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Last.FM Bio: Of Ellyn Maybe’s new poetry/music CD, Rodeo for the Sheepish, the legendary rock critic Greil Marcus wrote, “I heard half of the long, quietly mesmerizing “City Streets” on the radio—what was this? A woman with a poem, with music and a sung chorus not behind her but circling her, and the poem neither exactly recited nor sung, but spoken with such a lilt, in a voice so full of miserabilist pride—at forty, a woman is still getting high-school insults tossed at her (“Hey Mars girl,” a man shouts on the street, “get off the Earth”)—that it’s music in and of itself. There is no bottom to Maybe’s inventiveness, to her adoption of Nirvana’s Oh well whatever never mind as an artistic tool, to a confidence that allows her to toss off a bedrock statement on the American character (“There are people / who know the cuckoo is the state bird / of most states of mind”) in a throwaway voice so that its humor hits you not as a joke but as an echo. There is nothing like this album except for the real life it maps.”
Author of eight books of poetry but even better known for her engagaging personality and performances, Ellyn was convinced by fans from the music world to adapt her spoken-word prowress to a musical format. Their delight at the results can be seen from a few typical reactions:
- Jackson Browne – “I have started to write something about you…several times, and each time I am struck by my inability to describe what you do in terms beautiful enough, original enough to do you justice. … Who has ever been able to say in other words what a song says? Maybe it’s why I like your poems so much; they say what can only be said in exactly the way you say it. The best way of turning someone on to you is to play you for them.”
- Henry Rollins – “Ellyn Maybe is an irresistible force. To…listen to her poetry is to be gently and completely crushed while simultaneously inspired and charmed. The honesty with which she so exquisitely reveals her vulnerabilities, desires and pain is beautiful and rare. … Reading Ellyn’s poems from the page is one thing but hearing…them just the way she meant them to be heard is something else altogether. … The musical accompaniment on the album is not mere background filler but a true collaborative effort between Ellyn and the musicians that really works.