With influences including Duane Allman and Freddie King, Georgia-born Tinsley Ellis is another in a line of sizzling Southern blues-rock guitarists and vocalists.
He’s sharpened his six-string chops during literally thousands of live shows, playing what Rolling Stone describes as “feral blues guitar.” His latest release on Alligator, “Speak No Evil,” is the most guitar-driven of his 11 recordings.
Ellis’ Southern roots run deep. Born in Atlanta in 1957, he grew up in southern Florida and first played guitar at age 8. Like many modern bluesmen, he discovered the blues by listening to the British Invasion bands of the 1960s. Winding his way back to American blues, he especially loved the music of the three kings: B.B., Freddie and Albert.
At age 14, Ellis saw B.B. King perform live. When B.B. broke a string on Lucille, he changed the string and handed the broken string to the awestruck Ellis. The youngster’s fate was sealed. And, yes, he still has that string!
Ellis averages over 150 live shows a year and 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.
You can see Ellis on Sunday at Callahan’s Music Hall, 2105 South Blvd. in Auburn Hills (248-858-9508). For more info, click http://atcallahans.com/
Duke Tumatoe is at Callahan’s tonight. Also tonight, the Chris Canas Band is at the Penalty Box, 28121 Plymouth Road in Livonia; and Champagne and the Motor City Blues Crew perform at Bert’s, 2727 Russell St. in Detroit.