By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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That's all he wants to do.
Born and raised in Port Townsend, Ellard has had a musical breakthrough.
His original “Goodbye Song” is among the tunes chosen for the forthcoming movie “Dead in 5 Heartbeats,” inspired by Hell's Angel Sonny Barger's 2004 novel of the same name.
The film, starring Jeff Black, David Della Rocco and Robert Chico Mora, is slated for an April 5 release “in select theaters,” said co-producer Christie Santo.
She has gathered about 30 songs for its soundtrack, many of which were found on Facebook.
Santo put the word out about “Heartbeats” on the social media site, and in came the music.
“We had 200 songs donated,” the Phoenix-based filmmaker said this week.
That's right: donated. Ellard isn't being paid for his “Goodbye Song.”
In an interview before his show at the Highway Twenty Road House last Friday, the singer-songwriter said he eventually might receive royalties from a “Dead in 5 Heartbeats” soundtrack CD — if his song is one of the tracks on it.
Santo said she and her husband, Jeff Santo, director of the film, haven't yet chosen the CD's lineup.
“The Goodbye Song,” in any event, is a song with “very emotional, very heartfelt lyrics,” Christie Santo said.
“It's a very well-written song.”
In it, Ellard expresses his love for his stepgrandmother, Nell Bromley, who died at age 97 in 2005.
Ellard and his wife, Valerie Ellard, cared for her in their home for the last nine years of her life.
In “The Goodbye Song,” Ellard sings of the closeness that developed and about life without her.
At the venues where Ellard plays, however, “Goodbye” isn't known as a tribute to Bromley.
The first time he played the song in public, it was after his brother, Jeff Ellard, died suddenly in 2009.
“It's a sad song; it's about loss,” said the singer.
As he sang the song at the roadhouse, his wife was close by, as she often is during Ellard's shows.
She's his fan, his manager and his muse, sharing the singer's desire to make music their livelihood.
Ellard has been playing festivals, grange halls, roadhouses and coffee houses for a lot of years. With his passion for music, though, he sounds like a young man just starting out.
Years ago, Ellard toured Europe and opened for Hank Williams III and David Allan Coe.
But he got fed up with being away from home and, especially, away from his wife.
These days, he plays “mostly locally. It was kind of like starting over,” he said.
Ellard dishes up a blend of original songs and covers like “Ring of Fire,” “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Living on Love.”
His “Miss You” is an original, dedicated to Valerie.
“We've been together 28 years” and married 18 of those, Valerie said. “We're good friends.”
Ellard, for now, wants to be here, working in his home studio, making music for the people of the Olympic Peninsula.
Having his song in the movie “is nothing to brag about,” he said.
“But I'm excited. Maybe it will give me a shot in the arm,” Ellard added, “so I can play more music.”
Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.