Then again, Ellen knows something about entertaining an audience, given that she's been performing since childhood. With an enviable pedigree as a singer/songwriter -- one that includes several dozen prestigious awards, accorded her by the John Lennon Songwriting Competition, the New Zealand Peace Song Competition, and others. She's also attracted notice from several high profile performers like Michael Bolton, Peter Yarrow, and Tom Paxton.
Her debut album, Daddy's Little Girl, helped establish her penchant for speaking out on issues from both a political and personal point of view. In addition, her song "By My Silence," co-written with her friend Nick Annis and borne from the perspective of someone who was a silent witness to the Holocaust, received top honors in the 2008 Public Domain Foundation Music to Life competition. The prize was decided on by a prestigious group of judges, a panel made up of top folk performers that included Peter Paul and Mary, Judy Collins, Tom Paxton and others of their ilk.
Ellen's newest single, "Who's the Pusher Now," written with Nick Annis and her son Brett Segal, also makes a significant statement. The song offers a harsh indictment of the time and effort the government spends in fighting its futile drug wars and advocates for the long overdue legalization of marijuana. ("Let the government take a bow... Let the government take a bow/Who's the pusher now!")
These days, Ellen seems pleased that she's able to further her music career in tandem with what she does with the Shack in the Back. "It's truly a happening every time," she says. "The atmosphere and community are very warm and friendly. People are often so amazed to have discovered this tiny oasis of musical pleasure."