Blues The best music site on the web there is where you can read about and listen to blues, jazz, classical music and much more. This is your ultimate music resource. Tons of albums can be found within. Wed, 05 Oct 2022 20:50:57 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Tinsley Ellis – Winning Hand (2018) Tinsley Ellis – Winning Hand (2018)

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1 Sound Of A Broken Man 4:51
2 Nothing But Fine 3:51
3 Gamblin’ Man 5:58
4 I Got Mine 4:13
5 Kiss This World 3:55
6 Autumn Run 6:11
7 Satisfied 2:48
8 Don’t Turn Off The Light 4:40
9 Dixie Lullaby 3:14
10 Saving Grace 8:49


Veteran bluesman, Tinsley Ellis, makes his return to Alligator Records with the upcoming release of Winning Hand, co-produced by Ellis and keyboardist Kevin McKendree, to be released Friday, January 12th. If you love blues-rock, then you likely know about Tinsley Ellis. He is as consistent as they come—his albums are always good, if not great, and this one is no exception. He marks his 30th year in 2018 recording and playing under his own name, and he will celebrate not only with the release of Winning Hand, but embarking on a cross-country tour that will extend into April. If you haven’t seen him live, you owe it to yourself to do so.

The album opens up with a bang with “Sound of a Broken Man,” with a wailing guitar and strong backing from McKendree, Steve Mackey on bass, and Lynn Williams on drums. A surprise key change near the end of the song kicks it into high gear, and Ellis finishes with a flourish, a guitar solo emphasizing the wah-wah. Ellis is renowned for his use of the wah-wah, and he uses it to great effect in this song. “Nothing but Fine” keeps the energy going, with a rock shuffle and some soulful singing by Ellis.

“The Gambling Man” slows things down to a traditional Chicago-style blues song, with a soaring guitar solo near the close of the song. It’s also the source of the album title with this lyric: “If I was a gambling man, I’d bet on you to come back someday; I won’t show my winning hand until that joker goes away.”

“I Got Mine” is a funky soul-blues number, with a more languid solo from Ellis that resembles, to my ears, some of Clapton’s work post-Cream.

“Kiss This World” is a harder-edged blues-rock number, with the bass and guitar playing in unison to anchor the bottom. Ellis plays three guitars on this track, displaying a range of lightening fast solos with a light touch versus a heavier and harder-edged rock tone. And in case you’re interested, Ellis documents which guitar(s) he plays on every track of this album. “Autumn” is a softer, moodier song than the other songs on the album, with an evocative guitar solo at the end of the song.

“Satisfied” is a rollicking boogie-rock tune with some great piano playing by McKendree, reminiscent of the playing of the great Johnnie Johnson on classic Chuck Berry songs. More fine piano playing is featured in the only cover song on the album, Leon Russell’s “Dixie Lullaby,” a nod not only to Ellis’ respect for the late great singer, songwriter, and keyboard player, but also Russell’s production of Freddie King’s albums. Ellis and McKendree recreate the trading off of the fiery guitar and piano solos that are a hallmark of the original. “Saving Grace” closes the album and is the longest track, but like the rest of the record, not a second is wasted, and ends the album with some glorious guitar feedback that fades from the record but sticks in your memory.

“Winning Hand” satisfies Ellis’ previously stated goal of releasing five albums in five years, and the 19th overall. Four of these five records were issued on Ellis’ own label, Heartfixer, named after one of Ellis’ first bands. It also marks Ellis’ return to Alligator Records, not for the second but for the third time, and Winning Hand is a clear celebration of that return. ---Kevin Porter,

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]]> (bluesever) Tinsley Ellis Thu, 25 Jan 2018 10:09:06 +0000
Tinsley Ellis - Red Clay Soul (2016) Tinsley Ellis - Red Clay Soul (2016)

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1. All I Think About (4:00)
2. Givin' You Up (5:14)
3. Callin' (3:54)
4. Anything But Go (3:36)
5. Hungry Woman Blues (4:26)
6. Circuit Rider (4:26)
7. Don't Cut It (3:17)
8. Party Of One (4:37)
9. Estero Noche (3:59)
10. The Bottle, The Book Or The Gun (4:48)

Tinsley Ellis – guitar, vocals
Kevin McKendree – keyboards
Steve Mackey – bass
Lynn Williams – drums
Oliver Wood – guitar, vocals


Tinsley Ellis gives us an album filled with tracks that are reminiscent of the characteristic southern soul sound of many southern artists. Digging back to the roots of the soul sound of Ray Charles and Otis Redding and hailing from Georgia, Ellis’ title of his latest release makes perfect sense, Red Clay Soul.

There are plenty of mildly rocking tracks like “All I Think About Is You” and the song written with Oliver Wood of the Wood Brothers, “Givin’ You Up,” which is probably the track that is the most accessible to everyone. There just is not as much of the blues rocker that we are familiar with in his earlier albums like Fire It Up. There is still plenty to enjoy here, though, because Ellis does plenty of wonderfully expressive guitar work on some of the slower more emotionally deep tracks. The atmospheric slow blues of “Hungry Woman Blues” is an excellent example with the lines “you took my car and money too. I’m at the end of my rope … baby you took my rope, too” is just the type of lyrical mastery that his gritty voice is perfect for as he expresses the vulnerability of having his heart broken.

The rock output gets ramped up a little with “Don’t Cut It.” He really does some evocative string stretching as he channels a Latin vibe in the beautiful instrumental of “Estero Noche.” Meanwhile, the standout track of this album though is the closer “The Bottle, The Book, or The Gun.” Filled with some sparse picking in the solo his control of phrasing and melody are superb as he expresses the frustration of an alcoholic hitting bottom after waking up in an unknown place every morning after a bout with the bottle to ward off the loneliness of life on the road.

After 40 years as a musician touring the world, Tinsley pays tribute to the Southern soul sound and digs deep and delivers some superb emotionally cathartic tracks. The raw sound of being recorded live in the studio makes the mastery of Ellis’ guitar work all the more impressive.

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]]> (bluesever) Tinsley Ellis Fri, 17 Jun 2016 13:26:32 +0000
Tinsley Ellis - Trouble Time (1992) Tinsley Ellis - Trouble Time (1992)

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1 - Highwayman
2 - Hey Hey Baby
3 - Sign of the Blues
4 - What Have I Done Wrong?
5 - The Big Chicken
6 - The Axe
7 - Come Morning
8 - My Restless Heart
9 - Bad Dream
10 - The Hulk
11 - Now I'm Gone
12 - Red Dress

Tinsley Ellis (vocals, guitar); 
Peter Buck (guitar); 
Sam Levine (tenor saxophone); 
Mike Haynes, Michael Holton (trumpet); 
Chris McDonald (trombone);
 Mike Boyette (piano, organ); 
Chuck Leavell (piano); 
Oliver Wells (organ, keyboards); 
Ricky Keller, James Ferguson (bass); 
Scott Meeder, David Sims (drums).


Hard-rocking blues-soaked guitarist/vocalist/song-writer Tinsley Ellis sings and plays with the energy and soul of all the great Southern musicians who have come before him. He attacks his music with rock power and blues feeling, following in the tradition of Deep South musical heroes Duane Allman, Freddie King, Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes. Rolling Stone says “Ellis plays feral blues guitar. Non-stop gigging has sharpened his six-string to a razor's edge. His eloquence dazzles…he achieves pyrotechnics that rival Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton.”

His live shows feature extended fretwork filled with melodic and rhythmic experimentation, in the spirit of jam bands like his friends Widespread Panic and The Allman Brothers. Atlanta Magazine declared Ellis “the most significant blues artist to emerge from Atlanta since Blind Willie McTell.” Since first hitting the national scene with his Alligator Records debut, Georgia Blue, in 1988, Ellis has toured non-stop and continued to release one critically acclaimed album after another. His stellar guitar work, always a staple of his live shows and CDs, is matched by his strong songwriting and powerful, soulful vocals. Tinsley's hometown paper, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, calls his music, “a potent, amazing trip through electric blues-rock.”

Ellis made five critically acclaimed albums for Alligator between 1988 and 1997, before recording for the Capricorn and Telarc labels. Now he's back on Alligator with the incendiary, high-energy Live--Highwayman, the long-awaited live album his fans have been demanding for years. The CD is overflowing with over 77 minutes of music, making this the longest single release in Alligator's catalog.

Born in Atlanta in 1957, Ellis grew up in southern Florida and first played guitar at age eight. He found the blues through the backdoor of the British Invasion bands like The Yardbirds, The Animals, Cream, and The Rolling Stones. He especially loved the Kings-Freddie, B.B. and Albert-and spent hours immersing himself in their music. His love for the blues solidified when he was 14. At a B.B. King performance, Tinsley sat mesmerized in the front row. When B.B. broke a string on Lucille, he changed it without missing a beat, and handed the broken string to Ellis. After the show, B.B. came out and talked with fans, further impressing Tinsley with his warmth and down-to-earth attitude. By now Tinsley's fate was sealed; he had to become a blues guitarist. And yes, he still has that string.

Already an accomplished teenaged musician, Ellis left Florida and returned to Atlanta in 1975. He soon joined the Alley Cats, a gritty blues band that included Preston Hubbard (of Fabulous Thunderbirds fame). In 1981, along with veteran blues singer and harpist Chicago Bob Nelson, Tinsley formed The Heartfixers, a group that would become Atlanta's top-drawing blues band. The band built a grassroots following and Tinsley began drawing national attention. The Washington Post declared, “Tinsley Ellis is a legitimate guitar hero.”

After cutting two more Heartfixers albums for Landslide, Cool On It (featuring Tinsley's vocal debut) and Tore Up (with vocals by blues shouter Nappy Brown), Ellis was ready to head out on his own. Ellis sent a copy of the master tape for his solo debut to Bruce Iglauer at Alligator Records. “I had heard Cool On It,” recalls Iglauer, “and I was amazed. I hadn't heard Tinsley before, but he played like the guys with huge international reputations. It wasn't just his raw power; it was his taste and maturity that got to me. It had the power of rock but felt like the blues.” After checking out a fiery live performance in Atlanta, Iglauer signed Ellis to Alligator.

Georgia Blue, Tinsley's Alligator debut, hit an unprepared public by surprise in 1988. Critics and fans quickly agreed that a new and original guitar hero had emerged. “Dazzling musicianship pitched somewhere between the exhilarating volatility of rock and roll and the passion of urban blues,” raved the Los Angeles Times. Before long, Alligator arranged to reissue Cool On It and Tore Up, thus exposing Tinsley's blistering earlier music to a growing fan base. “ The Chicago Tribune celebrated the release by saying, ‘Ellis takes classic, Southern blues-rock workouts and jolts them to new life with a torrid axe barrage.’“

Tinsley followed Georgia Blue with 1989's Fanning The Flames, 1992's Trouble Time, 1994's Storm Warning and 1997's Fire It Up, showcasing his songwriting skills as well as his incendiary guitar playing. He built a rabid national fan base and won rave reviews. Guitar World shouted, “Ellis stands alongside Stevie Ray Vaughan and Johnny Winter, and that ain't just hype.” “Alive, kicking and drenched in sweat,” declared The Washington Post.

Features and reviews on Tinsley have run in Rolling Stone, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Associated Press wire service and in many other national and regional publications. His largest audience by far came when NBC Sports ran a feature on Atlanta's best blues guitarist during their 1996 Summer Olympic Coverage viewed by millions of people all over the world.

A move to Capricorn Records in 2000 saw Ellis revisiting his Southern roots with Kingpin. Unfortunately, the label folded soon after the CD's release. In 2002, he joined the Telarc label, producing two well-received albums of soul-drenched blues-rock, Hell Or High Water and The Hard Way. But now, with Live--Highwayman, Tinsley is back home with Alligator Records. He's back on the road with renewed energy, delivering, as the Chicago Tribune says, “incendiary live performances, inspired, original and funky.”

Tinsley Ellis has played in all 50 states, as well as Canada, Europe, Australia and South America. “A musician never got famous staying home,” he's quick to note. Whether he's out with his own band or sharing stages with The Allman Brothers, Robert Cray, Koko Taylor or Widespread Panic, he averages over 150 fast-moving, high-energy, guitar-drenched performances a year, igniting legions of fans all over the world. ---

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]]> (bluesever) Tinsley Ellis Fri, 01 Apr 2016 16:46:43 +0000
Tinsley Ellis - Tough Love (2015) Tinsley Ellis - Tough Love (2015)

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01. Seven Years (4:17)
02. Midnight Ride (4:39)
03. Give It Away (4:16)
04. Hard Work (3:06)
05. All In The Name Of Love (5:05)
06. Should I Have Lied (4:02)
07. Leave Me (5:02)
08. The King Must Die (5:10)
09. Everything (4:00)
10. In From The Cold (6:07)

Tinsley Ellis – guitar, vocals
Kevin McKendree – keyboards
Steve Mackey – bass
Lynn Williams – drums


“This album just flowed out of us in the studio, and that’s a good thing for a blues album to do,” says Ellis about the recording sessions. “Making a record is all about capturing a vibe in the studio and the vibe was great during these sessions. Each song had a different groove. We used an arsenal of vintage guitars, amps, drums and keyboards to make the songs sound more quirky. You can’t go wrong making an album for the fans, and that’s what we tried to do with Tough Love.”

The new album demonstrates Tinsley’s most-creative and versatile effort yet in a lengthy career of highly-acclaimed albums, revered as much by fans and concertgoers as critics and radio station programmers. The catchy lead-off track, “Seven Years,” sets the tone for a great musical journey, followed by the rollicking shuffle groove of “Midnight Ride,” which Tinsley describes as “a guitar conversation between Freddie King and Albert Collins” (with Ellis playing both parts). “Give It Away” features Ellis in a more acoustic setting, complete with Dobro and vocals that recall Eric Clapton’s 461 Ocean Boulevard in timbre. The Dylan-esque “Hard Work” also tips a guitar pick to JJ Cale, while “All in the Name of Love” sounds as if it could have been recorded in a 1970s Hi Records session in Memphis, with Kevin McKendree channeling Charles Hodges’ organ grooves and Jim Hoke/Steve Herrman guesting on soulful horns. “Should I Have Lied,” another song with guitar influences from one of Tinsley’s main mentors, Freddie King, is a plaintive soul-drenched ballad; and the Jimmy Reed-influenced “Everything,” complete with Ellis’ recording debut on harmonica, are just a few of the other standout tracks in an album full of highlights.

Since emerging as the driving guitar force in the seminal Atlanta blues group The Heartfixers in 1982, Tinsley Ellis has played in all 50 states, as well as Canada, Europe, Australia and South America. He has shared stages with almost every major blues star, including Stevie Ray Vaughan, Otis Rush, Willie Dixon, Son Seals, Koko Taylor, Albert Collins and many others. Whether he’s out with his own band or sitting in with major artists like Derek Trucks, Buddy Guy, The Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule or Widespread Panic, he always digs deep and plays, as Guitar Player magazine said, “…as if his life depended on it.” With Tough Love and ongoing non-stop touring, Ellis will bring his monumental guitar work and intensely powerful vocals to rock and blues fans all over the world, letting his songs and his guitar do the talking. ---


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]]> (bluesever) Tinsley Ellis Tue, 17 Feb 2015 16:59:15 +0000
Tinsley Ellis – Get It! (2013) Tinsley Ellis – Get It! (2013)

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1. Front Street Freeze
2. Sassy Strat
3. The Milky Way
4. Detour
5. Anthem For A Fallen Hero
6. Get It!
7. Fuzzbuster
8. Freddy's Midnight Dream
9. Berry Tossin'
10. Catalunya

Tinsley Ellis (guitars)
Kevin McKendree (piano, Clavinet, organ, Mellotron)
Lynn Williams (drums, percussion)


Get It! is a throwback collection of instrumental tracks where Tinsley Ellis plays tribute to some of the great guitar players who came before him. Putting the microphone away allows Tinsley’s guitar to take center stage and carry these tunes. His prodigious talent allows him to span the gamut from blues shuffles ala Stevie Ray and Albert Collins to Dick Dale surf guitar and Santana’s smooth Latin style.

It’s really easy to figure out who is getting paid tribute to in almost every song. So while the guitar playing on this album is stellar, since the songs are almost all tributes to a certain artist they at times end up being sort of predictable. For instance, Tinsley attacks his strat on the first track ”Front Street Freeze,” which is an obvious tribute to the Iceman himself – Albert Collins. “Freddy’s Midnight Dream” is a Freddie King cover and “Berry Tossin” is another shuffle replete with Chuck Berry licks. The title track “Get It!” has a clear SRV vibe. Add to that a Dick Dale surf style cover of Bo Diddley’s “Detour” and you’ve hit the blues tributes.

The rockers get their due also. “Fuzzbuster” is stuffed with a distorted wah-wah pedal and is noticeably Jeff Beck influenced. Meanwhile you can plainly hear Santana on the Latin sounding “Catalunya” and Tinsley fires up the Les Paul and an echoplex for “Anthem For a Fallen Hero,” which has Roy Buchanan written all over it.

While Get It! is a showcase of Tinsley’s talents including the five tracks where he also plays the bass, let us not forget the rest of the band, including the stupendous Kevin McKendree on keys, Lynn Williams on percussion, and Ted Pecchio playing bass on the remaining tracks. Kevin’s keyboard playing is phenomenal on this album, especially when he gets the Leslie cabinet spinning. While not the most original album, since it’s filled with obvious tributes, the album is an interesting collection of instrumental tracks that do justice to the intended recipients. --- Kevin O’Rourke,

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]]> (bluesever) Tinsley Ellis Wed, 12 Feb 2014 16:57:02 +0000
Tinsley Ellis – Midnight Blue (2014) Tinsley Ellis – Midnight Blue (2014)

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01 – If The River Keeps Rising
02 – Mouth Turn Dry
03 – Surrender
04 – It’s Not Funny
05 – See No Harm
06 – The Only Thing
07 – Peace And Love
08 – Harder To Find
09 – That’s My Story
10 – Kiss Of Death

Tinsley Ellis (vocals, guitar)
Kevin McKendree (piano, organ)
Ted Pecchio (acoustic bass, electric bass)
Lynn Williams (drums, percussion)


What do Blind Willie McTell, Big Maceo Merriweather, Sean Costello, and Tinsley Ellis have in common? They’re fantastic guitarists, prolific songwriters, and all from Atlanta! Three of the artists have passed away, but Ellis is still going strong after more than twenty years and ten albums. On his latest one, released this year, the shade of his music is “Midnight Blue.” It’s definitely more on the “rock” side of blues rock, with a few mellow ballads thrown in, but nevertheless engaging. Performing with him are Kevin McKendree on organs and pianos, Lynn Williams on drums and percussion, and Ted Pecchio on electric and acoustic bass. Due to his reputation, Ellis faces a wonderful dilemma: How will he top previous CDs? To be sure, his raucous energy packs as much of a punch as ever. It makes these three original songs big winners:

Track 04: “It’s Not Funny” – This New Orleans-inspired anthem proves that sometimes, the often-overlooked drums are more than a match for sizzling slide guitar. With a rollicking beat and catchy chorus, it’s sure to be on playlists everywhere: “Can’t live without, there ain’t no doubt, there ain’t nothing like that gal of mine. Flirtatious love, bodacious ‘cause ain’t no girl that’s half as fine.” Lynn Williams and Kevin McKendree strut their stuff in style, as well as our lead singer and guitarist. “It’s Not Funny” how danceable this track is, so grab a partner or play a hand jive if you don’t have one.

Track 05: “See No Harm” – Nine times out of ten, blues songs about cheating are full of anger and regret. This is the proverbial tenth time, when our narrator has no qualms about it: “Most would think it’s wrong for us to carry on. I just don’t care; our love’s that strong. You may not think it’s true, but I see no harm in loving you.” This attitude may be poignant, but it got such literary legends as Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary in fatal trouble. “Stop by or take it all!” Ellis pleads in an ultimatum. What will be his lover’s answer? Only time will tell, and Tinsley leaves it up to listeners’ imaginations.

Track 10: “Kiss of Death” – The CD’s final number, like its title, has a pure blues hue. Rather than rip-snorting riffs, “Kiss of Death” possesses sensual, melodic chords. “Might as well drink gasoline,” our protagonist grumbles to an unwilling partner. “Loving you’s the kiss of death for me.” Devotees of Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Allman Brothers will wish this ballad was first instead of last, but there‘s a proverb about “saving the best….”

Without a doubt, Tinsley Ellis is a guitar monster, but he need not always roar. At times his instrumentation overwhelms his vocals, making it hard to understand and quote particular lyrics. Despite this, “Midnight Blue” might be blues fans’ new favorite color! ---

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]]> (bluesever) Tinsley Ellis Wed, 29 Jan 2014 17:19:00 +0000