Folk fans are rejoicing: Singer/songwriter Ellis Paul recently released his 20th album, "The Storyteller’s Suitcase," which is the first he produced himself.
The album contains 13 tracks, 11 of which were written by Paul himself.
However, one of the tunes, entitled “How You Say Goodbye,” was written by Warwick singer/songwriter Kyle Hancharick.
“How You Say Goodbye” is a love song that uses baseball metaphors. Both Hancharick and Paul are avid baseball fans.
And the song has found its way to Paul’s fans: For the month of June, “How You Say Goodbye” landed in the 18th spot on the national Folk DJ charts.
“It’s very exciting,” said Hancharick, 28, who has been writing music since he was 15 years old and playing since he was a toddler. “The Storyteller’s Suitcase is an incredible album. I think it is Ellis’s best. It’s very personal, a great mix of songs. And I am thrilled he chose to record 'How You Say Goodbye.'"
Hancharick wrote “How You Say Goodbye” in 2017, just before attending the second annual New England Songwriter’s Retreat in Connecticut, which is hosted by Paul.
Hancharick was playing the song at the retreat in a song circle, where attendees take turns playing and singing their original songs, when he saw in the mirror in front of him Paul running into the room to hear the song.
“I was pretty excited that he wanted to hear the new tune,” said Hancharick. “Then he commented that he was going to cover it on his next album. And he did!”
That was a thrill to Hancharick because Paul has been a major influence on his music, long before they met. Along with Bob Dylan, David Wilcox, Richard Shindell and Bruce Springsteen, Ellis Paul has been perhaps the most influential on him.
Paul has invited Hancharick to open shows for him and has invited him on stage to perform “How You Say Goodbye” at several others. It’s really a dream come true for the local singer-songwriter, who considers Paul his friend and mentor.
“Ellis Paul is one of the very best singer-songwriters around. And he’s been one of the best for a long time,” said Hancharick. “For him to record one of my songs is just an incredible honor for me.”
Hancharick played the guitar for the song on Paul’s album.
Paul has had some high praise for Hancharick too.
“Kyle’s been to two of my songwriting retreats and I’m totally in love with the way he writes songs, the passion in his songs,” said Paul. “And I think he’s going places.”
In an interview with WTJU in Charlottesville, Virginia, as DJ Peter Jones played "The Storyteller’s Suitcase" and spoke to Paul, he said about Hancharick: “He’s a good lyricist, a really great hook writer and knows how to put together a chorus...Keep an eye out for him and listen to his music. It’s pretty amazing.”
Hancharick performs at many local venues with his singing partner, Roni Caggiano of Ringwood. The two perform cover shows at wineries, breweries and restaurants.
Hancharick also performs solo shows of his original music. In addition to opening for Paul, he has also opened for Lucy Kaplansky and has been the special guest of Red Molly. He co-billed at Six on the Square in Oxford and at the Hard Luck Café series in Huntington. He performed on the Emerging Artists Showcase at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in 2018 and at Coyote Ridge House Concerts in West Milford. Hancharick is part of a group of local musicians coming together in tribute to Woodstock. They will perform at The Falcon in Marlboro on Friday, Aug. 16 and on the Railroad Green on Saturday, Aug. 17.
Hancharick has recorded two CDs, one full length CD titled “Before and After,” and “Breathe,” an EP with his version of “How You Say Goodbye.” They are available at his live shows and his website, kylehancharick.com, as well as any streaming platform and online store.
“I’ve been listening to Ellis Paul’s music since 2002,” said Hancharick. “He writes incredible songs. It is a real honor to have him record one of mine.”