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Tuesday March 28th

Ellis Dyson & The Shambles releases second full-length album

Ellis Dyson & The Shambles' second full-length album, "The Henhouse," is out now. Photo courtesy of Kendall Bailey Photography.
Buy Photos Ellis Dyson & The Shambles' second full-length album, "The Henhouse," is out now. Photo courtesy of Kendall Bailey Photography.

They spent two years writing, rewriting, collaborating, practicing and perfecting, and on Aug. 4, Ellis Dyson & the Shambles released their second full-length album, “Henhouse.”

The album features 10 tracks, including the album's namesake "Circlin' the Henhouse." 

“For two years we were writing songs, practicing them, playing them live, tweaking them almost daily,” front man Ellis Dyson said. “So what you hear on the album is the product of that process.”

The band celebrated the release of their album on Sept. 2 at the album release party at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro. There was no shortage of excitement with five bands and a circus group from Raleigh all performing. Dyson said that the band hired Raleigh-based circus troupe, Imagine Circus, along with Durham-based brass band called the Bulltown Strutters for the performance.

“The vibe of the audience at the ‘Henhouse’ show was so great,” said fan Laura Mindlin. “You could feel the excitement. People were all just running to the merchandise table to get the album. It was just super fun.”

Dyson, a 2016 UNC graduate, said that Ellis Dyson and the Shambles formed in 2013 when he showed up to a jazz combo in which saxophonist and 2015 UNC graduate Danny Abrams played. 

“I had a banjo and I had written a couple of songs,” said Dyson. “Instead of doing the classic thing where you look for a bass, a guitar and a rhythm section, I just knew I needed some horns.”

Dyson said that soon after he and Abrams formed their duo, others became interested in joining their group, eventually forming the six-member ensemble that exists today.

“We started this thing five years ago, and it’s slow and steady but we’ve seen incremental growth,” said Abrams. “We’ve been playing bigger places, we’ve been going to new towns and states. That’s really the long range story mode of growing it and going further and further.”

Abrams said that the band has played in venues in Asheville, Alabama, Philadelphia and New York City, to name a few. 

Playing in a band in which college students come and go can be difficult, Dyson said. The band is currently undergoing a transition period as they say goodbye to members who have graduated and moved away, welcoming and integrating the new ones at the same time. All the while, the band is busy touring and performing various venues frequently.

“We’re learning as we go,” said Dyson. “We’re just doing whatever we have to do to keep the ship rolling and keeping those committed who can and want to be.”

“Henhouse” is available on iTunes and various streaming platforms.


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