We sit in a little park named Acorn, situated at a triangular intersection between two blocks in Isla Vista, California. It is spring. It's also Floatopia, a recently annualized Isla Vista celebration of beach, beer pong, coeducation, makeshift rafts, hedonism, rebirth. We're racing the setting sun to record Ellie Fortune, the project moniker for Sacramento-based musician Jesse K. Phillips. Kids are swaying home. Some straggle, inner tubes and inflatable kiddie pools in tow.
A week earlier. I sit alone in a dark bedroom in Santa Cruz, CA, browsing myspace band pages and looking for...something. I want to see who's playing Biko. The Biko Garage, where Jesse K. Phillips plays the night we record him, is one of several eclectic Isla Vista venues involved in the Santa Barbara Do It Yourself (SBDIY) network. I stumble across Ellie Fortune. He is my mood, this bedroom, this strange place I am in.
Despite an education that forced me, for years, to describe music, I'm the first to admit I have little talent in this endeavor:
It's melismatic. This means there are often many notes to a single syllable. It's faint. Lucid. Trembling. Dreamy. Delicate. Mysterious. Vibrative. Penetrating.
And f a r a w a y.
A bit tender. Lofty. Lilting. Crisp. Gravelly. Soft. Warbling. Windy. Hummmmmm. Woah woah woah woah woah.
Ellie Fortune's One Night Music session is a wonder self-contained (from first contact to recording) in twenty-four hours. We catch him passing through town in the company of friends and together we bask in the orange glow of a fleeting sunset in a dingy little ocean town surrounded by revelers returning from beach-going, sunburnt and faded. A few of these soused coeds crash Jesse's seventh song "Wounds".
When we meet Jesse he gives us his self-released CD Trial Being. It's a handmade article of beauty and thought. Since recording with One Night Music, Jesse-as Ellie Fortune-has released Acre, a 9-song cassette on Nigh Records. There's also a new soon-to-be-released CD. He lives in Sacramento and plays out as Ellie Fortune and as part of a trio called Dead Western.
Recorded in Acorn Park, Isla Vista, CA on April 04, 2009.