fans to record his critically acclaimed 14th recording, The Day After Everything Changed.

“I’m no longer on a label and happily doing fundraising projects to create my own recordings,” he said. “We’re in the midst of doing it again. We just crossed the $100,000 point.”

His new record, City of Silver Dreams, is due out in December and it, too, is a fan-funded recording. He’ll be performing some of the songs for it when he appears for two shows at the Trueblood Performing Arts Center on Washington Island on Sept. 28. “I’m breaking in all the songs, and really enjoying playing them, too. It’s fun.”

He offers different levels of funding, each level named after a great album by other artists, and each comes with its own set of incents: Harvest, $25; Blue, $100; Murmur, $250; Sgt. Pepper, $500; Blood on the Tracks, $1,000; Exile on Main Street, $2,500; Thriller, $10,000. The incentives at the Thriller level are many and include, dinner with Paul, a private concert, a lifetime guest list spot for you and a friend, original album art, one of his guitars, a personal song written by him and an original painting or piece of painted furniture by him.

“We’re already in the studio. It’s recorded and basically done. We’re just doing overdubbing and vocals,” Paul said of the new record, which was originally planned for an April 2013 release.

“I had some vocal issues at that time and I couldn’t finish the record,” he said, adding that such a delay “would have caused some problems if a record label had cleared out space to deal with me and then I had to tell them I wasn’t ready. Now I can do it whenever I’m ready.”

Paul’s longtime pal, Kristian Bush of the country band Sugarland, is producer on the new record, as he was with the 2010 release, and the Sugarland band plays backup.

“I’m pretty proud of it. It’s sounding great right now,” he said.

Although Paul has performed many times in Madison and Milwaukee, his two Washington Island performances will be his first time in Door County.

“I’ve heard it’s beautiful,” he said.

The two shows at the Trueblood include a 1 pm family show and a 7 pm adult show.

The family shows developed natural about five years ago as his own family developed, Paul said.

“I have kids now and I put out a couple of family records. I don’t do a lot of family shows, but it makes sense. It’s a sideline,” he said. “I’m really enjoying doing it. I treat the songs with as much care and attention as I always do.”

For more information on Ellis Paul, visit

For ticket information for the Trueblood performances, visit