In a city becoming increasingly known for its strong folk scene, the Philadelphia trio ellipsis has made a habit of turning heads and creating new fans at every show they perform.
It's no wonder once you hear their sound: richly textured guitars, elegant violin riffs, sparkling mandolin solos, all led by a rich, soulful alto lead vocalist. With intricate arrangements and added harmonies, it can be hard to believe there are only three members in the group.
Together since 1998, Vale Jokisch (lead vocals and acoustic guitar), Matt Murphy (acoustic guitar and vocals) and Joel Price (mandolin, violin and vocals) were best friends long before becoming bandmates. Their near-sibling relationship quickly becomes clear to each audience, as the trio members good-naturedly trade verbal barbs that would convince any member of Oasis to leave the stage mid-concert.
ellipsis's music, most often described as folk pop, mixes traditional folk from an era when bell bottoms were first considered fashionable with elements from today's pop, rock and soul styles. The trio draws influences from artists such as Nickel Creek, Jack Johnson, Guster, Dave Matthews, Damien Rice and Ben Folds.
In past shows, ellipsis has played to sellout crowds at well-known acoustic venues such as The Point in Bryn Mawr, PA, and the Tin Angel in Philadelphia. They have shared the stage with nationally-touring artists such as Dar Williams and Eric Hutchinson, as well as popular local Philadelphia musicians Melody Gardot, Kate Gaffney and John Francis.
The band's latest album, "take what you will," was recorded at Indre Studios in South Philadelphia with notable jazz bassist Steve Beskrone (a member of the Philadelphia 76ers House Band who has toured with Ray Charles, Uri Caine and Pat Martino). The album has received airplay on stations in several different states, including Whole Wheat Radio in Talkeetna, AK, Wisconsin Public Radio in Madison, WI, and WDIY FM in Bethlehem, PA, where the band has made live appearances.
In March 2005, ellipsis was chosen as the featured artist on "One to Watch," a monthly segment on the nationally-syndicated radio show Acoustic Cafe with Rob Reinhart. The segment, broadcast on over 80 stations throughout the U.S. and abroad, highlights "the best of today's up and coming artists" that it feels are moving out of the regional scene and onto the national stage (http://www.songwriting.net/onetowatch.html).
The band also currently participates in WXPN Musicians on Call, a nonprofit program that brings live music to the bedsides of patients at Philadelphia hospitals.
ellipsis was formed in 1998 while all three members were attending Swarthmore College. In 2003, the band began exploring the Philadelphia folk scene and touring to venues, coffeehouses, colleges and radio stations throughout the south, northeast and midwest. By 2015, they hope to grace the cover of Rolling Stone magazine...or at least to still be talking to each other.