NESR Founder & Host
ELLIS PAUL BIOGRAPHY:
Ellis Paul doesn’t just write songs; he’s a guitar-carrying reporter who covers the human condition and details the hopes, loves, and losses of those he observes. He turns their stories into luminous pieces of music that get under your skin and into your bloodstream. And much like the artists who have influenced him (everyone from Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Paul Simon to the singer-songwriter who is undoubtedly his greatest inspiration, Woody Guthrie), Paul weaves deeply personal experiences with social issues and renders them as provocative works that are as timely as they are timeless. Born and raised in Maine, Paul attended Boston College on a track scholarship and in the evenings became a fixture on the city’s open mic circuit. After winning a Boston Acoustic Underground songwriter competition, he caught the ear of folk luminary Bill Morrissey, who produced his indie album Say Something in 1993. This led to a seven album contract with Rounder Records and the 1994 album, Stories. His songs have appeared in several blockbuster films (Me Myself and Irene, Shallow Hal, Hall Pass) and have been covered by award-winning country artists (Sugarland, Kristian Bush, Jack Ingram). Through a steady succession of albums of his own—a remarkable 23 releases so far—and a constant touring presence around the world, Paul’s audience has grown into a loyal legion of fans. Along the way, he has picked up an impressive number of awards including the prestigious Kerrville New Folk Award, 15 Boston Music Awards, An Honorary Doctorate from the University of Maine, the 2019 International Acoustic Music Awards Artist of the Year and most recently his album, The Storyteller’s Suitcase, was named the 2019 NERFA Album of the Year. His new album “55” touches on the necessity of gratitude in a difficult era of the pandemic and divided political stances on his own imprint, Rosella Records. He is the Founder and Co-Host of the New England Songwriters Retreat.
LYNN MILES BIOGRAPHY:
Coming from a country renowned for outstanding singer-songwriters, Lynn Miles is considered Canadian songwriting royalty. With a JUNO Award (Canadian Grammy) in 2003 for Roots Traditional Album of the year, Lynn subsequently scored JUNO nominations in 2011 and 2006. She has taken home six Canadian Folk Music Awards including three for Songwriter of the Year. In the last century, Lynn was a staff songwriter for LA-based publisher Criterion Music, alongside Lyle Lovett, Rosanne Cash and Rodney Crowell. Her first record deal was with Rounder Records in the US and Continental Records in The Netherlands. She is currently signed to True North Records in Canada. In 2016, American bluegrass artist Claire Lynch recorded Lynn's song "Black Flowers" on her Grammy-nominated album “North By South”. Lynn’s 15th album “Look for Stars” took the number 1 spot on the Euro-Americana chart for the month in August 2022. Lynn has the ability to instantly convert listeners into lifetime fans. On her newest album—her 16th—“tumbleWeedyWorld”, she sings about the differences between people, which ultimately only demonstrates how we are so much the same. As always her ever-emotive voice carries each lyric with breathtaking clarity and heart-wrenching honesty. This album has been nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award for Album of the Year. Lynn has been the songwriting mentor at the Banff Centre for the Performing Arts, and she taught songwriting at Carleton University in Ottawa Canada for 4 years. She has produced albums for 5 other singer/songwriters. She also gives talks on “Artists and Mental Health”. Lynn is a performing artist, public speaker, teacher, producer and imperfect human with an open heart, and a good sense of humour.
VANCE GILBERT BIOGRAPHY:
“If Joni Mitchell and Richie Havens had a love child, with Rodney Dangerfield as the midwife, the results might be something close to the great Vance Gilbert", says Richmond Magazine. Vance's new album "The Mother Of Trouble” features Grammy-winner Lori McKenna on background vocals, Juno award winner Joey Landreth, and Americana-Roots master mandolinist Joe K. Walsh. This album features 4 bullies, 4 deaths (3 of them murders), 3 moms, 2 accidents, 2 Black people, 2 dogs, 1 dog ball, 1 gay kid, and 1 missed flight thanks to gas station sushi—and shows that this vital musical storyteller is at the top of his game. Oh, and Management wants to make sure to tell you that this is the 14th release for this acoustic stalwart. 30 years into his career, Vance's influence can be felt all over the contemporary Folk and Americana realm, as he has helped pave the way for many of the BIPOC artists who have followed. Back in 1992, Shawn Colvin invited Vance to be special guest on her 1992 Fat City tour, where he took much of America by storm and by surprise. “With the voice of an angel, the wit of a devil, and the guitar playing of a god... ” wrote the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Vance has been the opener of choice for artists as varied as Arlo Guthrie, Anita Baker, The Milk Carton Kids, and Southside Johnny— and the mid 2000s found Gilbert opening 150+ shows for comedian George Carlin. Vance has also been a prominent presence at some of the world’s most prestigious gatherings and halls, among them the Newport, Winnipeg, Rocky Mountain, Calgary, Ottawa, and Falcon Ridge Folk festivals, the Kate Wolf Music Festival, and Australia’s Woodford Folk and Mullum Music Festivals, Mountain Stage, Boston's Symphony Hall, Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, The Barns at Wolftrap, and a private party for his veterinarian where there was terrific lo mein. More recently, he’s opened for Mad About You/Stranger Things star Paul Reiser’s stand-up shows, along with his own busy acoustic music touring and coaching schedule. Gilbert has been a songwriting, performance, and voice coach at multiple venues including Kerrville Folk Festival Songwriters School and Rocky Mountain Song School, he is currently on staff as Instructor/Professor at the University Of Colorado Denver, and has a decade worth of summer programs at the Berklee College Of Music under his belt. Simply put, he is considered by many to be an integral part of the national folk scene. Gilbert runs 3 to 4 miles ever so slowly, 5 days a week, to stay sharp for the road—and does historical aviation research and model building just for great nerdy fun. He even has a tune on a Grammy Nominated children’s album. How rounded is that?
SETH GLIER BIOGRAPHY:
The earth speaks to us in a myriad of ways—through ice cores, through uplift and erosion, through tree rings—languages we have the potential to restore our literacy in. Reconnecting with these quiet messages has set Seth Glier, an avid mushroom forager and a Grammy-nominated artist from Western Massachusetts, on a path of channeling nature’s longing for communion with humanity into song. His new album “Everything" is a collection of eight songs inviting us to imagine a future in which humans and the planet are re-aligned into mutual restoration. Seth’s gifts are an innate curiosity and a fierce desire to connect with other people. His musical acumen provides him with a vehicle for both. He was worked as a cultural diplomat for the US State Department and collaborated with musicians in Ukraine, Mongolia, China, and Mexico. Seth has shared the bill with a diverse list of artists ranging from the likes of Ronnie Spector, James Taylor, Ani DiFranco, & Glen Campbell. As a producer, music director, or studio musician he has collaborated with Sophie B. Hawkins, Tom Rush, Antje Duvekot, Richard Shindell, Doctora Qingona, Dar Williams, Nick Carter, & Cyndi Lauper. Seth is a five-time Independent Music Award winner and received a Grammy nomination for his album "The Next Right Thing". With a commitment to using songwriting as a tool for positive change, he has written with the students in Parkland, FL for the “Parkland Project,” cowritten with soldiers at Walter Reed, and is an advocate for autism awareness, citing his autistic brother Jamie as his greatest non-musical-musical influence.
NESR Retreat Coordinator
LAURIE MACALLISTER BIOGRAPHY:
Affectionately dubbed "Mama Bear" by NESR IV Students, Laurie handles the logistical aspects of NESR Online. Ask her anything—she's happy to help: firstname.lastname@example.org
Laurie MacAllister held a quiet dream of being a singer since she was a very young girl. Her voice finally came alive years later when, on a dare, she was convinced to sing spontaneously for a crowd in New York City, in Washington Square Park. A career began in that moment. Laurie started with a steady stream of nights on open mic stages around NYC, and then landed a regular Monday night gig at the The Grey Dog’s Coffee in the West Village. She released her first album of ten original songs called "These Old Clothes” soon afterward. In 2000, she discovered a passion for harmony singing while touring the country with folk luminary Cliff Eberhardt. Eberhardt produced Laurie's next solo album, "The Things I Choose To Do”, which was first released independently, and then picked up by Barnes & Noble and re-released on their label.
In 2004, at a campsite at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Laurie began making music with her campmates, weaving their voices together in harmony. In an impromptu and magical moment, the Americana trio Red Molly was born. With a focus on beautiful songs, soaring harmonies, and a deep relationship with their fans (who dubbed themselves RedHeads), the band quickly became the darlings of the folk/Americana scene. Red Molly has shared their voices around the world for seventeen years, singing everywhere from Australia to America, playing 100 shows annually in front of thousands of fans, frequently selling out venues, and releasing seven acclaimed albums.
Along the way, in 2010, Laurie's voice was featured in a national television commercial for Folgers Coffee. In 2018, she produced and released a new solo album called "The Lies the Poets Tell", a collection of some her most beloved songs. The album features duets with six male vocalists, including the late Americana master Jimmy LaFave. Laurie has composed and sung harmony parts on dozens of recordings, including those by Cliff Eberhardt, Susan Werner, and Ellis Paul. She's also taught singing and stage performance around the country, including at The Swannanoa Gathering, Folk Alliance International, Targhee Music Camp, and the New England Songwriters Retreat. Laurie's powerful yet delicate voice stretches octaves, warm and romantic one moment, playful and irreverent the next. One song at a time, one show at a time, over the course of two adventuresome decades, Laurie has turned her quiet dream into a joyous reality.
EBEN PARISER BIOGRAPHY:
I used to carry my guitar into the bar at age 13 and sit in with the local blues band with my Dad. I studied music at the Oberlin Conservatory, but a wrist injury stalled my performing career and led me to a degree in Neuroscience. Despite this setback, music was calling, and I listened. I moved to Brooklyn and taught myself voice and bucket bass and formed the street band Roosevelt Dime, while working at Rockefeller University in a birdsong neuro lab. I re-taught myself guitar with proper ergonomic technique, became musical director of Red Molly and started Goodnight Moonshine with my wife Molly Venter. During the pandemic, I became a TrueFire educator, designed a recording studio for the Neighborhood Music School and launched the record label Equitone Records. My passion as a guitarist is for understanding and drawing connections between far-reaching forms of music—while still honoring the cultural traditions of each genre. I’m a jazz musician. I’m a folk musician. Composition and improvisation are two of my favorite things. None of it matters without tone, touch, and passion. As a producer, I imagine what the musicians I work with are hearing, and from there, I leverage the power of existing tropes, which give the piece cultural significance. Ultimately I trust my ability as a sensing, feeling human to know what we like best! It always yields something that sounds new. I am a TrueFire guitar & vocal instructor, and I offer one-on-one lessons in person and online. My teaching method is holistic and mindful—I ask students to envision how they want to feel in the future—when they are playing and singing the way they dream about. I invite them to start from that feeling, here and now. My approach is both scientific and intuitive. I learned ergonomic technique from overcoming my own wrist injury—which allowed me to be the artist I want to be. I am currently developing an experimental music education program at the Slate School in North Haven, CT, and touring, recording, and producing for Goodnight Moonshine.