Song Premiere: Charles Ellsworth, “Laundromat”

Brooklyn transplant (by way of the White Mountains of Arizona) Charles Ellsworth will be releasing his latest studio album Honeysuckle Summer on March 5, 2021 via Burro Borracho Records.

Just as the pandemic was taking seed around the country earlier this year, the singer-songwriter managed to recruit several musicians from the Brooklyn music scene – including Jared Schapker (Grandpa Jack) and Blake Suben (Dirty Bird) — to help him record this album with producer Joe Reinhart (Hop Along, Algernon Cadwallader) at his Headroom Studio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Honeysuckle Summer is Ellsworth’s demonstration of coming full circle — telling his “whole story so far.” In working to overcome his own traumas, through self-exploration and new-found sobriety, he became acutely aware of how all of the minutia one experiences throughout life add up to an eventual person and how we have a choice on what to do with them. If not addressed, they can create problematic patterns that carry through life or we can embrace the good and do the work to overcome the bad.

Honeysuckle Summer also finds Ellsworth finally embraced his Americana roots and settled comfortably into a new alt-country sound in the vein of Jason Isbell and Sturgill Simpson — which is where the music on this album falls. 

Today, Ghettoblaster has the pleasure of premiering “Laundromat.” Of the song, Ellsworth says, “I don’t believe I’ve ever spent nearly as much time on a song as I spent writing ‘Laundromat.’ It’s a simple enough song, but the subject-matter was pretty traumatic and was what led to the mental breakdown that ultimately led to the writing of this record.

“In 2018 I booked my most ambitious tour ever which consisted of a few weeks in Australia sandwiched between two trans-continental tours of the U.S. Three and a half months on the road playing music mostly by myself. What started as an unbelievably exciting adventure took a turn for the worse when the fast living and carefree life of the highway caught up with me. A budding and intense love affair that had started in the weeks prior to me leaving started to turn south towards the end of the trip and miscommunication, gaslighting, and the attempted suicide of a loved one sent me spiraling.

“My drinking habits got out of control, hyper vigilance turned to paranoia, the relationship would get worse, my drinking would cause a fight, rinse repeat. On the long drive from Seattle, Washington, to Missoula, Montana the day after a drunken blowout with her I came very close to driving my car off of a mountain pass multiple times. Nearly 10 years after my first time going on tour as a teenager it felt like music and the road, the two things I had dedicated my life to up until that point, had betrayed me and left me broke and completely alone thousands of miles from home.

“Up until that point in my life I had always dealt with suicidal ideations, but that day was the closest I think I’ve ever come to actually acting on them. After a handful of tempting hairpin turns through the Cascades I pulled over a took a moment to steady my shaking hand. I knew I was at an impasse. Something had to give.

“‘Laundromat’ is about the journey to and back from rock bottom. How unresolved trauma can have you looking for something, anything, to steady what seems like a constant downward spiral. Sometimes it’s booze. Sometimes it’s a person. Sometimes it’s a life on the road running from any sort of vulnerability to actual connection. It’s about breaking from these toxic cycles by recognizing one’s self as a piece of the infinite, and learning to love it all, unconditionally.”

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Photo by J. Allan Kelley