Ellis grew up in a potato farming family in Maine, earned a track scholarship to Boston College and got his musical start at Boston's open-mic scene while studying to be a social worker. He emerged out of the Boston music scene during a time when contemporary folk was beginning to come into the mainstream. It was a time and a place that nurtured some of the country's top singer/songwriters like, Martin Sexton, Patty Griffin and Dar Williams. Ellis was one of its more memorable exponents who earned his place on the national map with 20+ years of playing 150 to 200 shows annually. He has 19 releases, a documentary film, a book of poems/short stories, and a children's book project to his credit.
Ellis' songs have been featured on Hollywood soundtracks in films such as: Me, Myself & Irene, Shallow Hal and Hall Pass, as well as TV shows and documentary films. He has performed on stages at the Newport Folk Festival, Carnegie Hall, and clubs, coffeehouses all over the world. This year, Ellis fan funded his 19th release "Chasing Beauty", produced by Sugarland's Kristian Bush. He was awarded a Honorary Degree from the University of Maine and inducted into the Maine Music Hall of Fame.