Poetry Picks — The Best CDs of 2009
(Hen House Studios, 2009) Ellyn Maybe got her moniker because she was too shy to commit when she signed up for the open mic list—“Ellyn,” she’d write, “maybe.” She’s an LA phenomenon, published by Henry Rollins, the lovechild of Gertrude Stein and Allen Ginsberg, a lyrical poet in hippie couture, a one-of-a-kind. Now, with Rodeo for the Sheepish, she shows she’s ready for Las Vegas. Brilliant settings by producer Harlan Steinberger, superlative vocal backtracks by Tommy Jordan—all of a sudden, she’s gone Motown and you can hear the sheer force of Poetry vs. Pop music in an arena the size of Radio City Poetry Hall. Humor, poignancy, universality, individuality—like all great artists, how she does it is a mystery, but Ellyn Maybe is for real.