Tinsley Ellis


Tinsley Ellis (born June 4, 1957) is an American blues and rock musician, who was born in Atlanta, Georgia (US state), Georgia, United States, and grew up in South Florida. According to ''Billboard (magazine), Billboard'', "nobody has released more consistently excellent blues albums than Atlanta's Tinsley Ellis. He sings like a man possessed and wields a mean lead guitar." ''Rolling Stone'' said, "On assertive originals and standards by the likes of Jimmy Reed and Junior Wells, Atlanta's Tinsley Ellis unleashes feral blues guitar. Nonstop gigging has sharpened his six-string to a razor's edge…his eloquence dazzles…he also achieves pyrotechnics that rival early Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton."


His love for electric blues grew by listening to British Invasion bands such as the Yardbirds, the Animals, Cream (band), Cream, and the Rolling Stones. Ellis has stated that the first guitar playing he heard were songs like "Dirty Water" by The Standells, and "Secret Agent Man (Johnny Rivers song), Secret Agent Man" by Johnny Rivers, but that he then "got into the real stuff" like Freddie King. Inspired by a live appearance by B.B. King, he was determined to become a blues guitarist. In 1975, he played with the Haygood Band while attending Emory University near Atlanta. Two years later, already an accomplished musician, he returned to Atlanta and joined his first professional blues band, the Alley Cats, a group that included Preston Hubbard of the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Ellis graduated from Emory in 1979 with a degree in history. In 1981, he formed the Heartfixers, with the singer and harmonica player Chicago Bob Nelson. The group Sound recording and reproduction, recorded three albums for the small Landslide record label, one with the singer, Nappy Brown before breaking up in 1988. The same year, Ellis signed a recording contract with Chicago's Alligator Records. His debut solo album on Alligator Records, ''Georgia Blue'', was released in 1988. Alligator then reissued two earlier albums, ''Cool On It'' and ''Tore Up'' (on which the Heartfixers backed Nappy Brown). Ellis' next four releases were ''Fanning the Flames'' (1989), ''Trouble Time'' (1992), ''Storm Warning'' (1994), and ''Fire It Up (Tinsley Ellis album), Fire It Up'' (1997). Artists including Peter Buck (of R.E.M.), Derek Trucks, and Chuck Leavell joined him in the studio. He worked with the record producers, Eddy Offord and Tom Dowd. Ellis' reputation and media coverage continued to grow. He appeared on NBC-TV Sports during the network's 1996 Summer Olympics coverage. Ellis shifted to Capricorn Records in 2000 and released ''Kingpin (Tinsley Ellis album), Kingpin''. In 2002 he joined Telarc Records, producing two CDs: ''Hell or High Water (Tinsley Ellis album), Hell or High Water'' and ''The Hard Way (Tinsley Ellis album), The Hard Way''. All the while Ellis never stopped touring. "A musician never got famous by staying home," Ellis says. Ellis claims to have performed live, at least once, in all 50 of the United States. He returned to Alligator Records in 2005 with the live album, ''Live:Highwayman, Live! Highwayman''. In 2007 he released the studio album, ''Moment of Truth (Tinsley Ellis album), Moment of Truth'', followed in 2009 with ''Speak No Evil (Tinsley Ellis album), Speak No Evil''. Ellis continues to tour over 150 nights a year around the world. He has shared stages with Warren Haynes, Widespread Panic, the Allman Brothers Band, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmy Thackery, Otis Rush, Willie Dixon, Son Seals, Koko Taylor, Albert Collins and Buddy Guy. In early 2013, Ellis was a part of the 'Blues at the Crossroads 2' tour which celebrated the music of Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. The tour also included Kim Wilson and the Fabulous Thunderbirds, James Cotton, Bob Margolin and Jody Williams (blues musician), Jody Williams. Also in 2013, Ellis launched his own label, Heartfixer Music, and has since released several albums: the all instrumental ''Get It!'', ''Midnight Blue'', ''Tough Love'' and, in 2016, ''Red Clay Soul''. In 2014, Ellis was a guest performer on Eli Cook (musician), Eli Cook's album, Primitive Son. In 2017, Ellis launched a new side project called Tinsley Ellis Blues Is Dead, in which he performs the blues and R&B songs recorded by Grateful Dead and other Fillmore era acts. Commenting on Ellis's latest album, ''Ice Cream in Hell'', AllMusic stated "On Ice Cream in Hell, Ellis' songwriting and singing finally match the prowess in his playing, and we are all richer for it."


*1982 – ''Featuring Chicago Bob Nelson'' (with The Heartfixers) *1986 – ''Cool on It'' (with The Heartfixers) *1988 – ''Georgia Blue'' *1989 – ''Fanning the Flames'' *1992 – ''Trouble Time'' *1994 – ''Storm Warning'' *1997 – ''Fire It Up (Tinsley Ellis album), Fire it Up'' *2000 – ''Kingpin (Tinsley Ellis album), Kingpin'' *2002 – ''Hell or High Water (Tinsley Ellis album), Hell or High Water'' *2004 – ''The Hard Way (Tinsley Ellis album), The Hard Way'' *2005 – ''Live:Highwayman, Live! Highwayman'' *2007 – ''Moment of Truth (Tinsley Ellis album), Moment of Truth'' *2009 – ''Speak No Evil (Tinsley Ellis album), Speak No Evil'' *2013 – ''Get It! (Tinsley Ellis album), Get It!'' *2014 – ''Midnight Blue'' *2015 – ''Tough Love'' *2016 – ''Red Clay Soul'' *2018 – ''Winning Hand'' *2020 – ''Ice Cream In Hell'' *2022 - Devil May Care


*1996 – ''A Celebration of Blues: The New Breed''


External links

Tinsley Ellis at Alligator Records
Tinsley Ellis Interview on TheWaster.comThe Daily Times Tinsley Ellis Interview/review
* {{DEFAULTSORT:Ellis, Tinsley 1957 births Living people American blues guitarists American male guitarists American blues singers Musicians from Atlanta Capricorn Records artists Guitarists from Georgia (U.S. state) 20th-century American guitarists 20th-century American male musicians Southland Records artists Alligator Records artists