Artists and Bands

Spotlight: Ellery

Cincinnati-based husband and wife duo of Justin and Tasha Golden have been together for more than half a decade as a duo. Originally called Dividing The Plunder, the two musicians, Tasha on vocals and piano and Justin on guitar, started getting a following. Having met in college, the pair started making music on the side as they completed their studies. Soon, they married. After graduation, Tasha and Justin made the decision to make music their livelihood. A little while later, the two decided to change their name from Dividing The Plunder to Ellery, a name they found in a book.

As the driving force behind Ellery, Tasha writes the lyrics and piano parts for the piano-driven songs. Justin then helps her write the music. The songs for their Lying Awake release sound like a cross between Sarah McLachlin and Five For Fighting with a little Sixpence None The Richer thrown in for good measure. In fact, Ellery’s “Song For Lovers” sounds like Sarah could have recorded it at the same time that she recorded “Adia” for her Surfacing album.

Lying Awake, the first album Justin and Tasha released under the moniker of “Ellery”, was released on Virt Records back on April 4th, 2006. The album is a solid release that helped expose the world to the music of this talented duo. Contained within the release are such great songs as “Anna,” “Know Better Now,” “Arizona,” and the aforementioned “Song For Lovers”.

Since the time of the release of that album, the husband and wife duo have released several other releases, including a live release called What I’ve Said Out Loud. They are currently promoting their newest release called This Isn’t Over Yet.

Having already known Ellery and their music, I have always wanted to add more of their music to my collection. So when Tasha And Justin released 2010’s This Isn’t Over Yet, it was the perfect chance to hear what the duo had been up to. Needless-to-say, I am not disappointed with the new release.

With This Isn’t Over Yet, Tasha seems to have been thinking about relationships while she was writing the songs for the new release. The album begins with the “title track” of “Where It’s Going”; the title of the album comes from lyrics that appear in the song. The lyrics of the song suggest that the relationship being described may be rocky but there is still hope. The pop-like music that makes up the track adds a slight upbeat feel to the song to balance out the slightly unsure feel of the lyrics.

The album’s second track is “Happy”. The song is an answer to a relationship, but not in the way that you might think: The singer proudly proclaims that she will be “happy without you around”. While the lyrics may seem to have a bit of an edge to them, the music has a bit of a bouncy to it. In fact, the music is much lighter when compared to the weighty lyrics. But that light, bouncy feel to the music still helps to create one of the songs that stands out on the release.

The next several tracks seem to answer “Happy”. “Oh No” finds the singer reflecting on a relationship and wondering if it would be possible to save a relationship that seems to be going in the wrong direction, “What I Need” has her trying to find out what would make her happy right now, and “Pieces” finds the singer just trying to survive.

While “Pieces” still has the same sentimental feeling as the other songs mentioned Tasha and Justin have elevated the energy level in the song. The stronger feel to the music comes from the fact that Tasha Golden’s piano is nicely matched up with Justin Golden’s guitar. And the stronger feel of the guitar helps to add a lot of body and energy to the track. The stronger approach on the track makes it feel just right to be promoted as a single.

The next track on the album that deserves to be heard is “Christopher”. “Christopher” is a song about a man who tried to live his life to the best of his abilities, trying to be the best man he could be. For much of the track, Tasha and Justin Golden play the same basic notes in unison. That unison creates a strong musical delivery. However, it also gives the track a slightly airy feel to it as the guitar and piano play the same notes on the same beats. So when the piano takes a beat rest, so does the guitar. The result is a song with a rather simplistic feel for much of the track. When the refrain comes along, however, the couple creates strong musical passages with plenty of pop influence to create a track that would fit right in on any Top 40 and/or Adult Contemporary radio format. 

Ellery has had their share of well-deserved exposure, as they have been nominated for several awards, including Artist of the Year, Release of the Year and other awards in the Cincinnati area. They were also featured in Paste Magazine. PBS even took notice, as Tasha and Justin were videotaped for a show that was broadcast on the network.

While Ellery may not be one of the hardest rocking rock bands out there today, the songwriting by Tasha Golden may just be some of the best in the country. The eleven songs that make up Ellery’s2010 release This Isn’t Over Yet combine to make one solid release. If you like songs that are well-composed and well-played that would fit right in with other Pop-rock songs, This Isn’t Over Yet  from Ellery is one release you need to check out.