Folk singer-songwriter Ellen Froese’s comforting and husky warble gets crowds a lil’ groovy and commands presence on Canadian and international stages. When she sings that she “feels like I’m waiting for you to let loose,” a line from the first track on her 2019 album Fightin’ Words, listeners wonder how they could’ve ever kept her waiting.
Clever and slightly self-deprecating, Ellen’s songs get into the places of your heart that hold both those quieter melancholic feelings and those moments of warm contentment that make you want to dance shoulder to shoulder with whoever is around.
Growing up on a dairy farm in the heart of Saskatchewan, Ellen’s passion for music started at an early age, beginning with a love of listening to the classics in her dad’s truck. But it was discovering Neil Young that drove her to a love of songwriting. Hearing his music made her quit piano lessons to instead teach herself guitar.
The beginning of her career was heavily influenced by classic folk and bluegrass. In 2012, she and two friends formed In With The Old, which Ellen lovingly calls her “teenage bluegrass band,” which produced two albums and toured extensively. In 2016, In With The Old played the legendary MerleFest in North Carolina.
Since her days with In With The Old, Ellen has performed in various forms, from solo singer-songwriter, to member of a duo, to being in a full band. Her influences have expanded from traditional bluegrass music to include musicians such as Tia Blake, Gordon Lightfoot, and Buffy Sainte-Marie. Now with three solo albums and one forthcoming, Ellen’s sound has evolved (though she’s never stopped being obsessed with folk music). Her music now adds elements of rock n’ roll, classic country ballads, honky-tonk, and 1970s psychedelic pop grooves while still being grounded in the bluegrass tradition of a working-class relatability.
Despite a love of touring and van life, Saskatchewan is still home to Ellen. She can often be found at one of her favourite venues in Saskatoon, the Broadway Theatre, slinging beers for other artists’ shows. Or sometimes, she moves a little further down the street to play a honky-tonk night, featuring everyone’s favourite country covers, at Amigos Cantina. With a charismatic and charming stage presence, she is quick to bring up others onstage.
In winter 2021, Ellen released ‘In The Sun,’ the first of two singles featuring collaborations with Chris Mason of The Deep Dark Woods and Clayton Linthicum of Kacy and Clayton. “‘In The Sun’ is about conflict and feeling helpless, unable to get your point across. It's about the feeling of not being heard, and just wanting to escape the cycle of thought - planning your next move, and thinking and thinking about what you could say to make them hear and understand you.” says Froese.
The second single, also featuring Chris and Clayton, ‘Did You Have a Love Before,’ is only getting fans more and more excited for what’s coming next; Her fourth solo album, to be released in the fall of 2022, will be produced by Sam Corbett of The Sheepdogs and finds her stepping out of her comfort zone even more.